(Note: this post was originally published on November 17, 2019. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Cranberry Sauce Re-imagined
Move over, traditional cranberry sauce. This raw version is exploding with flavor, is easy to make, and is free of refined sweeteners and thickening agents. It's like a very fresh and zingy version of the original.
Have you ever made your own cranberry sauce? I promise that you'll never go back to the canned version once you start to make your own. No matter how you do it, homemade tastes a million times better and you can be in control of the ingredients and flavors. There are lots of ways to make your own though, many of which involve loads of sugar, long cooking times, and thickeners. Not mine though!
I want to thank my mom for being the inspiration behind this cranberry sauce. She has made a raw version for years that is fresh, tart, and bursting with flavor. She also makes a pomegranate dip, so this raw cranberry-pomegranate sauce is a marriage of the two.
Expected and Unexpected Ingredients
Some of the ingredients in here are self-explanatory. Cranberries of course provide the base, orange zest and a whole orange provide sweetness and a different sort of tartness, and a dash of maple syrup balances it out with lovely wintry sweetness. A pinch of cinnamon provides that warm holiday feeling.
The rest of the ingredients are a bit less traditional, and are what makes this cranberry sauce truly magical. Pomegranate arils give this sauce such rich fruitiness (and they're gorgeous!), while fresh ginger provides a refreshing zing. Finally, walnuts give it a rich, indulgent texture without the need for thickeners like pectin.
Easy, No-Cook, AND Customizable
To make this fall beauty, all you'll need to do is buzz the ingredients in the food processor. I like to reserve a handful of walnuts and a handful of pomegranate arils to add at the end, so that they maintain their shape and add texture to the sauce.
Because this sauce doesn't require cooking or waiting, you can taste and adjust as you go. Want it a bit sweeter? A bit more zing? A bit more citrusy? You're in control!
And it's Freezer-Friendly!
As an added bonus, this cranberry sauce freezes great. As written, this is a pretty big batch anyways, so you'll likely have leftovers. But I often make a double batch and stash some away for later! If you want to freeze some, do so in a tightly sealed container. I often split it into a few small containers for easier portioning. You can also freeze it in an ice cube tray, store the cubes in a bag, and just grab one at a time whenever you need. Because of how well this freezes, this sauce is a go-to for us from early November through February!
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Cranberries. Either fresh or frozen will work fine. If you use frozen, make sure to thaw them first.
Pomegranate arils. There are some good tutorials online for how to attack a pomegranate. My preference is to do all the work underwater (i.e. in a large mixing bowl full of water) so that my kitchen doesn't end up covered in dark red juice.
Orange. You'll use both the zest and the fruit.
Ginger root. This is really a star flavor here, so I don't recommend substituting powdered ginger; it won't work nearly as well.
My suggestion: make a double (or triple!) batch and put it on everything. Cranberry sauce deserves the spotlight all fall and winter, not just on Thanksgiving! It's wonderful on everything from roasted vegetables to stuffed squash to salads. We mix it into yogurt or oatmeal, and even use it as a topping for ice cream. I like to make a big batch, freeze part of it, and pull it out whenever I'm making something that needs a special zing.
I hope you'll give this a try, it's a totally unexpected and fresh take on the classic.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
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Imagine a cranberry sauce like you've never experienced. It's raw, bright, and zippy, with no refined sugars and no weird thickeners. This Raw Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce is about to change your Thanksgiving world, and I can promise you'll be making it all fall and winter long.
0.5 c pomegranate arils, plus an additional handful added at the end
0.5 c walnuts, plus an additional handful added at the end
2-3 inches of ginger root
2-4 tbsp maple syrup
0.25 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
If using frozen cranberries, thaw them first.
To a food processor, add your cranberries and half a cup each of pomegranate arils and walnuts.
Zest the orange and add the zest to the food processor.
Cut the remaining peel off the orange and discard. Slice the orange, remove any seeds, and add the slices to the food processor.
Using a microplane, grate the ginger very finely and add it to the food processor.
Add 2 tbsp maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt.
Process for about 30 seconds or until you have a relatively smooth, but not completely smooth, texture.
Taste it! I love a really tart cranberry sauce, but not everyone does. If you think it needs more sweetness, add more maple syrup and/or additional pomegrate arils. Feel free to add more ginger, orange zest, cinnamon, etc, as your palate dictates.
Add in a handful each of pomegrate arils and walnuts. Pulse the food processor just a couple times to bring it all together. This will leave you with a more interesting texture.
Serve it up! I like to garnish with a few whole cranberries, a sprinkle of pomegrate arils, and a couple sage leaves.