What’s Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce?

9 Nov

Am I right? Whether you like cranberry sauce or not, a Thanksgiving dinner without it is just…unheard of.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t like cranberry sauce and I credit that to the traditional jelled blob, dumped straight from a can onto a serving plate, that many people serve. Yuck. I don’t even consider that cranberry sauce. We always had homemade cranberry sauce at my grandma’s on Thanksgiving. I loved it. It had celery and nuts in it, too, so it was tart, sweet and crunchy. I could eat cranberry sauce on just about anything and, in my opinion, there is absolutely no other way to eat turkey.

But – this will be my first Thanksgiving as a vegan. That means no turkey. In the 10 months that I’ve been eating a plant-based diet, I haven’t missed meat at all. Burgers, chicken on the grill, and BBQ ribs were served at gatherings all summer long and none of that appealed to me. I was actually turned off by the thought of eating those things.

The turkey on Thanksgiving is going to be a challenge. Right now, I’m thinking it’s going to be really hard to enjoy all the usuals and not have turkey with cranberry sauce. So I’m going to have to be prepared with some other delicious options for me. And, I’m pretty sure I will not have any desire to eat turkey once I see it come out of the oven on Thanksgiving day.

Turkey or no turkey, there will be cranberry sauce at this Thanksgiving meal. I have the easiest and tastiest recipe ever, and I will be smearing it on all kinds of things on my plate! Last night, I made a batch to do some recipe testing. I had it for lunch today on top of a baked sweet potato. Fabulous. Tonight I’m going to try it on Gardein chick’n filets for dinner. The recipe contains fresh cranberries and oranges, so it’s tangy, sweet and fresh tasting, and I can’t wait to see how it is on oven-roasted vegan chick’n.

My favorite cranberry sauce recipe actually came from Family Fun magazine a few years ago. They had an article on getting your kids involved in making the Thanksgiving meal and this was one of the recipes. It is so unbelievably easy that my littlest guy could probably make it, so put your kids to work on this one. I love the flavor of the fresh cranberries and citrus-y orange. It beats the can off of that jelled stuff!

The recipe is Cranberry Orange Relish and can be found here. I’ve never had to use the extra water due to sticking. It does get thicker as it cools. Also, be sure it’s completely cooled before you stir in the lemon juice, to maintain that fresh lemon flavor. Definitely garnish it with orange zest. I only had one orange in my fridge and I didn’t think to save any zest for garnishing before I tossed it into the food processor. You can make this 3 or 4 days in advance and just store it covered in the fridge.

Enjoy!

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