Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by Pure Maple Syrup from Canada. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.
Do you have one ingredient in your cupboard that you tend to use in every recipe? I’m not talking about oil or salt, but something that adds big flavor to virtually every dish. For me, that ingredient is pure maple syrup from Canada. It’s my go-to ingredient to add a hint of flavor to sweet recipes and balance out the saltiness in savory recipes. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’ve used maple syrup in everything from pre-workout snacks to slaw to muffins to quick breads. I guess you could say I’m a maple syrup aficionado.
But in all seriousness, I really do opt for maple syrup from Canada more often than other ingredients because it has a unique flavor and just a small amount offers big results, making it the perfect replacement for other sweeteners. In other words, a little goes a long way with maple syrup from Canada in both sweet and savory dishes. Also, I like that it’s a natural sweetener derived directly from the maple tree’s sap, and it contains more than 67 different beneficial plant compounds.
Plus, as a distance runner, I need simple carbs that break down easily and provide quick acting fuel. If I wake up early for a morning run, my go-to breakfast is a piece of toast with cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup from Canada. That mix of ingredients helps power me through my toughest run and doesn’t upset my stomach, which is exactly what I’m looking for in a pre-workout meal. Plus, as an added bonus, pure maple syrup from Canada has both riboflavin and manganese, which may help support healthy muscles.
If you’re wondering why I keep adding “from Canada” to my description of pure maple syrup, it’s because Canada produces 71% of the world’s pure maple syrup. Interestingly, Canada’s indigenous people taught the early Canadian settlers how to harvest maple sap and boil it to become maple syrup. Today, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup (FPAQ) protects the interests of more than 7,400 maple businesses in Quebec, and those suppliers export maple syrup from Canada to more than 50 countries. Not surprisingly, the US is the primary importer!
So now that I’ve confessed my unwavering love for pure maple syrup from Canada, let’s talk about this recipe. My family and I go to this restaurant that makes homemade paninis with maple pesto. The sauce is so good that I had to figure out a way to recreate it at home. Pesto is one of those things that I don’t always order when I see it on the menu because it often has too much garlic and just makes my breath smell and my stomach hurt. BUT, when you add some maple syrup from Canada to the pesto mix, it balances out the bitterness of the raw garlic and adds a hint of sweetness to an otherwise savory sauce. It’s what all pesto is missing.
Here, I dressed grilled salmon and veggie kebabs with maple pesto, which would be perfect for Memorial Day. But you can also use this recipe for salads, sandwiches, crostinis, grilled chicken, tofu, grain bowls, eggs, pasta and whatever else you like. Trust me when I say that once you put maple syrup from Canada in your pesto, you’re never going to want to eat the traditional kind again!
Maple Syrup Pesto
Makes 1 1/2 cups
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves washed
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- ½ cup unsalted walnuts
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup from Canada
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Add the basil leaves, garlic, walnuts, cheese, olive oil, pure maple syrup from Canada, vinegar and salt to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.