Fresh cranberries may be out of season but that doesn’t stop me from eating this immune boosting fruit. I simply reach into my freezer and grab a bag of frozen cranberries to cook up this Spiced Citrus and Cranberry Relish. Gluten-Free, Dairy Free and Vegan, this relish is a really versatile, healthy recipe which is why I choose to spotlight it outside of the holiday season. Cranberries are worthy of a place on our plate all year long. So much so that I am using this relish with roasted sweet potatoes to create a savory oatmeal that will post later this week.
I have loved sour and tart flavors my whole life. As a little girl that meant sweet tarts and sour patch kids were my jam though I’ve happily matured out of the phase. These days I enjoy the tartness of cranberries and cherries which have a lovely and balancing natural sweetness. My love for sour and tart also allows me to go easy on the added sugars in this recipe. Let’s be real for a minute – a traditional cranberry sauce is basically a whole lot of sugar! The same goes for dried cranberries. You might as well sprinkle skittles on your salad! I mean, really! We have to train our palates to crave less sweet and this recipe is a great place to start.
Cranberries, a disease fighting antioxidant powerhouse of a fruit, are simmered with a ton of beautiful, whole food ingredients. Fresh squeezed orange juice ups the Vitamin C content and adds some sweetness. Cold-pressed apple juice mellows out the tart flavor. Orange zest (you know I am obsessed this time of year) cinnamon, cardamon and ginger add a slew of warming and nourishing medicinal properties as well as heaps of flavor, and a touch of real maple syrup brings it all together.
Your Medicinal Spice Cabinet
Orange Zest: I am a huge fan of citrus zest and peel – I can’t understand why people throw it in the trash. The peel offers a powerful orange flavor that really brightens the flavor of a dish. There are many powerful antioxidants that live there as well. Note: when using the peel, try to opt for organic as these are free from pesticides and other chemicals.
Cinnamon: Slightly sweet and earthy, this warming spice contains a wealth of disease fighting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon has also been linked to reducing heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure, and improving blood sugar control. Note: Quality and freshness counts!
Cardamom: With a unique pepper and citrus notes, this mildly sweet, earthy spice has a plethora of health benefits. Cardamom naturally aids in digestion and detoxification as it helps clear waste through the liver. Additionally, cardamom is loaded with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
Ginger: A relative to Cardamom, ginger shares similar medicinal qualities like lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, reducing inflammation in the body and aiding in digestion. Uniquely though, Ginger is also a great natural pain reliever when ingested.
Meal Prep Tips:
Considering you can cook this up in about 15 minutes there isn’t a whole lot to prep. If you have a juicer you could pre-juice your orange and apple so they are ready to go. You can buy these ingredients as well.
- Add to a sandwich as a flavorful spread
- Add to plain yogurt or fresh ricotta (you can even mix it in) and top with nuts or seeds
- Spread onto a salmon filet and bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes depending on desired doneness
- Use as a topping for oatmeal or quinoa breakfast cereal
- Pair with meats, cheeses and olives to create a festive appetizer board