Dieter’s Spiced Cranberry Relish

We Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on October 10 so our family had its groaning board yesterday, replete with turkey, stuffing, and all the usual wonderful and calorie-rich accompaniments.

In the past, I used to throw caution to the winds and dolloped lots of cranberry sauce (canned) on my turkey even though I knew it was chock-full of sugar.  This year, I decided to make my own cranberry sauce and spend those calories elsewhere—on pumpkin pie, for example, and some stuffing.  And this was a good thing for two reasons.

First of all, this relish was a much superior product to the canned variety: the cranberry flavour enhanced by spicy undertones of orange and spices.  And secondly, I needed to save those extra calories because one daughter brought home-made coconut macaroons, which were to die for.

And, honestly?  My diet did die a little…a smidgeon, really, dear god of weight loss.  But then, such is the fate of diets when Thanksgiving rolls around.

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 3-3½ cups


  • 4 cups of rinsed and picked-over cranberries
  • 2 cups sweetener (Note: Weight Watcher points for this recipe are based on the use of artificial sugar.)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 small oranges or 3 clementines, unpeeled
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • Dash of cloves
  • Dash of ground cardamom or crushed seeds from 4 cardomom pods


  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine cranberries, sweetener, and water.
  2. Simmer covered for 10 minutes; then simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. While cranberries are simmering, cut unpeeled oranges into chunks and then chop more finely in a blender.
  4. Add oranges and spices to the cranberry mixture.  (If mixture is dry, add ½ cup of water.)
  5. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Chill before serving.  Sauce will gel while in the refrigerator.

For Weight Watchers: A ½ cup serving would be .5 point on the Points plan and 0 points on the PointsPlus plan.

(Adapted from “Cranberry Relish” in The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two by Anna Thomas.)

2 thoughts on “Dieter’s Spiced Cranberry Relish

  1. Oh, yes, I can’t stand the canned nonsense but “real” cranberries with other fruit are a delight. I’m a fan of mixing them with apples for the sweetener, and adding a small shot of limoncello or a medium glass of a sweet red wine along with the spices.

    I can even eat them straight, although not too many, and only the ripe ones.

    (For the non-dieters, I made a sweet cranberry chocolate mixture last year that I was going to put on bars… honestly, could have eaten it all of it off a spoon. I’ll be taking it to the work shin-dig this December.)

  2. Your version sounds yummy. I made mine with regular sugar many years ago (later 1970s) when the Vegetarian Epicure books came out. I didn’t have a food processor then, and what I remember is how much I hated the time spent chopping up the orange…I also had little kids and was always short on time. But I remembered that recipe this year and with a processor…well, it was a cinch.

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