Cranberry sauce is a delicious, sweet, and tangy pop of color on your Thanksgiving plate! While cranberry sauce is full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and manganese, it can also have lots of hidden sugar, depending on how it's been made. Most pre-made foods from the grocery store will be full of hidden fats, sugars, and other things we don't want to have in our bodies.
Although it's convenient to opt for the pre-made stuff, we recommend making your food if possible! While it does take more time and effort, the reward is tenfold because you know exactly what is going into your body.
Healthy Cranberry Sauce with a Sweetened Twist
Clementines are a great option to juice if you don't have oranges available or if you have a bunch of clementines on hand as we do.
We're also using sugar-free maple syrup to help give it some consistency. Using sugar-free syrup helps keep the calories and the overall sugar down, but you can certainly use regular maple syrup. However, using regular maple syrup will bring the simple carbs in the sauce up. Another alternative would be to use agave syrup - because this comes from a plant, it has a lower glycemic index. It is a better type of sugar because it doesn't promote the same insulin response as table sugar.
Smart Cooking: Wholesome Cranberry Sauce
Next, add your 12 oz of cranberries, creating about two cups of cranberry sauce.
Once everything is added to the pot, simmer on the stove! This is the fun part - the cranberries will start to pop and break down. If you don't like any whole cranberries in your sauce, you can take a potato masher to pop them all or otherwise leave them as is.
While simmering, leave the pot uncovered to prevent the cranberry sauce from becoming watery. The cranberries will release their natural pectin and blend with the bit of liquid in the pot to create a delicious, gelled consistency.
Pro tip: Add it to your turkey sandwiches for a delicious, sweet pop of flavor!
Healthy Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- 12 oz Cranberries, fresh or frozen*
- ½ cup Orange Juice, freshly-squeezed (about one large orange)*
- ¼ cup Grade A Maple Syrup, sugar-free* OR 3-4 tsp of Stevia (liquid or powder)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
- ½ tsp Orange Zest
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
This cranberry sauce recipe will be on the tarter side than sweeter side.
Cranberries: Frozen cranberries work well here, but you will need to simmer them for an additional 1 to 2 minutes as they release more liquid in cooking.
Orange Juice: There isn't a huge final difference in flavor if you use fresh or pasteurized OJ, since the mixture is being cooked. Use whatever is easier for you!
Sweetener: Sugar-free maple syrup can be replaced with stevia to taste.
1. Add all ingredients to a medium pot and boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 6 minutes. Stir the mixture frequently to ensure nothing burns or sticks to the pan. The filling is "done" once it has thickened, and most cranberries have popped.
2. Use a fork or potato masher to pop the remainder of the cranberries, if desired. Let cool completely before serving.
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to one week
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