In the Kitchen When life is tough

Syrup on a salad & other joys around the harvest table

All right, you know this… You know I’m obsessed with maple-flavored everything. But maple syrup on a salad? Even I was hesitant.

(But you shouldn’t hesitate to keep scrolling… for a really special treat… Because I’ve included links below to full recipes for a complete harvest meal!)

There I was, enjoying Parents’ Weekend at my daughter’s college more than any parent has a right to.

Well, maybe I actually do have a right to be overly elated that she’s finally at college studying her heart’s desire, at college on the beach most days, often for her marine biology lab, at college after years of chronic pain and delay. She’s still recovering from spinal fusion. She’s still battling Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. But she’s at college. And loving it.

And I was reveling in God’s grace and goodness, reveling in how He made His love and presence known through the past 18 months of heartbreak.

We had strolled around the breakers at low tide, and I had discovered a beautiful piece of driftwood that summed up my feelings perfectly.

Now she and I were at a long table filled with family who were celebrating her. I perused the menu and considered a few lobster dishes, since we were in a restaurant on a New England beach.

And then my world was rocked.

My Amazing Discovery.

Was I reading this correctly? Maple syrup on a salad?

Well, we are in the heart of maple syrup country; if not here, then where? You know I had to try it.

You know I loved it. And you know I had to talk to the chef. Alex came out of the kitchen to greet me, but he wouldn’t share his exact recipe. New Englanders are known for their stubbornness. Imagine New England chefs when asked to share a secret recipe! But I charmed Alex into hinting at the ingredients (okay, I groveled a little), and I came home and made a perfect replica. In fact, I’d like to think it’s even better.

If you are thinking that syrup on salad is an oxymoron, hear me out. I’m pretty sure you’ll be trying this amazing salad dressing one day soon.

Don’t Miss This!

Be sure you scroll down for a really special treat–links to full recipes for a complete harvest meal (including a Maple Vinaigrette salad, of course).

In a really delicious group effort (cause I love anything “delicious”), I’ve joined forces with 5 other awesome back-to-the-basics bloggers. For all the info you’ll need to pull off your own farm-to-table meal, you gotta see this!

When my friends and I started talking about putting together this meal from our harvests, we all assumed (including me) that I would be contributing a maple-flavored dessert. I mean, after all, my book–Sweet Maple, how to make maple products & bake with them. Naturally.will be filled with amazing recipes for things like Melt in Your Mouth Blueberry Cake, Maple Glazed Donuts, Maple Snickerdoodles, Maple Fudge, and (possibly my favorite, although it is very hard to choose) Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies.

And if you follow on facebook, you know my page is always filled with encouragement to live simply and love maple-flavored anything, like my post last week about my exciting find in my local store’s tea section–>

Of course, adorable calf, chick, bunny, and new-barn-kitty pictures also surface on my facebook page, but that’s beside the point. And speaking of facebook, have you voted there yet on your favorite picture of my old farmhouse? Please help me choose; vote right here.

It Rocked My World.

But then my world was rocked in that little lobster-for-Sunday-brunch shanty restaurant on the beach, and I knew this was the recipe I had to contribute.

Maple syrup on a salad! Score!

We enjoyed the day resting on the beach, resting on the campus, but mostly resting in God’s goodness, thankful He brought our family to this beautiful day, after so many long months of heartache.

Photo Credit: Ayden Carpenter. Follow Ayden’s YouTube channel here:

Tap a Tree. Or Don’t.

If you’d like to know how our family harvests our backyard maple syrup, you wanna go here, or if you think you might wanna tap your own trees this upcoming winter, you’d love my eCourse and eBook that detail the daily process of maple sap collection and maple syrup making.

And stay tuned for how you can purchase Sweet Maple next month!

But don’t worry, you’ll love this Maple Vinaigrette dressing–and my book!–even if you never tap a tree. All of my recipes (including this amazing Maple Vinaigrette) are delicious with any all-natural maple syrup you can purchase, like this syrup made by a local family sugarhouse in my home state.

While I just paired this amazing vinaigrette with the most simple of salads, fresh-picked from what’s left of my sad-October garden, it would be amazing on so many combinations.

In the little lobster shanty, they served it on greens, walnuts, onions, and slices of delicious, in-season pear. I imagine it would be yummy to add some dried cranberries too.

