Sweet n’ Spicy Paleo-Friendly Holiday Cranberry Relish

by Susie Acheson
Sweet n’ Spicy Paleo-Friendly Holiday Cranberry Relish

It goes without saying that the holidays can be a difficult time to eat clean. But wait! There’s hope! Many of our Thanksgiving faves can be altered to be not only healthier, but more delicious.

Every year I make a variation on a cranberry relish without refined sugar, and garners flavor from agave (or maple syrup), orange zest, and red chili flakes. It’s delicious with turkey, mashed taters and roasted veggies, delish on a leftover turkey sandwich or pot pie, and brilliant with cheese and crackers. Or, that perennial bae of fruit flavors, duck.

I’m not much for recipes — I use them more as guardrails than route, ie: they prevent me from using 10 cups of something vs 1, cooking at 400 degrees vs 150, etc. I never cook without them, but I seldom measure, and usually liberally add or take away. That said, for the sake of the greater good, I documented (as best I could) my holiday cranberry relish for sharing purposes. It’s a little sassy, very bright, and super easy to make.


  • 1 16 oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 shallot — Finely chopped
  • 2 tsps minced ginger (can sub paste from a tube — Trader Joe’s version is lovely and inexpensive)
  • 1 orange zest
  • Juice of 1/2 the orange
  • 2/3 c of pure agave syrup (back off a bit for more tart/less sweet)
  • 1/2 c cranberry juice
  • Dash of red pepper flakes (you can omit this if you don’t love spice. The cinnamon and shallots will give you plenty of flavor. I happen to love the kick)


How ‘bout this for easy? Simply place all the ingredients in a medium-sized pot.

  • Heat the mixture on medium to medium-high — this will depend on your stove. Allow to boil, then continue to cook until the cranberries finish popping — about 7 minutes.
  • With a potato masher, mash the mixture fairly well, and allow to reduce at a lower temp for around 3 minutes.
  • Let cool and serve. Keeps well in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving, all y’all. We at Territory are grateful to call you part of our food family.

PS — a set of gold-nosed hedgehog measuring cups is not required for this dish, but it doesn’t hurt. Neither does a ten pound sous chef.

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