Healthy Thanksgiving Sides: David Tanis’ Spicy Cranberry-Apple Relish


This is this the final installment in my mini-series this year of healthy Thanksgiving side dishes.

Cranberry sauce is one of the expected items on the Thanksgiving table, and most people have a preference for their favorite– a simple cooked cranberry sauce, a raw relish, or perhaps the jellied canned version which is in a category of its own.  I make my usual sauce with fresh cranberries, a clementine or two, and about 1/2 the sugar called for on the recipe on the Ocean Spray bag.  That will always have a presence at my Thanksgivings.

But last year, on Thanksgiving Day itself, I discovered a recipe I like even better.  This recipe, from David Tanis, columnist for The New York Times and former chef at Chez Panisse, adds a little excitement to cranberry sauce by adding a few unexpected, but not difficult to find, ingredients.  I had all the ingredients already, so I thought I’d try it, and I found it to be the perfect recipe, full of zest, zing and a slight fire from the ginger, jalapeño and cayenne.  It’s pretty, too, with glossy jewel tones.  This is cranberry sauce for adults, and the adventurous kid eaters, at the table.

David Tanis’ Spice Cranberry-Apple Relish

recipe from The New York Times, November 2012

Yield: About 4 cups


1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pound tart, crisp apples, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch chunks
1 pound cranberries
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeño or Serrano chile
Pinch cayenne pepper


1.   Over medium heat, in wide stainless steel skillet, heat sugar, vinegar and salt, stirring to dissolve.
2.  Add chopped apples and cranberries, and increase heat to medium-high. Let fruit cook, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring carefully, until apples are tender but still hold their shape.
3.  Add ginger, jalapeño and cayenne, mix gently and cool to room temperature. May be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to 4 days.

Nutrition info: Eat up, this is great for you!

Cranberries are a great source of Vitamin E  and Vitamin K, and a very good source of  fiber, Vitamin C and manganese.
Apples are another good source of fiber and vitamin C, and jalapeños provide a wide spectrum of nutrients, including riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, thiamine, Vitamin B6, folate, potassium, copper and manganese.

Per 1/4 cup serving: Calories 81, Fat 0g, Sodium 146mg



I am grateful to all of my readers, old and new.

If you enjoyed this, please leave a comment and share it with your friends.

If you have a favorite healthy Thanksgiving side dish you’d like to share, please feel free to leave the link in the comments.

Other Healthy Thanksgiving Sides:

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

Vegan on the Side— my article and 3 more recipes on

8 responses

  1. Linda, I love the idea of jalapeno in the tart and sweet cranberry relish. I think it’s time to kick up my standard relish (and maybe warn the old folks at the table!). Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Pingback: Spiced Cranberry Apple Crisp, Thanksgiving Dessert with a Twist | spicebox travels

  3. Pingback: Healthy Thanksgiving: a Cornucopia of Vegan Sides | spicebox travels

  4. Pingback: A Vegetable-Forward Thanksgiving ft. Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta Alfredo | spicebox travels

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