This thick and creamy Maple Balsamic Dressing is a quick, flavorful dressing that is made in just minutes with simple ingredients. Perfect for adding flavor to a simple salad, roasted veggies, marinating meats, and more.
📋 About the Recipe
- Made with quality ingredients. Unlike shelf-stable dressings you'll find in a grocery store, homemade vinaigrette dressings like this Maple Balsamic Dressing are made with minimal, high-quality ingredients. You'll have much better control over what you're consuming and reap the benefits in more than just better flavored salads!
- Versatile. This Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for your favorite salads, but it's also a great dipping sauce or marinade for meats like chicken breasts and steaks.
- Meal prep friendly. This dressing will keep for up to 1 week, so make enough dressing for all of your meals for the week and enjoy all week long.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Balsamic Vinegar - A quality balsamic vinegar is key in adding a rich, tangy, slightly sweeter foundation to this homemade dressing.
- Maple syrup - The sweetness of pure maple syrup balances the acidity in the balsamic vinegar and helps create a well-rounded flavor profile.
- Dijon mustard - Another source of subtle tanginess that adds a bold flavor and sharpness. Mustard is also an emulsifier, which helps thicken the dressing.
- Spices - I like to keep it simple and season this creamy balsamic dressing recipe with just kosher salt and black pepper.
- Oil - Neutral oils such as avocado oil are best for creating a creamy, flavorful dressing without overpowering the flavors of the other fresh ingredients.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Alternate vinegars - When possible, I highly recommend using a high-quality balsamic vinegar. It's a main ingredient in this dressing and changing it will greatly change the flavor. However, if this is not an option, red wine vinegar may be the best substitute. The color of the dressing will be quite different, but you'll still end up with a delicious substitute.
- Maple syrup alternatives - Another natural, liquid sweetener such as honey or agave nectar are the next best options.
- Oil - A quality cooking oil like avocado oil will yield the best creaminess and velvety richness, but if needed, canola oil, Grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil will also work without overwhelming the flavors. Extra virgin olive oil can work in a pinch, but it has a bolder taste and will create a more olive-tasting dressing.
- Combine the balsamic, maple syrup, dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and black pepper. In a small mixing bowl, whisk these ingredients together until well combined.
- Slowly pour in the oil. While using an immersion blender, slowly add the avocado oil and blend until creamy.
- Store. Use the maple balsamic dressing immediately at room temperature or store and enjoy chilled over the next few days on leafy salads, roasted Brussels sprouts, or raw veggies.
❄️ How to Store
To store: Transfer the maple balsamic dressing to a glass jar or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Before using again, shake vigorously to combine well.
To freeze: Freezing is not recommended. Doing so will change the texture of the homemade dressing.
🔍 Recipe FAQs
Pure maple syrup is a natural sweetener that is made from sap extracted from various maple tree species, then boiled down to concentrate the sugars. This results in a sweet, amber-colored syrup that's known for it's rich, distinctive flavor.
When purchasing a pure maple syrup, it should never contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives. The only ingredient in real maple syrup should be "pure maple syrup."
While they are often confused, balsamic vinegar and balsamic dressing are not one in the same and cannot be used interchangeably. Balsamic vinegar is a concentrated grape-based vinegar with a sweet, acidic flavor.
Balsamic dressing, on the other hand, is a salad dressing that contains balsamic vinegar as a prominent ingredient, plus a few other ingredients.
Although many store-bought salad dressings are able to be stored at room temperature when sealed and unopened, there is one important difference between store-bought and homemade dressings: preservatives.
All store-bought dressings are made using preservatives to extend the shelf life and keep them safe to eat at room temperature. Since homemade salad dressings do not contain preservatives, they should never be stored at room temperature.
💭 One More Tip
Slowly drizzling the avocado oil into the dressing makes a big difference! If you've ever tried to combine an oil with another liquid, you'll know they don't combine easily.
In order to fully emulsify the dressing ingredients and create a creamy consistency, it's essential to drizzle the oil in slowly while you are blending the dressing with an immersion blender.
If you don't have an immersion blender, you can also whisk vigorously by hand while pouring in the oil.
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Maple Balsamic Dressing
- glass jar
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- Pinch of garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ to 1 cup avocado or neutral tasting oil
- In a tall glass jar or measuring cup, whisk together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper.
- While using an immersion blender, slowly stream in avocado oil to fully incorporate the oil into the rest of the dressing.
- Once fully emulsified, serve dressing on your favorite salad, like this strawberry cucumber salad, or cover it with a lid and store it in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
- If you don't have an , you can whisk vigorously by hand instead. The mixture might separate a bit more, but will still be equally as delicious.
- Dressing stored in the refrigerator might solidify a little because of the oil. Leave it at room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes, before dressing your salad, and it should liquify pretty quickly.
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