June 15, 2024


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Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette - Add a Touch of Fall Pizzazz to Your Meals!

Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette – Add a Touch of Fall Pizzazz to Your Meals!

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This vibrantly-hued, throw-it-all-in-a-jar-and-shake, Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette is delicious drizzled over all kinds of autumn salads.

This delicious Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette is a perfect way to say “Hello 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

Beautiful glimpses of autumn have taken over our little corner of the globe. On a windy day, here in the mountains of North Carolina, leaves drop like snow. More and more patches of crimson and gold are magically appearing in the wooded area behind our home. We’ve even had a few nights where the temperature dropped into the 30s. I love having changing seasons to keep life in general as well as our culinary world interesting and exciting.

Photo of a small glass pitcher filled with Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette. A fall apple salad and a mini pumpkin are in the background.

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…

Overhead closeup photo of the top of a glass pitcher of Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette next to a fall apple salad.

The inspiration

A while back, I shared a recipe for Pumpkin Crumb Muffins. There’s been lots of positive feedback from readers who’ve made them and loved the results. But one interesting comment got me thinking…

“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 – that really leaves me with a lot left over!

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 for 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 Crispy Chewy Toffee Pumpkin Cookies. With crisp edges and chewy, buttery, toffee-studded centers they’re truly a cookie lover’s dream come true!


Another idea is this Copycat Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps recipe! These crackers are sold in gourmet shops for a small fortune but they’re much easier than you think and actually taste better!

Vertical picture of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps in a platter with cheese, grapes, nuts and pumpkins

Pumpkin salad dressing???

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.

Ultra closeup photo of a glass pitcher of Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette with a fall apple salad in the background.

Simple Ingredients

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.

Ultra closeup photo of the top of a glass pitcher filled with Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette. An apple salad is in the background.

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).

An extreme closeup of a glass pitcher filled with Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette.

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. 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 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 lifesaver 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:

Photo of a Fall Salad with Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette.

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.

Psalm 9:9-10

What we’re listening to for inspiration:

I Will Carry You


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.

Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette

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.


Salad Dressing




Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette, Pumpkin Salad Dressing

Servings: 20 1-tablespoon servings

Calories: 55 kcal

Author: Chris Scheuer


  • ¼
    pumpkin puree
  • ¼
    apple cider vinegar
  • 2
    maple syrup
  • 1
    Dijon mustard
  • 1
    medium clove garlic
  • ½
    sea salt

  • teaspoon
    freshly ground black pepper
  • ½
    extra virgin olive oil

  • tablespoons
    fresh thyme leaves
    coarsely chopped
  • 1


  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake, shake, shake until all ingredients are incorporated. 

  2. Add the fresh thyme and shake one more time. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

  3. If dressing is not used right away, shake again before using. 

Nutrition Facts

Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette

Amount Per Serving

Calories 55
Calories from Fat 45

% Daily Value*

Fat 5g8%

Sodium 61mg3%

Potassium 12mg0%

Carbohydrates 1g0%

Sugar 1g1%

Vitamin A 475IU10%

Vitamin C 0.2mg0%

Calcium 3mg0%

Iron 0.1mg1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette - Add a Touch of Fall Pizzazz to Your Meals!