HALLELUJAH for this 100% Nutritarian Thanksgiving recipe: Healthy Cranberry Sauce! There is absolutely no refined sugar in this recipe, and it is all vegan as well. Something you can be super excited about this holiday season to satisfy both your flavor palette and your waistline! :D
Healthy Cranberry Sauce Recipe VIDEO
Make This Cranberry Sauce Ahead of Time
What I love about recipes like this is that you can easily make it ahead of time and store in the fridge for 2-3 days before your holiday festivities. You can even freeze this ahead of time and thaw it the night before: it retains all it’s great consistency, taste and texture!
Nobody likes having to make ALL THE THINGS the morning of: so just throw this recipe together the day before, put it in the fridge, and forget about it until it’s time to eat.
Just don’t forget about it altogether, because BOY would you kick yourself to go start to put away leftovers and see your perfectly cooked pot of cranberry sauce all lonely in your fridge. :P
Don’t have lonely cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving!
No Refined Sugar and Tons of Fiber!
The beauty of this recipe is how healthy it really is. Most traditional recipes for cranberry sauce call for loads of different refined sugars like white table sugar, maple syrup, molasses and some even call for butter!
Yes of course these things taste amazing, but they don’t do anything for you besides raise your blood sugar. The amount of minerals or vitamins present in any of the more “natural” forms of sugar aren’t worth the fuss.
But the sweetener used in this recipe is WHOLE DATES. That gives you all of the fiber and natural plant chemicals found in the fruit themselves, giving you a whole, natural and GREAT choice of sweetening power.
Get Those Dates Really Smooth
The key to making this healthy cranberry sauce into something that is nice and sweet and creamy is the blender that you use.
I always suggest that people make the big leap and investment in their health by purchasing a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or a BlendTec.
I promise, my Vitamix has absolutely changed my life.
What it can do is completely pulverize the dates. If you use a regular blender for this, you will likely have chunks of dates leftover in your mixture instead of them being blended completely smooth. If you have chunks, your cranberry sauce won’t taste as sweet, as you will have to chew the dates to extract the sweetness.
But when you use a high-powered blender, the dates are completely and evenly distributed throughout the mixture, so you get that more even sweet flavor.
What If You Only Have a Regular Blender?
One thing that you can do is soak your dates in water for a long time before you blend (about 24 hours) if you are using a regular blender. I have found that the time needed for soaking really varies depending on what type of dates you use and how dry they are to start.
With harder dates, it can take 24-36 hours of soaking in water to get your dates mushy enough so that a regular blender will pulverize them.
I usually just put them in a little mason jar, cover it with water, close it and let it sit in the fridge until the dates are super soft.
Then you can blend as usual. But if you had a high-speed blender you wouldn’t have to worry, that sucker will chew them right up!!
Adjust The Sweetness To Your Preference
One great thing about cranberry sauce is that it’s very forgiving. Especially this recipe.
You can add or subtract the amount of dates in this recipe to suit your own desires level of sweetness. People like their cranberry sauce at all different sweetnesses, and if you want, just add say 1/4 cup extra dates and the same amount of water and you’re all set for a sweeter mix.
Or just subtract the same amount and it will come out more tart.
It’s completely up to you and your family’s flavor preference.
The Cranberries Will Pop
As you’re heating up your cranberry sauce, you will notice that the date mixture bubbles as it’s cooking, and the cranberries will start to pop open.
The popping of the cranberries signals that they are about cooked through.
How to Keep Your Healthy Cranberry Sauce from Going Bitter
You will want to stop cooking when all of the cranberries have popped and softened. If you cook for too long, the cranberries can become more bitter.
This is also why I cover my cranberry sauce as it’s cooking: I may or may not have gotten a bit burned while testing this recipe thinking I would be fine cooking it uncovered. Nope, definitely cover it and let it do it’s thing under the cover…and when you go to stir it, protect yourself by keeping the cover hovering close above your stirring.
The date mixture tends to bubble and splash a bit while cooking, and the cranberries pop, so you definitely want to protect your delicate skin from burning. :)
Which Texture Do You Prefer?
So this recipe is versatile, depending on what texture you like your cranberry sauce to be. You can have it more like a traditional, chunky cranberry sauce if you just follow the instructions as written. But if you want to have a smoother texture, feel free to run the whole finished mixture through a mesh sieve and discard the cranberry skins.
Either way is delicious and easy to make!
So Happy Holidays to you my friend, and I really hope you love this recipe. Let me know what you think down in the comments below!
- 1 cup dates, pitted (medjool, deglet noor or any other kind!)
- 1 cup water
- 2½ cups fresh cranberries
- In a high-speed blender, add your dates and water and process until the dates are completely pulverized (see headnotes for instructions if you have a regular blender).
- In a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add your blended date mixture and the cranberries. Cover and cook for about 12-13 minutes or until all the cranberries have popped, stirring every couple of minutes, to ensure the sugar mixture isn't burning. Serve warm or cold according to preference.
Soaking dates: After dates are soaked, do you pour off any remaining water prior to blending?
Good question?? I would like to see an answer to that as well. Sounds like something I would use.
Hey Sandy!! You can use the soaking water as part of the water you use for the recipe: it will make it that much sweeter! :D Yum, great question!! xoxo
Soaking dates (Part 2): After 24 hours of soaking date nuggets in the fridge, draining resulted in about 4 ounces of water that was not soaked up by the dates. The nuggets were already squishy. After pureeing in my 30 year-old regular blender with 4 more ounces of water, the date mixture was smooth as can be! Very thick, stand-up-a-spoon thick. Cooking now. Will see how it goes. :-)
Made this recipe. Yummmm! Not as brilliantly red as yours, Cheri, but became redder after putting it through the food mill – more of a dark red.
So, can this be frozen? Thinking little Christmas gift…with a little ribbon around the decorative canning jar.
Ahhh Sandy thank you so much for the lovely and thoughtful updates. I’m sooooo glad to hear the soaking and blending thing worked with your blender. That’s fantastic. And I did do a little up on the redness for the photo so don’t feel bad. :) Mine wasn’t quite as red as it shows in the picture. I’m so glad you love the recipe!! I would think that freezing would be just fine. How about you test it and throw some in the freezer now. Then tomorrow night, bring it out, put it in the fridge and see how it holds up. I’d love to know if it stays them same and I bet it will!! Let me know how it goes…. :D :D <3
Okay, trying this today! What I am wondering, is if there is a reason I couldn’t put the whole pot back into the vitamix after cooking? Instead of straining out the skins, blend them in (for more nutrients and color). I might split my batch to test it out.
Terry!! So sorry I couldn’t get back to you on this yesterday when you were cooking, my dear. But I’m so glad to hear that the experiment went well either way and that your hubby loved it!! <3 Happy Thanksgiving!!
Freezes well. It had the same consistency, feel and taste after freezing for 24 hours.
I used my nutri bullet and dates right out of the fridge, no soaking needed. Awesome!!
Ahhhh So great to hear that, Tami!! Thank you for letting me know the Nutribullet did the job without soaking!! :D :D <3
That’s so fantastic to know, Sandy thank you for letting us all know!!
What do you think would happen if I substituted all or part of the water with freshly squeezed orange juice?
I think it would be delish Letizia. It’d add extra sugar, so not really Nutritarian to use plain fruit juice, but on occasion, it would be fine. Another option would be to just blend the whole orange instead of just using the juice! That’d be super Nutritarian. <3
After cooking the basic ingredients, you could add chopped pecans or walnuts, mandarin orange slices, and a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice to suit your taste for a nutritious, delicious relish.