Meep’s Healthy Cranberry Sauce with Maple Syrup & Chia Seeds

Written by:

Maia James

11/16/2018

Updated: 09/29/2023

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Growing up, my mom did most of the cooking in our exceedingly health-conscious kitchen.

At Thanksgiving, she delegated a share of the labor–grate this daikon radish, rinse these aduki beans, scrub this large hubbard squash that will serve as our turkey, roll out this cardboard-like pie crust made of sprouted spelt and ghee–but most of the recipes were her own.

One exception, and one of my favorite parts of the meal, was my dad’s cranberry sauce, which he has perfected over the years and now is a standout dish that my own children, the first of whom dubbed my father “Meep,” request often.

cranberry_sauce

My parents do now eat meat, and my mom (Nana) still delegates certain tasks to Meep–brine this pastured organic Amish turkey that I’m too grossed out to touch after all those vegetarian years–during the hectic preparations of the annual Thanksgiving meal we enjoy together.

Here’s how you can easily enjoy Meep’s cranberry sauce with a few fun variation ideas.

Healthy Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh organic cranberries
  • 1 quart organic apple cider
  • Optional: Real Vermont maple syrup, chia seeds, oranges, and more (as you’ll see below)

Healthy Cranberry Sauce Directions

  • Rinse the cranberries and put them into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
  • Add enough apple cider to almost cover the cranberries (cranberries float so this is something of an estimate).
  • Cover and bring to a low boil/simmer. Shortly after they boil, the cranberries will start to split and pop. This is good!
  • Continue to simmer until the cranberries are mushy and the cider has reduced and thickened. This can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how much cider you used.
  • Cover and remove from heat if you want an unsweetened version, which is how Meep prefers his, in fact. Or stir in maple syrup, to taste.


There are all sorts of herbs/spices/fruits that can be added to jazz this up, including:

  • Ginger
  • Organic lemon or orange (juice and/or rind and/or zest)
  • Nutmeg
  • Cayenne (Careful…Don’t over-do it!)
  • Cinnamon

This basic recipe provides a pretty thick sauce when cooked down enough, but some folks like their cranberry sauce to really stand at attention on the plate. If that’s your thing, try adding a tablespoon or two of chia seeds.

Stay sane,

Maia, Founder & CEO

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Leave a Reply

  1. Janelle Avatar
    Janelle

    For a thicker sauce should the chia seeds be added as the cranberries are simmering or after the sauce is complete to let sit as the chias absorb the completed sauce? Thanks!

  2. Sonia Avatar
    Sonia

    Done and done! Totally trying this recipe out this year for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing 🙂