This vibrantly-hued, throw-it-all-in-a-jar-and-shake, Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette is delicious drizzled over all kinds of autumn salads.
I like to share this Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette each year in the early fall. It's one of those seasonal recipes that makes an autumn lunch with friends or a fall dinner party something really special.
Fall in love with fall flavors
Although fall isn't officially here for a few more weeks, glimpses of autumn are beginning to appear. On a windy day, here in the mountains of North Carolina, leaves drop like snow. And were started see more and more patches of crimson and gold in wooded area behind our home. We've even had a few nights where the temperature dropped into the 50's. So exciting for a girl like me who loves cool temperatures.
This Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette is a perfect and delicious way to welcome the new season. It's bursting with fall flavor and never fails to receive rave reviews. And there's a funny story of how it came into being...
A while back, I shared a recipe for Pumpkin Crumb Muffins. There's been tons of positive response from readers who've made them and loved the results. But one interesting comment I got went like this...
"These muffins look delicious – but what to do with the balance of the can of pumpkin?"
Do you ever have this problem? A recipe calls for a cup (or sometimes even less) of pumpkin puree and you've got a decent amount left in the can that's too good (and too expensive) to toss out. Sometimes when I'm shopping, the only size available is the huge 29-ounce can. Yikes, that really leaves me with a lot leftover!
What to do with leftover pumpkin puree
Libby's (the experts here in America on all-things-pumpkin) say that the puree is good in the refrigerator for up to a week. They also say it can be frozen up to 3 months (although I think it's not quite as smooth after freezing).
Other ideas? I thought you'd never ask. I've got lots of them - like these Baked Pumpkin Buttermilk Donuts. They're one of the most delicious recipes that's ever come out of The Café kitchen and my seasoned taste-testers have attested to this.
Another idea is this Pumpkin Buttermilk Pound Cake. It's a real crowd pleaser and seems to get better and better (if you have any left, that is!). And if you enjoy soup, we love this south-of-the-border-inspired Southwestern Pumpkin Soup. Are you more of a cookie lover? These Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies are easy and so... fun!
Back to the story of how this dressing was inspired... I was thinking about other ways to use up partial cans of pumpkin puree and had the crazy inspiration to try using it in a salad dressing.
This vibrant-hued Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette is the result and it's become a huge hit at our house. We've been enjoying all sorts of salads with a splash of this amazing dressing over the last week and one evening I drizzled it over grilled chicken for a delicious fall flavor feast.
The star ingredients are pumpkin puree and pure maple syrup. A clove of garlic, a squeeze of Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar enhance the simple combination. A slow drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is all that's needed to emulsify and finish it off.
Oh, and lots of fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped, adding an extra layer of fresh, fabulous flavor.
What to pair this dressing with...
Try this dressing with simple greens like arugula, butter lettuce or leaf lettuce. It goes great with apples, pears, grapes, dates, raisins, figs, and pomegranates. I love to pair it with walnuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, pepitas, almonds, goat cheese, Feta, Parmesan, Gorgonzola and all sorts of other things. I can't wait to hear how you serve it!
If you're looking for a delicious way to celebrate fall, whip up a batch of this Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette. It won't take more than 5 minutes and, once you taste it, you'll be opening up a can of pumpkin just for this dressing! (no worries, remember I've got lots of ideas for the rest of the can).
Café Tips for making this Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette
- Use pure maple syrup, not maple-flavored syrup that's sold as "pancake syrup" in most grocery stores. Maple-flavored syrup is simply corn syrup with maple extract (usually artificial) added. It won't give you the same delicious flavor as real maple syrup.
- Use a good Dijon mustard. If you can find a brand that's made in France it's going to be really delicious. I really like the Maille brand.
- I'm not one for a lot of gadgets but a good garlic press is indispensable and saves time in the kitchen. I've used a Zyliss garlic press for many years and love the results. I've tried other brands but always go back to the Zyliss.
- If you're in a huge hurry, this garlic paste is a great way to save time. I'm not a big fan of garlic in a jar but this stuff is simply pureed garlic and can be a life-saver on those busy days.
- Don't skip the mustard, even if you're not fond of it. Mustard is important in a dressing like this as it acts as an emulsifier, meaning it helps hold the dressing together and keep it from separating. Honestly, you won't even know there's mustard in here with all the other delicious flavors.
Want to see this delicious dressing in action? Check out this fabulous fall salad:
Thought for the day:
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
An amazingly delicious, vibrantly-hued dressing that pairs well with so many seasonal ingredients. It's also wonderful drizzled over fresh greens of all varieties.
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 medium clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon water
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake, shake, shake until all ingredients are incorporated.
Add the fresh thyme and shake one more time. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If dressing is not used right away, shake again before using.