Healthy cranberry sauce is not just for the holidays. Its versatility makes it a perfect companion for various dishes. This recipe is not only plant-based but also gluten-free and refined sugar-free, making it suitable for a wide range of dietary lifestyles.
While a great side dish for the holidays think of this cranberry sauce as a versatile meal. Thinking about a healthy breakfast? Why not swirl some into your morning oatmeal or top it over your vegan buttermilk pumpkin pancakes? Maybe you're planning a lunch? This sauce pairs wonderfully with a hearty sandwich or a refreshing arugula and pear salad. For dinner, it adds a gourmet touch to your roasted vegetables or smoked tofu. And let's not forget, it's an absolute hero at the vegan cheese board!
Why You'll Love This Healthy Cranberry Sauce
- Low in Added Sugar: This sauce is sweetened with natural alternatives. You can control the sweetness level to your liking, reducing the amount if needed.
- Nutrient-Rich: Cranberries are known for their health benefits, particularly their high vitamin C content and antioxidants. This sauce allows you to enjoy those benefits without the excessive sugar found in many store-bought versions.
- Great Flavor: This cranberry sauce retains all the wonderful flavors of traditional cranberry sauce. You'll still get that delightful combination of sweet and tart, with a hint of citrus from the orange zest.
- Customizable: You can tailor this cranberry sauce to suit your taste. If you prefer it less sweet, you can adjust the sweetener. You can also experiment with additional spices like cinnamon or nutmeg if you want to add depth to the flavor.
- Versatile: This sauce is incredibly versatile. You can use it as a topping, condiment, or ingredient in various dishes, from savory to sweet. See below in the serving suggestions for more ideas.
- Easy to Make: The recipe for this healthy cranberry sauce is straightforward and doesn't require much time or effort. You can whip it up in about 15-20 minutes.
- Perfect for Special Occasions: Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other special gathering, this cranberry sauce is a great addition to your holiday spread. It adds a touch of color to your table, too!
How To Make A Healthy Cranberry Sauce
With easy-to-find ingredients, this healthy cranberry sauce provides a beautiful balance between the tartness of the cranberries and the natural sweetness of the maple syrup. The orange zest adds a hint of citrusy brightness that elevates the flavors.
See the recipe card for quantities.
- olive oil
- fresh cranberries
- maple syrup
- orange zest
- fresh orange juice
- vanilla extract
Notes On Ingredients
Can't get your hands on fresh cranberries? Frozen cranberries are an excellent alternative. They retain most of the nutrients and flavor of their fresh counterparts.
Want to switch out the maple syrup? You can substitute it with agave nectar or coconut sugar, both of which are natural sweeteners.
The Process in Pictures
For detailed instructions, see the recipe card.
Saute shallots in olive oil.
Add the remaining ingredients except the vanilla and let the mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency and the cranberries have mostly broken down, remove from heat and remove the thyme sprig.
Allow the cranberry sauce to cool for a bit before transferring it to a bowl. It can be served warm or refrigerated and served chilled, depending on your preference.
Notes - Check the taste. Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency, give it a taste. If it's too tart, feel free to add a little more maple syrup.
Cool – Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Vegan Turkey Roast and Cranberry Sauce Wrap: Use wraps and fill them with sliced vegan roast, fresh greens, and a dollop of your healthy cranberry sauce. Roll it up for a delicious and nutritious lunch.
- Cranberry Sauce Yogurt Parfait: Layer your cranberry sauce with vegan yogurt and some granola for a satisfying breakfast or snack.
- Cranberry Oatmeal: Stir a spoonful of cranberry sauce into your morning oatmeal.
- Cranberry and Crostini: Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce on whole-grain crostini, and top with a small slice of vegan cheese.
- Cranberry Smoothie: Blend cranberry sauce with some frozen berries, yogurt, and a banana.
- Cranberry Sauce Topping: Use it as a topping for vegan vanilla ice cream.
- Cranberry-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Bake sweet potatoes until they're tender, then split them open and stuff with cranberry sauce.
- Cranberry Sauce and Cheese Plate: Create a vegan cheese and charcuterie board and include a small bowl of cranberry sauce as a condiment. You can also include Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pâté to your spread.
- Protein Bowl: Consider pairing it with plant-based proteins like tempeh or lupini seitan.
- Grain Bowl: A spoonful of cranberry sauce can transform a simple quinoa or farro dish into a delicious experience.
How To Store Healthy Cranberry Sauce
Storing this healthy cranberry sauce with maple syrup is just as simple as making it.
After allowing the sauce to cool to room temperature, transfer it into an airtight jar or container and store it in the refrigerator. This way, it will remain fresh and flavorful for up to two weeks. When you're ready to serve, take it from the fridge and let it reach room temperature for the best taste and texture.
Start with ¼ cup of maple syrup and taste. Add another ¼ cup if you want it sweeter.
You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries for this healthy cranberry sauce recipe. Both work well, so use what's most convenient for you. If using frozen cranberries, there's no need to thaw them before cooking.
You can store this healthy cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you want to keep it longer, you can freeze it for up to 2-3 months. Just make sure to allow it to cool completely before freezing.
This cranberry sauce is a great make-ahead dish for holidays. You can prepare it for a few days before storing it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. It actually tends to taste even better after the flavors have had time to meld.
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries (one bag or ~ 3 cups)
- 1 sprig of thyme
- ¼-½ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup water
- zest of ½ an orange (~1 teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice (juice from ½ an orange)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- Preparation: Rinse the cranberries and discard any soft or discolored ones. Grate the zest from the orange.
- Saute: Begin by sauteeing the shallots in olive oil over medium heat for two minutes.
- Cooking the Cranberries: Add the cranberries, sprig of thyme, maple syrup, orange juice, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
- Add Flavors: Stir in the orange zest and a pinch of salt. If you like your cranberry sauce a bit tangier, you can also add a bit of a squeeze of lemon at this point.
- Simmer: Let the cranberries simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As they cook, the cranberries will pop and release their pectin, which helps thicken the sauce. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Final Touch: Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency and the cranberries have mostly broken down, remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract if using.
- Cool and Serve: Allow the cranberry sauce to cool for a bit before transferring it to a bowl. It can be served warm or refrigerated and served chilled, depending on your preference.
Adjust the taste to your preference. Add more sweetener if you like it less tart.
Nutritional profile is only an estimate.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: condiment
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 175
- Sugar: 37.1 g
- Sodium: 294.8 mg
- Fat: 2.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 42.4 g
- Protein: 0.1 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: side dish, condiment, fall, holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas
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