Cranberry Craze: 3 Healthy Recipes Using this Winter Staple
When thinking of all the things you’re thankful for this holiday season, we hope your health is on the list. And while the holidays are not exactly known for a time of healthy eating, there is one common holiday superfood ingredient that’s on your side.
Do you know how much nutritional power is inside a cranberry? Due to their rich source of antioxidants, these small berries are capable of preventing E. coli bacteria from causing infections in the body. There are even recent studies that prove that cranberries can also lower the LDL, aka “bad” cholesterol levels. Bring on the cranberry sauce!
Just be sure that when using this fruit in recipes, remember how tart the natural taste can be. Rather than filling with artificial sweeteners, go for agave, real maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar rather than refined sugars. This fruit is a tart, colorful addition that you can incorporate into your breakfast, appetizer or main course.
Here are 3 not-so-typical cranberry recipes that will leave your dinner guests wanting more this holiday season:
Cranberry Chia Seed Jam
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 an apple diced (gala preferred)
- 2 tbsp of cinnamon
- 1/8 cup of chia seed
Start by combining all of the ingredients above into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stirring frequently, simmer for about 15-20 minutes. As the cranberries pop, they will need more stirring. If the jam becomes too thick, add a tablespoon of water here and there in the heating process to thin out the mixture. Store it in a mason jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
White Bean, Cranberry and Rosemary Dip
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Sautee the oil over low heat. Add garlic and chopped rosemary to your heated oil and cook for about 5 minutes. Next, drain the can of cannellini beans and place the beans in a food processor. Pour the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice over the beans. Puree the mixture until the dip becomes smooth, adding water or oil if it is too thick. Taste the puree and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cranberries and pulse until combined. Serve the dip with crackers or chopped veggies and garnish the top with more cranberries, drizzle of olive oil, and rosemary.
Sweet Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Salad – Serves 2
- 4 cups fresh arugula
- 2 cups brussels sprouts
- 1 shallot
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash and chop the brussels sprouts in half. Slice the shallot into small slivers. Place the chopped veggies in a baking dish and pour olive oil and maple syrup on top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Toss to combine. Roast the veggies for about 25 minutes, until the brussels sprouts are soft and the shallots have caramelized. Once roasted, allow the veggies to cool for about five minutes and mix in cranberries and pepitas. Assemble the vegetable mixture over a bed of arugula. Top with goat cheese crumbles or your favorite vegan cheese. Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and enjoy!
This holiday season, your recipes should be anything but boring! But you don’t have to sacrifice cooking healthy to satisfy even your most picky dinner guest eaters. Wow your loved ones this holiday season with delicious and incredibly healthy cranberry dishes that are sure to add color and fancy flavor to your special meal. Happy holidays!