If your family is like mine and doesn't like the jello-style cranberry sauce, this cranberry salad recipe is sure to be a hit! It's made with fresh fruit, and it's just slightly tart with the tang of orange and the smooth sweetness of maple syrup. It's so much healthier for you than the stuff in the cans and it tastes better too!
This recipe originated from our dear family friend we lovingly call “Uncle Gene,” who makes a lot of great foods. But, this one I had to play with because it had sugar and wanted to make it more allergy friendly.
It’s important that we include all of our tastes in our meals: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, etcetera. And this recipe really adds a different element to the palette for Thanksgiving dinner, so I didn’t want to do without it. But I knew I was going to have to modify the recipe because I didn’t want to make it with piles of sugar. Varying the proportions of apples, cranberries, and oranges really does help accomplish that. Maple syrup completes the balance of flavors and rounds it out very well.
It took 5 or 6 times to get this recipe exactly right so that it had the right amount of flavor. I tried both maple syrup and honey because some people like one more than the other, and you can play with that too. Our family ended up liking maple syrup best. I was able to substitute out the unhealthy ingredients and still serve our family's favorite cranberry salad for the holidays. Win!
Your New Favorite Cranberry Salad Recipe
I like to make this ahead of time in my food processor, pulsing a little at a time till the fruit and syrup reach a fine relish consistency. Then I refrigerate the salad, letting the flavors really blend together.
The best apple to use in this recipe is red delicious, tho I’ve made this with empire and honey crisp, and it’s always delicious. Feel free to use your favorite apple! But for any apple pie or apple crisp, it’s good to include one of every apple in the recipe and applesauce because you get the entire array of flavors—from tart to sweet—and textures when you include multiple varieties.
Leftovers of this cranberry salad recipe can be frozen for later use, or you can serve it with your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal leftovers. It's great by itself, on the turkey, on leftover-turkey sandwiches, on crackers with cream cheese… or if you have a lot leftover, make a crisp topping and bake it!
- 1 pound fresh cranberries
- 1 apple, cored but with skin
- ¾ rind of one orange
- 2 naval oranges, peeled and cut into small pieces
- ¾ cup of maple syrup
- Put all ingredients in a food processor, adding the maple syrup ¼ cup at a time, and tasting for desired sweetness.
- Pulse until blended.
- Chill and serve cooled.
Looking for More Healthy Holiday Themed Recipes?
I have lots of allergy-friendly recipes here on the blog, and my favorites are those we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
- Savory Homemade Stuffing
- Herbed Turkey Brine
- Gluten Free Gravy
- Crustless Gluten-Free Cranberry Pie
- Warmed Holiday Punch
- Bulletproof Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
- Cranberry Nut Bread
- Mama Z's Vegan Pumpkin Dip
What is Your Favorite Holiday Recipe?
Does your family have a tradition or special dish that you just love? Tell us in the comments!