With just 5 minutes and a mason jar, you can have this Maple Vinaigrette on the table. Flavored with Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and shallots, this simple salad dressing is the perfect sweet-tangy finish for your favorite fall greens.
Spring and summer may be primetime for salads, but I crave the robust, crisp flavors that you can layer into a bowl during the fall months just as much! When working with ingredients like apples, pears, hearty greens, and orange-fleshed squash, and pecans, you need a simple vinaigrette that’s going to both complement the richer flavors and pull everything together with a touch of brightness.
Enter: Maple Vinaigrette. One of my go-to fall salad dressings, this recipe strikes the balance I’m looking for this time of year between sweetness and tang. It’s also a cinch to make, whether prepping it for lunch on-the-go or an entree salad on a busy weeknight.
I have this recipe on repeat all autumn long!
What You’ll Need From the Pantry
You’ll need a few pantry staples to make this quick and easy vinaigrette recipe.
- Maple Syrup
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Smooth Dijon Mustard
- Coarse-Grain Dijon Mustard
- Shallots (minced)
- Extra-virgin Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt and Freshly-Ground Black Pepper
For the best flavor, use pure maple syrup for this dressing. (See my pantry pick for all-purpose maple syrup here.)
Pancake syrup, which is typically made with artificial maple extracts, won’t have the same depth of flavor. It doesn’t stand up as well to the vinaigrette’s tangy components. Pure maple is the way to go here!
We love the texture that a little bit of grainy mustard adds to this maple vinaigrette. If you don’t have it on hand and want to make this recipe in a pinch, you can omit it and use an extra teaspoon of smooth Dijon instead. (This would bring the smooth Dijon to 3 teaspoons, or 1 tablespoon total).
Want to read more about the differences between pure maple syrup and pancake syrup? Check out this article from Taste of Home.
How to Make Maple Vinaigrette
Making this dressing couldn’t be quicker or easier. You just need 5 minutes and a jar with a tight-fitting lid (such as a mason jar). It’s perfect for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner.
To make the maple vinaigrette, just add all of your ingredients to the jar, secure the lid, and shake-shake-shake. The dressing will emulsify and thicken slightly.
If you don’t have a jar on hand, you can also make the dressing in a bowl. It’s just as easy! When I’m using a bowl-and-whisk technique, I like to combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil, and then drizzle in the oil while I’m whisking. This will emulsify the oil, vinegar, and mustard well so the vinaigrette doesn’t separate quickly.
Once the dressing is mixed, give it a taste to adjust the flavors to your personal preferences. I’ll sometimes need to add an extra pinch of salt or a little more black pepper.
You can also adjust the balance of sweetness and tartness to taste, and depending on the salad you’re serving. If you prefer a sweeter dressing, add a little bit more maple syrup and shake the dressing again. For more sharpness, add an extra splash of apple cider vinegar.
When I make this maple vinaigrette, my flavor adjustments vary by the salad it’s going to accompany. If it’s a bowl with a lot of sweet components, like fresh or dried fruits, I’ll up the vinegar a smidge. If it’s a recipe with stronger savory components, I might go for a little more maple syrup.
This dressing recipe is versatile and easy to adjust to your tastes and needs!
Serving and Storing Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
After mixing, the dressing can be used right away on your favorite fall salads. We especially love it on a Harvest Cobb Salad. If you wanted to omit the bacon in the dressing for my Pear Salad to make it vegetarian, this maple vinaigrette would be a great substitution.
If you have leftover vinaigrette after dressing your salad, or if you wanted to double the recipe for meal prep, this recipe keeps well in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Store it tightly-covered.
Tip: As the dressing sits, it will naturally separate. Just re-shake or whisk vigorously before serving. The vinaigrette will quickly re-emulsify to its slightly thicker, creamier consistency.
Maple Vinaigrette with Dijon
- 1 tablespoon finely-minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon coarse-grain Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- Add all ingredients to a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid (such as a mason jar) with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until the dressing is slightly thickened and creamy looking (emulsified).
- Taste the vinaigrette and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. You can also adjust the flavor profile, to taste, by adding an additional splash of maple syrup for a sweeter dressing, or apple cider vinegar for more tang.
- Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to a week. Dressing will separate as it sits. Shake well before using.