This Cranberry Sauce with apple and orange has less sugar.  It’s a healthier version of the Thanksgiving classic and it’s vegan, gluten and wheat free!!
cranberry-sauce-with-apples-and-oranges | Healthy Seasonal RecipesYou’d think that a simple recipe like this cranberry sauce wouldn’t inspire much drama, but I am all fired up. You’ve been warned.

This cranberry sauce recipe is all about healthy and seasonal. First of all it is based on local and seasonal ingredients, Vermont cranberries and apples. Secondly, it is for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday; A symbolic and literal celebration of the harvest from the local farmers. Third, and most important, this recipe is also about getting healthier food onto the table for every meal. Even Thanksgiving, the most indulgent meal of the year.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like to eat (way more than usual) on Thanksgiving, but I am not of the mentality that since I am eating a plate of food the size of a Mini Cooper, I might as well blow it all out and eat French’s-Onion-laden-modified-food-starch-casserole. I pretty much stick to my guns and keep it healthy. It isn’t even about calorie counting either. It’s about the choices I have made to eat healthfully.

I said something on my Facebook Fan page a week or two ago about this, and it bears repeating.There is a difference between being on a diet and eating healthfully.I do not believe in diets. I have tried them and they don’t work (for long) and they are hard. Today, I don’t ever think of eating healthfully as a prison sentence, something I have to get through, or something that is finite (the way a diet can be seen.) I think of it as a no brainier. Like why wouldn’t I want to eat this way? I’m not saying it is always easy to source and prepare healthy food. I am saying making the choice to eat healthy food is easy.

The reason is that, as long as I can make healthy food taste just as good or better, why wouldn’t I choose the healthier option? I get that not everyone loves Brussels sprouts the way I do. [Believe me I do. I was a personal chef for years remember? I got to learn that people are all kinds of cray cray about what they will and won’t eat.] Or that sometimes the real deal scratches an itch that an imitation won’t. I am all about enjoying life and having a bit of everything in moderation.

cranberry-sauce-with-apples-and-oranges | Healthy Seasonal RecipesI pulled this recipe out of the archives, in part because the old photo totally blew, but also because it perfectly illustrates my point. As I said the first time I posted it, it has half the sugar. I am assuming if you’ve read this far you love cranberry sauce, so we’re not dealing with cauliflower or Brussels sprouts here. I am not trying to convince you to try something you don’t like. I am trying to convince you, and the rest of the world really, that it shouldn’t be a hard decision to make the healthier choice. Even if it may take a few more minutes to peel and chop the apples and orange than it would to dip into the bag of sugar.

Why would you need to be convinced to cut out half the sugar? Especially when I am telling you that this tastes good. With the natural sweetness of the apples and the heady flavor from the allspice and orange zest, you won’t miss the extra sugar. If the things that are stopping you are mental. Meaning, would you feel deprived knowing it has far less calories? Or worse would you feel like that gave you license to eat twice as much? I hope not. I have been there myself and I totally feel your pain. If these sound like thoughts that may creep into your mind, I would strongly recommend reading Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD. It helped me a ton.

And then I would like to challenge you to make this recipe, even do a side by side taste test if that’ll help convince you. I think you’ll see what I mean. No brainier. Gauntlet thrown! For more healthy (not diet) Thanksgiving recipes click here.

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cranberry sauce with apple and orange

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x


This Cranberry Sauce with apple and orange has less sugar. It’s a healthier version of the Thanksgiving classic and it’s vegan, gluten and wheat free!!



  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, picked and rinsed
2 apples, peeled and diced

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
pinch salt

  • 1 orange


  1. Stir together cranberries, apples, brown sugar, orange juice, allspice and salt in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Continue cooking, stirring often until the cranberries have popped and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, zest orange. To supreme the orange: Cut skin and white pith off the orange. Cut between membranes to remove individual segments, working all the way around the orange. Gently stir the zest and orange segments into the compote. Discard orange membrane and peel. Cool compote completely, about 2 hours.


  • Calories: 209
  • Sugar: 43 g
  • Sodium: 45 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 1 g

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