Cranberry Orange Salsa

Listening to the radio this weekend there was some comment along the lines of “the foods you HAVE to have at Thanksgiving.”

Let’s get one thing straight: you don’t have to have anything. Peel back all the layers of dessert and casseroles and what’s the most important thing about Thanksgiving? Good vegan gluten free pumpkin pie spending quality time with friends and family (sometimes aided by a bottle of good wine). You know what isn’t conducive to good quality time with friends and family? Food induced stress.

Some of us love to cook so much that it makes us less stressed. But others are so concerned with making a dinner “perfect” that they lose track of the main goal and end up overwhelmed with anxiety. We’ve all been there and it’s not fun. The brussel sprouts burn, the pie crust is too flaky and you end up frazzled and yelling at someone that you can’t find the olive oil.

Therefore, for a meal that tends to involve more than two dishes, which in turn means being a master of timing (still trying to figure out how one ensures that everything is just the right temperature at the time of serving), ease is of the essence. The kind of dishes you can throw together in a handful of minutes and still impress; because you want your dinner guests impressed right?

Enter Cranberry Orange Salsa, the lazy but health conscious chef’s solution to the “necessary” cranberry dish on the Thanksgiving table. Here’s a shocker: it’s not really salsa and you don’t need to add anything beyond cranberries and orange.

As much as I sometimes want to sass up this recipe (chopped mint! pomegranate seeds! cardamom?!) at the end of the day its main appeal is that it is so simple. No infusions or additions of any kind. Which leaves more time for friends and another glass of wine.

Cranberry Orange Salsa


-One cup fresh cranberries
-One orange
-Mint or basil for garnish (you’re trying to impress, remember?)


1. Place cranberries in a food processor.

2. Zest half the orange before peeling it and add to cranberries.

3. Peel orange and place in food processor.

4. Process until evenly mixed.

5. If the taste is too tart for you, add in a little sugar to taste.

Note: I once spent a Thanksgiving in a yurt, which of course did not have a food processor, and if you can spend a few extra minutes to finely dice and chop the orange and cranberries together, the salsa will be a little chunkier but just as delicious.

Use this salsa as a side for turkey, or for dessert with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Not only is it simple, it’s versatile.

Want more? Check out our complete Thanksgiving menu which includes this recipe!


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