Cranberry Pineapple Salsa

Thanksgiving is coming up, and for the past couple years, I’ve been invited to a Thanksgiving potluck the Sunday before the real Turkey Day. My friends Steve and Denise throw it, and it’s a good time. This year, I brought the cranberries, and I wanted to do something a little different. So I made…



I think that cranberry sauce can easily be way too sweet. And that’s not surprising, since a lot of the recipes I saw online included lots of good ol’ refined white sugar (sometimes 1 cup or more, in a recipe that only yielded 3 or 4 cups of finished sauce).

I also saw cranberry salsa recipes that didn’t involve cooking the cranberries at all, which seemed odd to me – at least for a Thanksgiving preparation. So I combined ideas from a few places, added my own spin on things, and came up with my own recipe for Cranberry Pineapple Salsa. There’s no refined white sugar at all (although still sugar from honey and pineapple, more on this later), and I added savory salsa flavors and a touch of heat, to make it a more complex, robust flavor.

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This yields a lot of cranberry sauce – about 6-7 cups – but this recipe is easy to cut in half. Oh, and make it ahead of time – the day before, if you can, so it has plenty of time to chill out in the fridge!

It starts with a saucepan, over medium heat. Add 3 cups pineapple juice, 1/3 cup honey, and the zest and juice from 3 limes, and bring to a boil.


Once it’s boiling, add two 12-ounce bags of fresh cranberries, and 1/2 pound of fresh pineapple, chopped into small cubes. (You can use canned or frozen pineapple, who cares?)


Let it simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want most of the cranberries to burst.

While it’s simmering away, chop the rest of your ingredients. You want everything in super small pieces.

  • 2 bunches green onions (only use the white and light green parts)
  • 2 jalapenos (cut them in half first, and remove the seeds and ribs – you can easily scrape them out with a spoon)
  • 1 bunch cilantro


When the cranberries have mostly burst, and the sauce is starting to thicken up, remove it from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. (Since mine was going to a potluck, it went into a transportable container.) Add the chopped cilantro, green onions, and jalapeno, and stir it up.


Voila, you’re done!


I pulled out a baby carrot for taste-testing purposes:


It definitely has a familiar taste – tart and sweet – but with a few kicks. There’s an acidic kick, from the pineapple and lime, and a little bit of heat at the end from the jalapeno. There’s a little bit more texture, too, thanks to the green ingredients. It’s fantastic! And it was a huge hit at the potluck.

Quick sidebar about sugar: I did the math, because I was curious about if using honey and juice would actually cut the sugar content or not. The Food Network’s recipe for “Perfect Cranberry Sauce,” calls for 1 cup of sugar per 12-ounce bag of cranberries. So for this recipe, I’d be using 2 cups of sugar, which is 400 total grams of sugar. In my recipe, the three cups of pineapple juice has 84 grams. 1/3 cup of honey has 85 grams. That means my recipe has 169 total grams of sugar – more than 50% less! SCORE!

Keep it up, David!

PS – LOTS more recipes on my RECIPES PAGE!


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