Homemade cranberry sauce is a classic holiday dish, but this raw vegan cranberry sauce is far from classic. This recipe is simple un-cooked and made with fresh cranberries, dates, cinnamon, clove, allspice and salt. Fresh cranberries are full of antioxidants, but when you cook them you lose out on all those free radical fighters. That is why we will not be cooking our raw vegan cranberry sauce, to retain optimal nutrition, and because it actually tastes better.
If you want the perfect recipe to bring to your non raw vegan family, this is the recipe for you. If you are looking for something super quick and easy to make, this is the recipe for you. I have stripped this recipe down to the basics, so I totally recommend experimenting with different flavors like orange juice pineapple, ginger, pecans, blueberries and whatever else you can think of. All these elements can bring greater depth to this simple cranberry sauce.
Raw vegan cranberry sauce is great by itself, I eat it like apple sauce. I also really enjoy pairing it with cultured cashew cheesecake, I use any extra cranberry sauce as a cheesecake topping.
Using a Food Processor vs. a Blender
There are two ways to prepare this sauce, in a blender or in a food processor. The first way is to use a food processor, this method results in a more chutney-like cranberry sauce, the date paste and cranberries must be processed separately. Using a blender results in a smooth cranberry paste, all the ingredients can be blended together at the same time. Whether you use a blender or a food processor, both are absolutely spectacular in flavor in consistency. The choice is yours, to be honest I normally end up making both!
Soaking Cranberries Until They Are Soft Like Grapes
If you wish to have a smooth, deep red cranberry sauce like the one below, you must soak and dehydrate your cranberries until they are soft like grapes. I normally dehydrate my cranberries covered in water with a little bit of salt for 1 hour in the dehydrator at 165 degrees, or in the oven on the lowest temp. The cranberries will not heat up to 165 degrees in that time and so they are still considered raw.
I then toss the water and let them dehydrate for another hour at 165 degrees. You can also soak your cranberries over night in a sealed glass container and they should soften up. I have had some cranberries that would not go soft by merely soaking, I need to look into why this is. Undoubtedly soaking, dehydrating, and blending will get you a similar version to the classic cranberry sauce.
I don’t know about you but I was not a huge fan of the cranberry sauce served at my holiday events. Classic cranberry sauce is filled with processed sugar, sometimes pectin or it just came straight of a can, and then it’s all cooked down to almost pure sugar, leaving barely any nutrition.
Think about it like this, would you eat pectin or white sugar by itself? Not a chance. Would you eat dates by themselves? Of course! Dates act like the pectin and sugar combined, except they are completely delicious when eaten alone! Same with canned and frozen cranberries, you would not eat them alone. But when you soften fresh cranberries, they are like grapes, and they are also delicious by themselves.
Finally I can say I enjoy cranberry sauce! The tartness of the cherries and the natural sweetness of the dates in perfect harmony with the spicy ceylon cinnamon. It is heaven in my mouth and far from the not so pleasant memories of that goopy gelatinous cranberry suger that nobody ever touched. I think the only reason of bringing that gross concoction back, year after year, was to complete everybody’s memories and traditions because you know as soon as it’s not there, someone is always like…where’s the cranberry sauce?
- 2 cups fresh cranberries + 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup soft medjool dates + 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp clove
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Process cranberries and 1/2 cup water.
- Process dates and 1/2 cup water separately.
- Combine the “date paste” with the cranberry mixture and add your spices.
- Process all ingredients together.
- If your dates are not soft, soak them for an hour in purified water, discard the water when done.
- Using the food processor method results in a cranberry chutney. Using the blender method results in more of a cranberry jelly that resembles classic cranberry sauce.
- The cranberries can be soaked and or dehydrated to soften cranberries like a grape for a smoother consistency.