Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Meals 101: Black Friday’s Powerful Cranberry Sauce

The day after Thanksgiving always amazes me. All day long I hear how people are already feeling guilty and ashamed about how they treated their bodies the night before. Many talk about going for a long run to help burn off their Thanksgiving indulgence. While a long run will successfully help you burn off those extra calories, it unfortunately will not help repair the damage that a traditional Standard American Diet Thanksgiving meal can cause.  

lots of colors for vegan thanksgiving

Just one benefit of a whole-food, vegan thanksgiving dinner is you can eat as much as you want without feeling any remorse the next morning (more importantly, in my mind, is that no animals have to suffer). A plant-based thanksgiving meal also doesn’t cause that all-too-familiar fatigue that sets in after a large meal of animal protein, grease and fat. If we step back for just one minute, it becomes very obvious that if the food you eat makes you tired, you probably should not consume that food. (And don’t go blaming the tryptophan, quinoa and oats both have tryptophan in it, and they are energy-boosting foods!)

So why don’t more people incorporate healthy, hearty, plant-strong vegan meals into their holiday routine? I believe part of the reason is because it can be emotionally difficult to give up some of your favorite traditional foods. However, this does not always have to be the case. As a result, BYOL will be posting great seasonal and festive recipes over the next month to help everyone enjoy their holiday without the side of remorse that typically accompanies them. 

Black Friday’s Powerful Raw Cranberry Sauce: Cranberry sauce is a holiday classic. While cranberries are excellent sources of magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) the stuff that comes in a can is about as far removed from its original goodness as can be. Even as a junk-food-loving kid, that stuff always freaked me out. It is loaded with sugars, preservatives, colors and “natural flavors.” It also undergoes an intense level of processing which leaves the gelatinous can-shaped blob while striping the cranberries of much of their original nutritional value. Instead, substitute the canned sugar sauce with this simple to make, truly delicious, and extremely healthy version of the holiday classic dish.

the goods

The recipe originally comes from the dietitians and MDs at PCRM, however I’ve tweaked it slightly to help give it an extra boost of goodness. A high-powered blender works best for this recipe, however a food processor also does the job ably.

To make, simply toss all of the ingredients into the blender or food processor and process until smooth.  (start with half an orange and add more if desired)

12-16 oz of fresh cranberries
½-1 navel orange
3 dates (or date sugar)
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp Navitas Naturals Pomegranate powder (optional)

The result will be a vibrant and scrumptious cranberry sauce that will impress all at the table. The antioxidant count in a small serving of this side dish alone will trump the entire meal in the Standard American Diet and it pairs perfectly with mashed sweet potato. It is sure to become a new fall family favorite!

I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday, and sorry for the sporadic posting as of late. Life has been crazy as I just started a new job, moved, and ran my first marathon.... 3:17:53.... 


  1. I've come to find that I love most incarnations of cranberry sauce. This looks great! I can't believe there are chia seeds in there.. It reminds me of a Kristen's Raw recipe for cranberry chia pudding.

  2. No potatoes? Gravy? I can't do it!
    I don't like cranberries, but my boss gifts me an incredible orange cranberry sauce that's amazing. I'd suggest not pureeing your recipe once to see how you like it. The discernible fruit bits make it extremely appealing.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. @abby, there most certainly were potatoes. Mashed sweet potatoes and steamed potatoes for the soup.
    Thanks for the suggestion regarding the sauce, I'll give it a try, but this sauce is so tasty as it is.

  4. Made this for Christmas today in a really old food processor and it still turned out amazing!!! Everyone loved it! =) Even my Grandma, who hardly knows how to say the word vegan and doesn't knows what anything "healthy" is, tried some and really enjoyed it. It's just that good! And super simple to make =)