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Fall in love with this easy, 3-ingredient stand-in for traditional cranberry sauce.

For the printable recipe PDF click here.

My youngest monster recently turned two. We were trying to figure out what to do for his birthday (and simultaneously debating what to do with a whole turkey we had defrosted in the fridge) when Monster 2 exclaimed, "Let's throw him a Thanksgiving feast!"

We had alternative plans for Thanksgiving this year and wouldn't be doing a traditional feast this Turkey Day, so Monster 2's idea was a winner.

We'd do roasted turkey, paleo Thanksgiving dressing, giblet gravy, roasted brussels sprouts, and of course a pie for dessert.

"We need the red stuff!" Monster 2 reminded us shortly before the feast.

"Cranberry sauce?" I asked.

"Yes!" the monsters proclaimed in unison.

I had no fresh or frozen cranberries and no plans to go to the store, but I remembered something hidden in the pantry.

I dug out my Costco-sized bag of dried cranberries, retrieved some apple juice from the fridge, and got to work.

Dried, sweetened cranberries are already super-high in sugar, so no additional sweetener would be needed.

I dumped a bunch of the dried cranberries in a saucepan, added enough apple juice to completely cover them (plus an extra splash for good measure) and brought the juice to a boil before covering. Then I turned the heat to med-low and let the cranberries simmer and plump in the apple juice, stirring occasionally. When pretty much all of the liquid was absorbed, I turned off the heat and stirred in the juice and zest of one mandarin orange.

The resulting cranberries are not your typical "sauce," but the monsters agreed it was the best "red stuff" they had tried--even beating out the pie for their favorite part of the feast.

These cranberries would not work for a Whole30 Thanksgiving because of the added sugar in the dried cranberries themselves (and calling it paleo is debatable for the same reason), but from the standpoints of ease and tastiness, it's definitely a recipe to be thankful for!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 ½ cups sweetened dried cranberries (like Craisins)

  • 1 ¾ cups unsweetened apple juice

  • Juice and zest of 1 mandarin orange

  • Tiny pinch of fine salt (if desired)

Here's what you'll do:

  1. Place the dried cranberries in a small saucepan and add the apple juice. The cranberries should be completely covered by the juice. If they are not, add just enough juice to cover them.

  2. Bring the juice to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to med-low. Simmer gently until the cranberries have plumped up and absorbed nearly all the juice, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the mandarin orange juice and zest (and salt if desired).

  4. Can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Good served hot or cold.

For the printable recipe PDF click here.


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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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