With its elegant earthy flavor, maple-balsamic vinaigrette is a highly satisfying salad dressing for the fall season.
Have it with early fall ingredients like fresh peaches or nectarines, and later with apples, radishes, arugula, carrots, red peppers, fennel bulb, roasted potato, pecans, and feta cheese, and your taste buds will soar.
My husband loves this dressing, and the reason is that he loves balsamic vinegar. If you are a fan of balsamic vinegar, then you are going to love it too.
There’s also a touch of fresh basil in this maple-balsamic dressing.
I’ve made it with, as well as without, the fresh basil, and it’s great both ways. You could also substitute with other herbs, like thyme, oregano, or rosemary, and it will also be equally fantastic.
Making vinaigrette is always a good exercise in balancing flavors, because there are only a few ingredients to perfect. If you follow this recipe exactly, it will be perfect.
According to India’s system of Ayurveda, when you get all Six Tastes in your dish, you will be rewarded with a very satisfying overall flavor.
Here is a rundown of the ingredients, and their associated tastes. See how each taste is represented?
Sweet: maple syrup
Sour: mustard, vinegar
Bitter: fresh herbs, mustard
Pungent: onion, black pepper
Astringent: fresh herbs
And this is only counting the maple-balsamic vinaigrette.
Now let’s move on to the elements of the salad itself.
How To Make Fall Peach Salad
The basic ingredients in this fall peach salad are fresh peaches, fresh tomatoes, mixed lettuce greens, roasted red potatoes with lemon, and spiced pecans.
I am totally taking advantage of the last remnants of the summer tomatoes for this salad, but after tomato season passes, you can substitute with something like red bell pepper. You could even roast the peppers along with the potatoes.
The roasted potatoes are really important in this salad because they bring in the heartier element that you start to crave in the fall season. It is also a beautiful excuse to turn your oven on again with the cooler temperatures.
Have you ever tried roasted potatoes with olive oil and lemon, salt, and pepper? It is really, really amazing! So flavorful! Careful you don’t eat them all before they go into the salad.
You could substitute the potatoes with roasted celery root, kholrabi, radishes, or parsnip. Simply prepare the vegetables in the same way as the potatoes in this recipe.
Finally, spiced nuts are something you might buy at a farmer’s market or fair, but did you know you can easily make them at home?
Here’s your chance.
This is a fun salad to make that really celebrates the late summer/fall season. Enjoy!
Other Salads You May Enjoy
Fall Peach Salad With Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
for the roasted potatoes
- 3 red potatoes, chopped into ¾-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- pinch Freshly ground black pepper
for the maple-balsamic vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon shallot, (or red onion), chopped
- 1 teaspoon dijon or grainy mustard
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- ¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, (optional; see notes)
- ½ cup vegetable oil, (half olive, half sunflower)
for the spiced pecans
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or ghee
- 3 tablespoons whole pecans
- pinch cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon all-spice
- pinch Himalayan pink salt
for the salad
- 4 cups mixed salad greens
- 2 peaches, sliced
- 1 heirloom or organic tomato
Make the roasted potatoes:
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and toss well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dump prepared potatoes onto it. Bake in the oven until golden brown, turning once with a spatula halfway through (about 30 minutes).
Make the salad dressing:
- Add all of the ingredients, except for the vegetable oil, into a mini chopper or blender and blend well.
- Add half the oil and blend well. Add the rest of the oil and finish blending until well emulsified. (If you can add oil in a steady stream, that will be even better.)
- Taste for seasoning, and balance the flavors. Add a bit more maple syrup if you want it sweeter, salt if you want it saltier, more vinegar if it needs more sour flavor, and more oil if you find it is too sour or strong tasting.
Make the spiced pecans:
- Heat vegetable oil or ghee on medium-low heat. Add pecans and spices and stir well. Roast until lightly brown and fragrant, stirring frequently.
Assemble the salad:
- Place salad greens, chopped peaches and tomatoes, and roasted potatoes in a mixing bowl. Toss with salad dressing and then serve. Garnish salad with spiced pecans and extra dressing. Or you could serve the finished maple-mustard vinaigrette on the side and allow people to dress themselves.