Apps & Snacks · Gluten-Free · Sauces & Spreads · Side Dishes · Vegan

Cranberry-Apple Compote


Two days to go ’til Turkey Day so, lucky you, I’ve got another vegetarian recipe, that’s perfect for the upcoming holiday. If you read yesterday’s post (butternut squash and broccoli mac and cheese!), you’ll know that this year I’m bringing a few veggie-friendly dishes to a potluck-style thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s family. You’d also know that I chose my dishes based on my perfect Thanksgiving day plate. And since I was a little girl, my perfect plate always included some sweetly-tart cranberry sauce.

Although straight cranberries are a bit too sour to really enjoy on their own, add a little sweetness to them, and cranberries are one of my all-time fave fruits. Whether in the Cosmic Cranberry smoothie at our neighborhood smoothie shop or a vodka-cranberry cocktail with a splash of lime, cranberries are a favorite of mine. So it’s not a surprise that cranberry sauce is a must-have condiment for my Thanksgiving dinner. It’s such a good balance for all the rich and heavy dishes that take up the majority of the holiday feast. I like it as a spread on rolls or biscuits, and I like it mixed into stuffing and other savory dishes. It’s also an important component of the day-after-Thanksgiving-sandwich (an even better tradition than the actual Thanksgiving dinner, in my opinion).

So the question is, how do I get that delicious cranberry sauce flavor in my meal without using a canned variety or an overly sugar-laden recipe? That answer came last year, around Chanukah time, when I made a cranberry flavored apple sauce to go with some homemade latkes. I just wanted to spruce up the traditional apple sauce accompaniment, not realizing that this is the perfect solution to my thanksgiving-cranberry-sauce-dilemma. Genius. Because the apples are naturally sweet, they balance out the tartness of the cranberries, without the need for excessive amounts of added sugar. It’s thick without being gelatinous, it’s a perfect balance of sweet and tart, and it’s super low maintenance to make. You pretty much throw everything in a pot and simmer until it’s ready. Winner-winner-turkey-dinner, if I’ve ever seen one.

So if you, like me, prefer even the most indulgent day of the year to be as balanced, wholesome, and health-supportive as possible, this Cranberry-Apple Compote is a totally delicious, antioxidant-rich, vegan-friendly twist on a Thanksgiving tradition. Definitely worth a try.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Cranberry Apple Compote (aka cran-apple sauce)
Yield: 3-4 cups    Start to Finish: 90 min.   Active Time: 20 minutes (plus occasional stirring)


3 cups fresh Cranberries (12 ounces)
4 Apples, I used gala apples, cored and chopped (peel if desired)
3 cups Water
¼ cup Maple Syrup (+ more to taste)
1½ tablespoons Corn Starch
1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice (+ more to taste)

To Make

Combine all ingredients, cranberries through cornstarch, in a large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to desired consistency, where apples and cranberries are mostly broken down. Mash down apples and cranberries periodically during simmering. For me, this takes about an hour.

Add lemon juice and additional maple syrup, to taste. I didn’t need any more lemon juice and added an additional tablespoon of syrup (5 tablespoons total). You could add up to 1/4 cup more (1/2 cup total, if you want it super sweet). Note that the sauce gets sweeter and more flavorful when it chills.

Allow sauce to cool and refrigerate until serving. Note that the sauce will seem liquidy until it is cooled and chilled. After chilling, the sauce becomes thicker and more compote-like.

*For company, I would suggest maybe peeling the apples. For day-to-day use, don’t bother peeling. I never peel them though, sorry company.

**I used all organic ingredients for this. The cornstarch was a non-GMO variety.

2 thoughts on “Cranberry-Apple Compote

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