Given that there’s everything from lattes and waffle mixes to beer and even edible sprays dedicated to everyone’s favorite fall ingredient, it’s easy to start thinking that this time of year could officially be renamed Pumpkin Spice Season.
Not so fast.
Although the world seems preoccupied with all things pumpkin right now, let’s not forget other flavors that suddenly taste better as colder weather rolls in, such as gingerbread, cinnamon, and maple.
We’re zeroing in on maple. Far from just a pancake topping, pure maple syrup is a tasty source of natural, unrefined sugars and even boasts a decent dose of antioxidants, making it a healthier choice than regular white sugar or corn syrup. Plus, it’s super versatile and goes with everything from oatmeal to pork chops to chocolate.
1. Maple-glazed pecan overnight oats
A touch of maple syrup in the overnight oats mix already gives this recipe a warm, sweet flavor, but the maple-kissed pecans really take it over the top. It only takes an extra 7 minutes to make them, and when you’re enjoying the crunchy/creamy contrast of the nuts with the oats in the morning, you’ll be so glad you took that time.
2. Maple sesame quinoa bars
If you need a well-rounded breakfast but really don’t have the time to rustle up a full skillet meal in the morning, grab one of these.
Each bar is bursting with quinoa, oats, nuts, and seeds, so you’re getting in your protein, carbs, and healthy fats even when you’re in a hurry. Coconut sugar and maple syrup add just enough sweetness, but without refined sugar, so your healthy breakfast efforts don’t go to waste.
3. Maple-roasted sweet potato and chicken sausage breakfast bowls
Love your sweet breakfasts but need more savory inspiration? This hash might be right up your alley. With sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and vanilla sauteed with eggs, chicken sausages, and peppers, it’s the best of both worlds.
4. Butternut squash maple oat pancakes
You’d usually reach for maple syrup to drizzle onto pancakes, but in this recipe, the golden stuff goes straight into the batter. It’s a great way to manage the amount of added sugar instead of freely pouring the syrup on top. It still provides enough sweetness for the result to taste like proper pancakes.
5. Maple granola
So much granola — especially the packaged kind — can be nothing more than brown sugar on top of honey on top of maple syrup. This recipe strips the added sugar down to just pure maple syrup and cranberries. The dried fruit also lends some tartness, while walnuts go a step further to cut the sweetness.
6. Maple mixed berry muffins
Unlike most bakery muffins, this recipe has just a tablespoon of butter in the entire batch. Don’t be concerned about dry results, though. Maple syrup, Greek yogurt, and frozen berries do a great job of keeping these soft, light, and moist (yup, we’re using that word).
7. Gluten-free maple cinnamon applesauce bread
A look at the golden, cinnamony topping on this gorgeous gluten-free loaf might make you think it’s loaded with sugar on the inside. Not so much. There are just a few tablespoons of it in here, with a small quantity of pure maple syrup doing the rest of the heavy lifting.
8. Maple ginger chicken meal-prep bowls
Instead of dousing your chicken in a sugary teriyaki or hoisin sauce, opt for a homemade mix of maple syrup and soy sauce to coat the meat and veggies in this stir-fry. No funny ingredients you’ll find in a bottle sauce, and as a bonus, this is a perfect meal-prep recipe.
9. Maple buffalo pulled jackfruit sandwiches
Never tried jackfruit before? Let this recipe be your introduction to it (and once you’re into it, go check out these jackfruit recipes). Simmer with garlic, tomato paste, hot sauce, and maple syrup. It’s a hearty — and entirely vegan! — alternative to pulled pork that you might actually prefer over the meat.
10. Grilled maple salmon tostada
The maple, mustard, and salmon trio has been done before. But put it on a crispy corn tortilla, and it’s like a whole new combo altogether. Top with a purple cabbage coleslaw (which also gets a hit of that maple/mustard mix) plus some goat cheese, and you’ve just won Taco Tuesdays.
11. Meatballs in tomato-maple sauce
Grandma may not approve of this recipe, but whoever eats this certainly won’t be complaining about lean beef meatballs drenched in a rich sauce touched with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. It’s just different enough to be interesting, but still fits the bill as an ultimate comfort food.
12. Maple-roasted acorn squash with apples and pecans
Scrumptious as a side but also filling enough for a vegan main dish, this acorn squash has a place at any table — with apples, pecans, cinnamon, and maple all roasted together, we’re thinking this celebration of fall flavors is a shoo-in for a Thanksgiving menu.
13. Healthy maple mustard chicken
If you don’t count olive oil and pepper, this recipe only calls for three ingredients, and still gives you a main protein that’s anything but bland, thanks to the bold sweet and savory flavors of maple syrup and Dijon mustard. Throw some roasted veggies in the pan while the chicken is roasting and you’ll have yourself a full meal in 30 minutes.
14. Saucy maple apple pork chops
Pork chops and apples are as common a combination as peanut butter and jelly. What makes this recipe special is the pure maple syrup giving the au jus-style sauce some more depth, plus the speedy 25 minutes it takes for something so impressive to come together.
15. Healthy maple pecan pie bars
If rolling out pastry crust isn’t your thing but you must have pecan pie, turn everyone’s favorite fall dessert into bar form with this recipe, where maple syrup goes into both the crumb base and the gooey top. It isn’t much harder than making muffins, and the individual portions make it a bit easier to stick to serving sizes.
16. Blackberry maple cream popsicles
Maple syrup isn’t just for cozy fall desserts and rich baked goods. It works fantastically in frozen treats too. Take these vegan popsicles, where the syrup combines with fresh berries, cashews, and coconut milk for a creamy but refreshing way to cool off on a hot day.
17. Vegan chocolate maple pudding
This pudding gets its rich texture from an unlikely mix of sweet potatoes, dates, and maple syrup (and no refined sugar). With dark chocolate and cocoa powder providing an impressive dose of antioxidants, you’re just as well off eating this for breakfast as you are for dessert.
18. Maple spice apple crisp
It’s the quintessential fall dessert, but the amount of butter and sugar that goes into the average apple crisp may shock you to your core (pun intended). This lighter recipe has zero butter or oil, and with maple syrup stepping in for brown sugar, less of it is needed to make the same sweet impact.
19. Maple walnut vegan fudge
You do have to wait 2 hours for this four-ingredient fudge to set, but we promise that’s the hardest part about this recipe. Leave the silky, smooth squares as they are to let the sunflower and maple flavors shine through, or for more fun with texture, sprinkle some extra nuts and seeds on top.
20. Healthy no-bake maple cookies
Whether you’re looking for healthier, vegan, or no-bake treats, these irresistible bites solve any kind of cookie conundrum. Bananas and maple syrup are the only sources of sweetness, while oats and almond butter add some filling fiber and fat without dairy. With no oven required, they’re ready in just 20 minutes.
21. Vermont caramel maple thumbprints
Dates and maple syrup are cooked down to form the sweet, sticky caramel center of these nutty thumbprints. You may never make caramel the conventional way again.
22. Apple cinnamon scones with maple glaze
Fresh apple scones with a hearty helping of nutmeg and cinnamon, topped with maple glaze. These are perfect for tea time!
23. Maple vegan brownies
These vegan blondies are topped with pure maple creme. They’re perfect for an after-dinner treat on a chilly, fall evening.
A dash of maple can add a bold, delicious twist to many recipes. Whether you want to satisfy your sweet tooth or put an interesting spin on dinner, maple is the way to go. Give one of these maple recipes a try the next time you’re looking for something new to add to your weekly roundup of meals.