If you're thinking about doing your Thanksgiving spread a little differently this year, you're not alone. This bright and tangy alternative to the super sweet cranberry sauce of my youth is the perfect foil for a non-traditional turkey dinner. This Orange Cranberry Jalapeño Relish also makes a great appetizer when paired with crackers and cream cheese.
Fresh cranberries, orange supremes, pungent red onions, bright mint and spicy jalapeño come together for a fresh twist on cranberry sauce that is out of this world. This slightly spicy cranberry relish recipe is a far cry from the canned stuff you're used to and goes beautifully with my internationally inspired Thanksgiving menu.
Table of Contents
- How to Make Cranberry Jalapeño Relish
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Need more holiday recipe inspiration? Check out these other yummy ideas:
2020 has been anything but predictable. For the holiday season this year, I figured I should follow suit. While some of the elements of my holiday spread are similar to days of yore - turkey, cranberries and sweet potatoes are all making an appearance - the overall flavor profile is decidedly not.
This year, we're going bold and spicy for our two-person Thanksgiving dinner. North African harissa paste, Indian tandoori spices and Levantine tahini are all making their debut on our holiday menu in 2020.
Cranberry sauce and Thanksgiving are inextricably tied in my mind. I literally eat it just once a year with my turkey dinner. In an effort to concoct a cranberry sauce that would fit in with my non-traditional menu, I opted to go more "relish" than "jam." There is far less sugar in this riff, and you don't have to do a lick of cooking.
The result is bright, tart, spicy and barely sweet. And it is absolutely divine. If you're looking for a simple way to change your menu, look no further than this Orange Cranberry Jalapeño Relish.
How to Make Cranberry Jalapeño Relish
I love this spicy cranberry relish recipe because it requires exactly zero cooking. It comes together in just a few minutes and gets better as it rests and the flavors meld.
First up, prepare your orange. You'll want to remove the zest first, then use a sharp knife to peel the orange. Using the same sharp knife, cut the oranges into supremes. Each supreme should then be cut into 3-4 pieces. Use your hands to squeeze the last bit of juice from the body of the orange.
Next, mince your jalapeño and red onion quite fine. Roughly chop your mint leaves, leaving behind all woody stems.
TIP: If you aren't a big fan of spicy foods, remove the seeds and white membrane from the jalapeño prior to mincing. Most of the capsaicin lives in the seeds and membranes!
Finally, prepare your cranberries. Bust out your food processor and pulse rinsed cranberries until roughly chopped. Top with sugar and process 1-2 more times to combine.
Stir all ingredients together and allow to macerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make cranberry relish ahead of time?
You sure can! This cranberry jalapeño relish tastes best when it has had a bit of time to marinate. You can make it up to a day ahead. If you want to make it even further in advance, you can make the mix and omit the mint. This unfinished relish should last for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Mix in the mint an hour or so before serving to keep the color vibrant.
What if I want to add a little heat to the cranberry sauce?
You're speaking our language! For the bold among you, feel free to add more finely diced jalapeño to the mix. Remember that most of the capsaicin lives in the seeds and membranes of the peppers, so remove them if you're not looking for too much heat.
What if I can't find fresh cranberries?
Fresh cranberries are definitely the best option for this relish, however, who knows what kind of supply chain issues grocery stores are going to face this year. If you can't find fresh, the next best option is frozen. Alternatively, you could also opt to use pomegranate arils instead, though the consistency and flavor will be a bit different.
What kind of orange should I get?
In my opinion, a simple naval orange will do the trick. If you're feeling fancy or really want to embrace the color red, opt for a blood orange instead.
Need more holiday recipe inspiration? Check out these other yummy ideas:
- Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
- Homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattés
- Maple Harissa Sweet Potato Tian
- Winter Salad with Massaged Kale, Crispy Chickpeas and Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing
Did you try this Orange Cranberry Jalapeño Relish recipe? Comment below to let me know how it turned out for you!
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Orange Cranberry Jalapeño Relish
- 1 bag Fresh Cranberries
- 1 Orange zested and cut into supremes, then chopped
- ⅓ C Sugar
- ½ medium Red Onion minced
- 1-2 Jalapeños minced
- ¼ C Fresh Mint roughly chopped
- Prepare all ingredients by washing and cutting per instructions above.
- Add cranberries to bowl of food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Pulse a few times until the cranberries are roughly chopped.
- Add sugar to cranberries and pulse 1-2 more times.
- Stir sugared cranberries with remaining ingredients. Allow to macerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with entrée of choice. Enjoy!
- If you want to make the relish more than a day ahead of time, add all ingredients except mint. It should keep in the fridge for up to a week. Add mint prior to serving for optimal color.
- For a lower glycemic impact, feel free to substitute agave for the sugar.
- Add more jalapeños for more heat. Remove jalapeño seeds and membranes for less heat.