A simple and delicious five minute recipe, maple balsamic vinaigrette is an easy homemade salad dressing that saves you money and time at the store. The perfect sweet-tart flavor for everything from green salads to grain bowls.
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Do you make your own salad dressings?
I used to think salad dressing only came from a store - no one I knew made it unless it was part of a special recipe (usually for the holidays in some sort of pea or layered salad, lol).
Then I got married and had kids - and needed to save money. I started researching ways to save on food and one of the things that came up again and again was making homemade salad dressing.
Especially "Italian" or vinaigrette dressings because they are made only from oil, vinegar, and seasonings.
Once I did, I've never looked back - I can't even bring myself to buy a vinaigrette type dressing anymore since I know I can whip them up in a few minutes and always have the ingredients.
Plus, have you looked at the labels of these supposedly simple oil-based salad dressings? Most have sugar as a main ingredients, lots of gums for thickening, preservatives, and basic oils like canola and soybean that I try to avoid.
When oil is the main ingredient, I want it to be a good quality oil like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
I developed this recipe for maple balsamic vinaigrette as a slightly milder (read: sweeter) version of the balsamic vinaigrette version of this pantry basics vinaigrette (and there are four different variations, so you really don't need to buy dressings!).
The maple flavor plays SO well with the balsamic and mustard that's part of most vinaigrettes and provides a touch of sweetness that's just right when using mixed greens with bitter endives, arugula or mustards.
TIP: After making this vinaigrette, check out all the other salad dressings you can make in minutes including the kid-tested Best Ranch Dressing, flavorful Caesar dressing, American Style French Dressing, my favorite Honey Mustard Dressing, and more!
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
Simple and real:
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- apple cider vinegar
- pure maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
This is the five minute part (which might be less if you are quick about getting your ingredients ready):
Add all the ingredients to a jar and whisk.
You can use a bowl, but I like to mix it up right in the jar I can serve and store it in - less mess and time.
I have one "pro tip" when making any vinaigrette dressing:
- After all your ingredients are in your jar or bowl, stand the whisk in the middle and hold the handle with both of your hands.
- Then rub the whisk quickly between your hands to rotate the whisk in the ingredients until the oil and vinegar are completely emulsified (combined).
This works SO much better than just trying to whisk with one hand or just shaking the jar - the oil and vinegar stay combined for longer.
To make it easy to store and pour from the mason jar you make it in (I love using my vintage jars for this!), use a flip-top pourable lid for regular mouth mason jars.
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette FAQs
The basic ratio of oil to vinegar in a vinaigrette is 3:1 - three parts oil to one part vinegar. An example would be 3/4 cup oil to 1/4 cup vinegar.
However, it's easy to adjust this you personal tastes. This recipe uses the formula, but then adds a bit of apple cider vinegar to offset the addition of the syrup.
When making a quick dinner salad dressing, I will often go with a 2/3 cup oil to 1/3 cup vinegar ratio, so play around with the ratio and see what you like best.
A simple oil-vinegar dressing is one of the best choices for salads. Making it yourself will also make it healthier because of the fact that you can control the ingredients and use only the best real foods without a lot of fillers.
As with any salad dressing, the amount you use can make a salad healthy or not since it's often the ingredient with the most calories.
A long time! When stored in the refrigerator, it should maintain its quality for up to 9 months.
When you store homemade vinaigrette in the fridge, the oil will solidify (store bought dressings have water and gums added to avoid this natural reaction) and you will need to warm it a bit to mix it and serve.
TIP: If you'd like to avoid that, it's perfectly fine to store your oil-based dressings at room temperature for a couple weeks, as long as there are no fresh ingredients like herbs or garlic. When adding fresh ingredients, the vinaigrette should be refrigerated.
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- small whisk
- pint jar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespooon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper, or to taste
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Add all the ingredients except oil in a pint jar (or 2-cup sized bowl).
- Pour the oil into the jar and use a whisk to blend everything thoroughly. Using both hands on the handle, quickly rub the whisk back and forth - it's the best way to emulsify the oil and vinegar so it stays blended longer.
- Use immediately or store in jar with a lid in the fridge for months (or room temperature for a few weeks since this doesn't have any fresh ingredients).
- Dress a green salad.
- Use with a pasta salad with chicken, bacon, tomatoes, onions, and other veggies.
- Drizzle over a grain bowl: rice, quinoa, farro or barley topped with any fresh vegetables and meat or seafood.
- Works wonderful as a marinade for beef and chicken.