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Food & Recipes

Maple Syrup Isn’t Just for Breakfast — Here’s How to Use It in Savory Dishes

Here's how to include this sweet treat in your dinner.

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You already know that maple syrup is a perfect complement to pancakes, waffles, and French toast. Its natural sweetness and luxurious texture make it far superior to standard pancake syrup, whose artificial sugars — in the form of high fructose corn syrup — increase both weight gain and diabetes risk. Maple syrup, on the other hand, contains vitamins and minerals like manganese and zinc. So, while it typically costs a bit more than its mass-produced counterpart, it’s worth it, as both a sweet breakfast condiment and an excellent addition to savory and spicy dishes. Read on to learn how to incorporate maple syrup into meals beyond breakfast.

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What kind of maple syrup should I use?

On a trip to Vermont last summer, I learned that there are a number of maple syrup varieties. They fall into four broad categories: golden, amber, dark, and very dark — and these designations are based on color, density, and flavor. According to VermontMaple.org, golden is light and best for pancakes and waffles, while dark and very dark are more hearty. Amber sits between light and dark maple syrup, and according to Vermont Maple, is “equally as good over waffles as it is in salad dressings, cocktails, or in a maple-sweetened barbecue sauce.”

For use in savory dishes, an amber or dark maple syrup is best. Keep in mind that these are just the basic categories of syrup, with each category comprising several flavors and infusions. Vermont-based Sugar Bob’s, for example, makes a smoked maple syrup with a bold flavor; and Runamok, another Vermont brand, makes chili pepper-infused and star anise-infused maple syrups, as well as syrups aged in bourbon barrels.

What kind of savory dishes can I make with maple syrup?

If you’re into the sweet-and-savory combination, you can pour maple syrup into just about anything. Here are some foods for thought:

Start With This: Maple Salmon

Not sure where to begin on your savory maple journey? This salmon from AllRecipes.com has over 4,000 five-star ratings and makes for an easy weeknight dinner. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  •  ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound salmon

Instructions:

  1. Stir first five ingredients together in small bowl.
  2. Cut salmon into four equal-sized fillets; place in a shallow glass baking dish and coat with maple syrup mixture. Cover dish and marinate salmon in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once halfway.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake salmon uncovered until flesh easily flakes with a fork, about 20 minutes.

And there you have it — proof that maple syrup isn’t only good with breakfast. If you have a bottle of syrup in your fridge, you’ll be well-equipped to make a sweet and savory dinner any day of the week. 

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