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This easy 4 ingredient, sweet and tangy maple vinaigrette is a family favorite and the perfect dressing for all your fall salads!
One of my favorite fall salads is this apple pecan salad, which I ALWAYS pair with this flavorful dressing. That salad ends up on my holiday tables more often than not, but the vinaigrette is one I make over and over, just for tossing with simple greens on regular weeknights too.
For that reason, I decided it needed it’s own post. This simple vinaigrette is sweet and tangy, with the distinct flavor of maple, which is my sweetener of choice, and also one of my favorite flavors in the world. This might be because I’m born and raised in Quebec ;).
While the mains and desserts get most of the attention – no holiday table is complete without some good sides, and a nice green salad is always one of them at our house. And you know what every salad needs to take it from afterthought to star of the show? A homemade dressing.
I stopped using store-bought dressings ages ago, mainly because homemade vinaigrettes and dressings are so much more flavorful. But I’ve since come to appreciate the value of simple ingredients, and being more in control of added sugars and salt.
If maple syrup is also your go-to sweetener of choice, you’ll love this dressing too. It is definitely one of my favorite salad dressings and pairs well with so many salads, like a fall harvest salad, this strawberry goat cheese salad with candied walnuts, or this pear and rocket salad, or this roasted sweet potato salad.
What is a Vinaigrette?
Vinaigrette is a simple dressing made with an oil and an acid. The acid can be lemon juice, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, tangy apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar – really any vinegar. It is a versatile dressing that can be used on salads, vegetables, and meat.
Vinaigrettes are typically made with a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, but this ratio can be adjusted to taste. I like mine on the more vinegary side personally and often go with something closer to a half-and-half ratio.
What Makes this Maple Vinaigrette Work?
It has the perfect balance of flavors. The ratio of the sweet maple syrup to vinegar is just right, creating a dressing that is both sweet and tart. The white wine vinegar also adds tang, while the olive oil and mayonnaise provides a rich and creamy base.
It’s healthy. This maple vinaigrette is also a healthy dressing option, made with pure maple syrup, no refined sugar, and extra virgin olive oil.
It’s customizable. You can easily adjust this maple vinaigrette recipe to your own taste preferences. For example, you can add more or less maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like your dressing. You can also add a touch of Dijon mustard, herbs, spices, or garlic.
It’s versatile. This maple vinaigrette can be used on a variety of dishes. It’s perfect for autumn salads, of course, but it can also be used to dress roasted vegetables, marinate meat, or drizzle over grilled fish or chicken.
It’s easy to make AND stores well. If you’re like me and don’t want to make a homemade dressing every time you want to eat a salad, this simple dressing is perfect for you. You can make a big batch with basic pantry staples in a matter of minutes and it will last in an airtight container in your fridge for 5 days.
Pure Maple Syrup
Use pure maple syrup for the best flavor. Table or pancake syrup will not give your vinaigrette the same rich maple flavor as real maple syrup.
Mayonnaise adds a creamy texture to the maple vinaigrette and helps to emulsify the oil and white wine vinegar. You can use any type of mayonnaise you like, but I prefer to use full-fat mayonnaise for the best flavor and texture. The mayo can also be skipped if you prefer, but you may need to increase the olive oil to taste.
White wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar is a mild vinegar that adds the acidity to the vinaigrette. You can also use another vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, white balsamic, or rice vinegar, but I recommend using a vinegar that is not too strong.
Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice for this dressing. It has a rich flavor, plenty of health benefits, and will give the dressing a nice body. You can also use other oils, such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil, or walnut oil.
How to Make Maple Vinaigrette – Step by Step
1. In a small bowl, add the pure maple syrup, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, and whisk well.
2. Now slowly add in the olive oil, while stirring the mixture constantly, until it reaches a smooth consistency and is emulsified.
3. Now season with salt and black pepper.
How to Make the Maple Vinaigrette in a Mason Jar
To make this maple syrup dressing in a mason jar, simply combine all of the ingredients in the jar with a tight-fitting lid and give it a good shake until the dressing is emulsified. This should take about 30 seconds.
Maple vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight container (or the mason jar you’ve made it in) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The dressing will separate over time, so be sure to give the mason jar a vigorous shake before using.
If you are not planning to use the maple vinaigrette within 5 days, you can freeze it for up to 2 months. To freeze the dressing, simply transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Be sure to leave some headspace in the container to allow for expansion. When you are ready to use the dressing, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a few hours.
More Salad Recipes for Fall
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, mayonnaise, and white wine vinegar.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.