5 Delicious Things You Can Cover In Maple Syrup and Not Feel...

5 Delicious Things You Can Cover In Maple Syrup and Not Feel That Bad About

waffle-984499_1280Need an excuse to indulge in something sweet?

We’ve got one for you: Tomorrow, December 17, marks National Maple Syrup Day, an actual holiday that celebrates our country’s love for our favorite pancake topping.

Sure, maple syrup might not be the healthiest condiment you can aim for.

“It really is the same as sugar,” says nutritionist Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. “But a little maple syrup can go a long way in recipes to provide a sweet taste.”

So yes, you can join in the celebration of the sweet stuff—just don’t go overboard. And choose the foundation for the syrup wisely.

We rounded up the best recipes to add a little sweetness to your meal while still packing a healthy nutritional punch.

ROASTED CHILI MAPLE PORK TENDERLOIN
Roasted Chili Maple Pork Tenderloin
1/5 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF AGGIE GOODMAN
ROASTED CHILI MAPLE PORK TENDERLOIN

If you think pork, chili, and maple syrup is a weird combination, think again: The sweet/spicy marinade of the chili and maple molds flawlessly to the juiciness of the pork.

And it’s got some substance behind it, too: The pork is a rich source lean protein, which you need to maintain, build, and repair muscles, says Gans.

It also contains important nutrients like potassium—which helps regulate blood pressure— zinc, and B-vitamins, she says.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 lb pork tenderloin

How to make it:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp oil, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place the pork tenderloin in a large plastic zip-top bag and pour the marinade into the bag. Gently massage it into the tenderloin, and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 425°F. In a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil. Place the tenderloin in skillet and sear all sides until browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Place the skillet into the oven. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145°F, 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Recipe by Aggie Goodman of Aggie’s Kitchen.

 
Maple Spice Granola
Maple Spice Granola
2/5 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF HEATHER MASON
MAPLE SPICE GRANOLA

Give your boring old Greek yogurt some zing with this holiday-inspired granola.

It’s way better than the rock-hard tasteless stuff you’ll get at the store—plus, it’s made with oats and walnuts, both of which have been shown to help protect your heart, says Gans.

What you’ll need:

  • 7 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, raisins, and nuts.
  2. In microwaveable bowl, stir the sugar, oil, maple syrup, honey, and spices. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds. Pour over oat mixture and mix well.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly onto 2 to 3 large baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes until golden brown, stir, and return to oven for 15 more minutes. Cool thoroughly and store in airtight container.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and return to oven for 15 more minutes.
  5. Cool thoroughly and store in airtight container.

Recipe by Heather Mason of The Nutty Nutritionist.

 
Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon
Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon
3/5 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LIZ BERG
MAPLE MUSTARD GLAZED SALMON

The salmon is the nutritional superstar here—it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may prevent heart disease and decrease joint pain, says Gans.

But the maple syrup adds a sweetness to the tried-and-true fish dish that helps balance the tangy mustard and acidic vinegar. Plus, the thyme adds a hit of freshness.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs fresh salmon fillets, skin on, patted dry with paper towels

How to make it: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F. In a small saucepan, add the maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, and thyme. Simmer until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper and brush with the glaze. In a large grill pan, add the salmon fillets, skin side down. Roast in the oven about 10 minutes, brush with remaining glaze, and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish.

Recipe by Liz Berg of That Skinny Chick Can Bake.

 
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bacon
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bacon
4/5 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF NATASHA KRAVCHUK
MAPLE ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND BACON

The sweetness of the maple in this recipe combines perfectly with the savory sweet potatoes and salty bacon.

Plus, it’ll give you an excuse to add more sweet potatoes to your diet, which is a good thing, since the tubers are a rich source of immune-strengthening antioxidants, says Gans.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 oz (6 slices) regular or thin sliced bacon, chopped

How to make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, garlic, maple syrup, olive oil, black pepper, and kosher salt.
  2. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, evenly spread the sweet potato mixture. Bake about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, stir, and place pieces of bacon on top. Bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until bacon is crisp. 
Maple Syrup Chicken
Maple Syrup Chicken
5/5 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DANIELLE BARON
MAPLE SYRUP CHICKEN

Chicken breast is a cheap, easy way to hit your protein goals for the day, says Gans. But let’s face it, plain chicken can get boring fast.

So try this recipe to liven things up: The maple syrup and garlic sauce work together to give the chicken a surprising kick.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 bone-in,skin-on chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 heaping Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp stone ground mustard

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan, and sear on both sides until nicely browned. Remove chicken from pan.
  3. Add the broth, maple syrup, thyme, and garlic to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently for two minutes. Add vinegar and mustard and cook for another minute.
  4. Place chicken in new baking dish, pour sauce from step three over chicken, and bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.