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Cranberry Relish That Beats the Can

Lentine Alexis
by Lentine Alexis
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2.5/5 (4)
Cranberry Relish That Beats the Can

Why a hallmark Thanksgiving side is a boring can of lumpy, gelatinous, preservative-full and too-sweet cranberry sauce is beyond me. Sure, that canned goo is nostalgic and sweet, but it’s time to kick the can and make an easy, fresh, flavorful and healthy cranberry relish that dazzles.

Cranberries are amazing when they’re not reduced to jello. They’re bright, tart, sweet and an easy way to amp up your holiday table. So, grab a bag of fresh cranberries from the produce aisle, then chop and toast your way to this bright, no-cook side dish in minutes.

Cranberry Walnut Relish


  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup (62g) walnuts
  • 12 ounces (300g) fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (15g) chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 350°F (176ºC). Toast mustard seeds in a dry, small saucepan over medium-low heat, rolling around in pan often, until the seeds start to pop, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add red onion, raisins, maple syrup, vinegar, allspice and 1/2 teaspoon salt (mixture will sputter a bit). Stir well to dissolve salt. Let sit until raisins are plumped and mixture is cool, 15–20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.

Reserve 1/2 cup of cranberries, then pulse together the remaining cranberries and walnuts in a food processor until very coarsely chopped — about 5 short pulses. Transfer to a large bowl and work in the reserved whole cranberries and the onion mixture. Cover and let sit at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, taste and season with more salt, if necessary; stir in parsley.

Relish can be made up to three days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Serves: 12 | Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 71; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 100mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 1g

About the Author

Lentine Alexis
Lentine Alexis
Lentine is a curious, classically trained chef and former pro athlete. She uses her bicycle, raw life and travel experiences and organic ingredients to inspire athletes and everyone to explore, connect and expand their human experiences through food. She previously worked as a Chef/Recipe Developer/Content Creator and Culinary Director at Skratch Labs – a sports nutrition company dedicated to making real food alternatives to modern “energy foods.” Today, she writes, cooks, speaks and shares ideas for nourishing sport and life with whole, simple, delicious foods.


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