Thanksgiving will probably look different for a lot of us this year. A little less grand, a few less people… but that doesn’t mean the food needs to be any less delicious. And whether you celebrate with a small turkey, a tofurkey or no turkey, there are many healthy and delicious food choices to meet everyone’s tastes. For me, Thanksgiving isn’t complete without cranberry sauce. I feel that one cannot really enjoy turkey or tofurkey without a side of that tangy fruit.
Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, the cranberry really is a super food. Cranberries contain phenolic antioxidants that keep bacteria from sticking to cells in the urinary tract, helping prevent infections. One study also has shown that these benefits may extend to men’s prostates, as well. They are also rich in fiber and vitamin C.
So if you are a cranberry sauce fan like me, skip the canned version and try this festive one instead.
• 5 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
• 2/3 cup port wine
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/3 cup orange juice
• Zest of 1/2 orange
• 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (divided)
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp ground cloves
In a large saucepan combine cranberries, port, 1/2 cup water, orange juice, orange zest, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, honey, sugar, and spices. Cook over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture resembles chunky jam. You will notice the cranberries bursting!
Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 Tbsp vinegar. Cool before serving. Add to your favorite holiday meal.
And because cranberries are such a quintessential Thanksgiving fruit, here is another recipe that would make a delicious side. This kale salad is packed with fiber, iron and B vitamins.
Kale Salad with Cranberry Dressing
• 6 cups of kale, with stems removed and torn into small bite-sized pieces
• 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans
• 1 cup fresh cranberries
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 Tbsp maple syrup
• 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all dressing ingredients, except olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a mini food processor or blender and add olive oil. Pulse to combine, leaving dressing slightly chunky for texture. Cool completely.
To prepare salad, in a large bowl, gently squeeze the torn kale leaves (this breaks down the fibers, making it easier to eat). Mix in chopped pecans. Toss with 1/2 cup of dressing (or more to taste). Serves 4.
And what is Thanksgiving without dessert. These cranberry chocolate cookies satisfy your sweet tooth. Cranberry isn’t the only healthy part of this dessert, though… dark chocolate contains disease-fighting flavonols that may have a heart-healthy effect. This recipe is a gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free cookie, perfect for serving at a dinner party where you may have guests with different food allergies or sensitivities.
Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
• 1 cup gluten-free baking mix
• 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 3/4 cup apricot or date purée
• 1/4 cup organic canola oil
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup dried cranberries
• 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
To make the apricot or date puree, soak dried apricots or dates in room temperature water overnight, or in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Remove water and place softened fruit in a blender and blend until it is a puree.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix gluten-free baking mix, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Incorporate apricot or date puree, oil, vanilla, cranberries and chocolate chips. Using a 1 oz cookie scoop, measure the dough and form it into balls, flatten, and place on an oiled baking tray.
Bake for 13 minutes or until golden. This makes about 16 cookies.
And, Just in Case… Help With Indigestion
After eating all these foods with cranberries, or a general overload from your Thanksgiving feast, you may feel a little uncomfortable. If you tend to suffer from heartburn or indigestion, read this blog first, to help you prepare for the big meal ahead. One important suggestion is to make sure you are chewing your food and eat slowly. Eating quickly can lead to heartburn, so slow down and enjoy your meal.
Photo from here, with thanks.