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Maple syrup (Recipe: spinach salad with glazed beets and blue cheese) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Spinach salad with glazed beets and blue cheese

A charming thing to know about maple syrup:

According to Native American legend, one morning an Iroquois chief pulled his tomahawk from a tree where he'd thrown it the night before. The weather had turned warm, and from the gash in the tree, sap flowed into a wooden bowl that happened to be sitting on the ground. A woman found the bowl of clear liquid; thinking it was water, she used it to prepare the day's meal. As the bowl cooked all day, the sap thickened and turned to syrup. The chief returned, and the woman served the sweet-flavored meal she had cooked. He loved it (who wouldn't?), and that was how maple syrup became a mainstay of Native American cuisine. How, when and where it paired up with pancakes is something I still need to find out.

Cooking or baking?

Unopened syrup will keep in the pantry for up to one year; opened, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to one year. For longer storage, stick your syrup in the freezer.

More about maple syrup.

Spinach salad with glazed beets

Spinach salad with glazed beets and blue cheese

My husband Ted will eat almost anything with maple syrup, but combine that with beets (another of his favorite foods) and there's no stopping him. Three other tasters agreed! I used Melissa's ready-to-eat peeled and steamed baby beets, which the small market in my town now sells (I thank the beet gods for this!). Trader Joe's sells them, too, and if you can find them, you'll save time and red-stained fingers. Serves 2-3; can be doubled.


1 Tbsp olive oil
6 cooked baby beets, sliced or roughly chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
4 cups baby spinach or salad greens
2 Tbsp crumbled mild blue cheese, or more to taste, at room temperature


In a small nonstick sauce pan, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Add the beets, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the orange juice, vinegar and maple syrup, and stir to coat the beets. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to simmer, and let the beets cook gently, stirring occasionally, until most -- but not all -- of the liquid has reduced. (The liquid will dress the salad greens, so leave a bit in the pan.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the spinach or greens in a serving bowl, and drizzle the beets and pan liquid over the greens. Top with crumbled blue cheese. Serve at room temperature.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Maple nut cookies
Poached pears
Maple glazed salmon salad
Ginger-maple-miso salad dressing
Maple nut bread and a maple cocktail

Other recipes that use maple syrup:
Spaghetti squash with maple syrup and shallots, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Maple syrup pie, from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Carrots glazed with maple syrup and lime, from A Veggie Venture
Quinoa salad with pears, baby spinach and chick peas in a maple vinaigrette, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Red peppers with maple syrup and chili, from Just Bento

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Fantastic salad recipes can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Another great show-stopping recipe!!
I personally think Maple syrup is one of nature's amazing tricks. However it got discovered/invented - I am just glad it did.
For anyone close enough to states where it is made be sure to visit and see how it is done! Quite a sight! and taste the Maple ice cream!

I would LOVE this. My sister Pam and I used to eat often at a place that served their salads with a couple of slices of beets. Pam hates beets (and a lot of other good foods) so she always gave her beets to me!

I love the native American story, it is so lovely. I had no idea they even cooked with maple syrup! Yum I love beetroot and we are coming into warmer weather now in Australia so I will be making this dish for sure!

That salad looks fantastic; I'll bet the Native American chief never got to eat anything that good!

Carol, there are a couple of sugaring houses in our town here in Rhode Island, and it's always fun to bring visitors to see the process.

Kalyn, lucky you to get Pam's cast-off beets! I think they're delicious, and with so many varieties coming to market now, it's hard to believe anyone wouldn't fall in love with them.

Gourmet, maple syrup is very popular in this part of the US/Canada. In the spring, you'll see buckets hanging from sugar maple trees that have been "tapped".

Rich, what's better than food cooked in maple syrup, really?!

My husband likes all of the individual elements here, so to put them together, I bet he would love it!

yum! I recently bought a lot of maple syrup back from my NYC trip! :D It's a double win for me!

Oh, yum. Yum, yum.

Oh this looks so great. I'm a huge beet fan. And maple.

Am I the only one who swoons over the words 'glazed beets?' This salad looks SO good. And thanks for the tip about freezing maple syrup! I think I need to devote an entire kitchen garden bed to beets next year. I can never get enough! :)

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