Cranberry Apple Relish is a family favorite that's simple to make with only 4 ingredients and a food processor. This refined sugar-free sauce has been a staple on my holiday table ever since my mom started making her version of it when I was young. The crunchy fruit and nut condiment is like a taste of fall.
If there's one dish that conjures up fond memories of childhood Thanksgivings for me, it's cranberry apple relish. I don't recall my mother making cooked cranberry sauce on the stove, but I do remember her serving the jelly-like stuff that comes in a can. Needless to say, I was not a fan.
But one year my mom started making a fresh relish with cranberries and Granny Smith apples in her favorite kitchen appliance, a state-of-the-art Cuisinart food processor. And while it seemed like a nutritious addition to the holiday table since the fruit was raw, it was loaded with white sugar. In fact, I think it had over a cup. So, of course, I absolutely loved it!
But as an adult with much less of a sweet tooth, I started experimenting with her recipe and came up with this version I'm sharing with you. It's just as fresh and crunchy, but it's naturally sweetened with dates, inspired by a Mediterranean diet.
- Fresh cranberries: Choose ones that are firm and scarlet or bright red. If they are light pink or dark purple, they are underripe or overripe, respectively.
- Apple: I like to use a Granny Smith apple for the contrasting green color, but they are rather tart. If you prefer a sweeter apple since the cranberries are already sour, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Gala are great choices.
- Medjool dates: These "nature's candies" will add sweetness to the relish.
- Pecans: I like to add these nuts for extra crunch. If you don't have pecans, walnuts are another option.
- Process the cranberries, apple, and dates, scraping down the sides of the food processor bowl as necessary. You'll want to keep the texture chunky, so don't overprocess the sauce. I like to use the pulse function.
- Then when the sauce is just about ready, give it a taste and add more dates if you want it sweeter.
- At this time, throw in the pecans, then give the relish one last whirl.
Cover and refrigerate the sauce until you're ready to eat. When preparing for a holiday dinner, I'll make this recipe up to 2 days in advance. Any longer than that and the sauce will become too watery.
This recipe makes about 8 servings, but if you and your family really enjoy cranberry sauce, I suggest doubling the recipe.
More ways to use Medjool dates
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Cranberry Apple Relish (Refined Sugar-Free)
- Add the cranberries, apples, and dates to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until the fruit is roughly chopped.
- Add the pecans to the food processor. Pulse a few more times, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Be sure not to over-process. Keep it chunky and crunchy.
- Refrigerate the relish in an air-tight container until ready to serve.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
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