Maple Vinaigrette takes your salads from ordinary to memorable with its sweet and tangy flavor profile. This dressing blends the rich sweetness of maple syrup with the tartness of apple cider vinegar and fresh lemon juice, offering a refreshing alternative to the usual store-bought varieties.
In mere minutes, the marriage of these ingredients, punctuated by the aromatic presence of shallots, creates a vinaigrette that’s sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Whether you prefer whisking by hand or blending to perfection, it promises a burst of flavor that beautifully complements a wide range of salads.
Ingredients You Need to Make Maple Vinaigrette
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Choose a "live" or "raw" variety for the most robust flavor.
- Maple Syrup: Opt for pure maple syrup, avoiding versions with added sugars or flavorings. The label should read "100% pure maple syrup", and the consistency should be smooth and not too thick.
- Lemon: Choose firm lemons with smooth, brightly colored skin. They should feel heavy for their size, meaning they're juicy.
- Shallot: The outer skin should be dry, smooth, and free of blemishes.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Choose a bottle labeled "cold-pressed" or "first-press". The oil should have a golden to greenish hue, with a fresh, fruity aroma.
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- If you're out of apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar is a good substitute, offering a similarly tangy note.
- For a different sweet undertone, honey or agave nectar can replace the maple syrup. Adjust the quantity to your desired sweetness level.
- Instead of a lemon, try using lime juice for a slightly different citrus twist.
- Red onion can stand-in for the shallot if you're in a pinch, though it has a stronger flavor. Use a smaller amount and adjust to taste.
- If you don't have extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed or avocado oil are neutral alternatives that blend seamlessly into dressings.
- Whisk in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard for an added depth.
- A sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes can introduce a hint of heat.
- Freshly chopped herbs, like basil or parsley, can provide a refreshing herbal note.
- Emulsifying: To prevent separation, pour the olive oil slowly while whisking or blending. This creates a stable emulsion for a smoother dressing.
- Taste Test: Before serving, dip a lettuce leaf into the dressing and taste. This is a better indication of flavor than tasting it alone.
- Adjusting Consistency: If your vinaigrette is too thick, you can thin it with a splash of water or more lemon juice to achieve your desired consistency.
- Fresh Ingredients: Using fresh lemon juice instead of bottled and genuine maple syrup (not flavored corn syrup) makes a world of difference in the final taste.
How to Store
Store this vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If the olive oil solidifies due to cold temperatures, let the dressing sit at room temperature just until the oil liquifies. Then give it a good shake or whisk before serving.
More Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes
- White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Sesame Ginger Dressing
- French Vinaigrette
- Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
- Parmesan Vinaigrette
- Strawberry Vinaigrette
How to Make Maple Vinaigrette
In a bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, and shallot. Gradually whisk in olive oil until blended, then season with salt and pepper.
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from about 1 small lemon
- 1 small shallot coarsely chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To Make by Hand:
- In a medium bowl, whisk apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup and shallot together until smooth. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a blender pitcher, combine apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup and shallot; blend until smooth. With blender running, add olive oil in a steady stream, blending until emulsified; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer vinaigrette to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.