“S”-sential Maple Syrup Salad Dressing

March is prime maple-syrup making time. This past Sunday was the annual 2017 Maine Maple Syrup Sunday observed with open-sugarhouses, samples, demonstrations of making maple syrup, and sugar-bush tours. And even though Vermont’s middle name is Maple Syrup, still Maine produces quite a lot of syrup and maple sugar products and this year eighty-five! sugaring operations participated in the weekend event.

Most of us, appropriately enough, think pancakes or waffles when it comes to maple syrup. Kate dribbles it on cooked oatmeal. You can also substitute maple syrup for caramel under baked custard or flan. I’ve seen maple-flavored sausage; syrup added to cooked butternut squash or acorn squash baked with syrup in the hollow with butter. Delicious.

But it took a Maine-born Vermont-dweller to put me onto salad dressing with maple syrup. My island summer neighbor and good buddy Kay Wood, who hailed from Portland in her youth, told me about making “s”es over salad with maple syrup, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Bottled salad dressings are awfully handy, to be sure. Open and pour. Still, I’d rather make my own, and we make ourselves very happy with a shake of rice vinegar and a dribble of olive oil. Still it is fun to have a change once in a while and this maple syrup wrinkle is handy to have for variety.

Besides, right about now, all of us need green salad and to keep it from being too boring, this is a good time to dig out all the terrific salad add-ins you can imagine. Here is my list:

Sliced blood (or any other) oranges

Alfalfa sprouts

Pea Shoots

Grated carrot, or turnip, or beets

Shaved butternut squash

Cooked and/or pickled beets

Chopped up dilly beans

Pickled onions

Thinly sliced red onions

Shaved fennel bulb

Dried cranberries

Pomegranate seeds

Steamed broccoli, cauliflower florets

Toasted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds

Toasted walnuts or pecans

Cucumber fresh or pickled


Maple Syrup Salad Dressing
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Maple Syrup
  1. Lay your salad greens and add-ins in a large shallow bowl or on a platter.
  2. Make an “s” shaped dribble of olive oil over the salad.
  3. Follow with an “s” shaped dribble of lemon juice.
  4. Follow that with an “s” shaped dribble of maple syrup.
  5. Toss the salad to distribute the ingredients and taste a sample. Add more of whatever you desire.
  6. Sprinkle lightly with salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.