Any salad drenched in this amazing dressing will be a perfect side dish for the Around the Harvest Table feast, which you can piece together, dish by dish, using the links below.

This dressing is a lovely balance of sweet with a slight lemon tang that would round off almost any salad well. We store it in the fridge in a mason jar or a nifty dressing jar like this one for many weeks. We also love taking it on the go in our containers like this, but I love this one too.

My daughter–the one who definitely knows her way around the kitchen and back–says she’s gonna try adding some fresh garlic and a little more salt and pepper to the vinaigrette next time we whip it up.

I Know What You’re Thinking.

Now I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking maple sweetener is less-than-optimal or something you should avoid, certainly not put it on a perfectly-good-for-you salad.

Well, here are 10 points about all-natural maple sweetener that might make you see it in a whole new light.

Turns out this sweetener, which was the only sweetener made by Native Americans, is truly as all-natural as it can get (they called it “bark sugar), has less calories than refined sugar or honey, and is loaded with antioxidants. (In fact, if you use a dark grade of syrup, you’ll be enjoying even more antioxidants than if you used a lighter grade!)

Oh, and if you enjoy this dressing, you’ll probably love this homemade option too, another one of my favorites.

Print Recipe
Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
  1. Whisk ingredients together.
  2. Cover and chill until ready to serve. (I like recycling a plastic lid from a parmesan jar as a cover for my dressing, which I store in a pint-sized mason jar.)
Share this Recipe

Join us Around the Harvest Table.

As promised, I have a special treat for you today.

This post is part of “Around the Harvest Table,” a group effort of back-to-the-basics bloggers who have put together a farm-to-table meal using the harvest from our gardens and some old-fashioned skills. I hope you’ll stop by each page, because each one of my friends is sharing her recipe for the dish she has prepared for this communal meal. Have a seat at our table and join us!

Kathi and her husband homestead in central Oklahoma, where she strives to live a simple, healthy life. She encourages and inspires you to do the same through her blog Oak Hill Homestead.

Danielle chronicles their family’s homesteading journey at Spring Lake Homestead. She even has a series of posts called Sewing Saturday where she teaches how to sew.

Michelle lives with her husband in an empty nest on their rural homestead in the Missouri Ozarks. She writes about homesteading, gardening and homeschooling. Her blog can be found at Midlife Blogger.

Terri lives in a New Urban neighborhood in historic Saint Charles, Missouri. She writes about food, recipes, books, travel and gardening, and decorating their craftsman style home. Find her at Our Good Life.

Kim lives in mid Missouri near a tiny town on a few acres. She loves using the abundance that their large garden and berry patch provide. She also makes beautiful rag rugs! Find Kim at Day to Day Adventures.

And If you happen into a little lobster shanty on a New England beach and meet a stubborn chef named Alex, thank him for rocking my world with this amazing truth that yes maple syrup is amazingly good on just about everything.

p.s. Before Parent’s Weekend, we enjoyed a beautiful New England drive. Sit back for just a minute, relax, and ride along. Then take a second to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we publish a new Snippet of Life here on our New England homestead every month-ish.


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10 Comment

  1. I think it sounds delicious! If my lettuce ever grows, I’ll have to try your recipe. Well, okay, I could go buy some, but I prefer homegrown. I bet your vinaigrette would also be great as a marinade! I think a salad with some fall fruit, toasted pecans, and a sprinkle of blue cheese, sounds fabulous with your dressing. I’m pinning and will definitely try soon, one way or another. I love making my own dressings!

  2. Who would have thought of maple vinaigrette on a salad?? But then again, I thought honey mustard was a real stretch too. Now it’s my absolute favorite dressing and dipping sauce, although it might be replaced by your recipe!

    1. I’m not a fancy or complicated kinda person, so I just used what I had on hand, which is always canola oil. But Alex, the chef, did say it wasn’t too important which kind of oil I used as long as I was certain to NOT use extra-virgin olive oil. It had something to do with the way the taste didn’t mesh with either the lemon or the syrup. (Ugh, I’m not remembering which.) Please let me know if you try it what oil YOU use and if you like it!

      1. I would guess the evoo wouldn’t work well with the syrup. Probably best to use a neutral flavored oil. I will let you know when I try it.

  3. I am definitely going to try this recipe – I have been making my own salad dressings rather than purchasing ready-made, and with local maple syrup available at a nearby farm stand I am exited to give this a go!

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