Monday, September 27, 2010

Sugar-Free Cranberry-Grapefruit Sauce with Mint

Ever had an unsweetened cranberry? It's pretty gross; you might as well be eating citrus peel. However, when you add enough sweetener, the result is a delicious sweet-and-sour flavor. In general, I prefer cranberries in sweets rather than savory dishes, because these bitter berries need SO much sugar that by the time you've added enough for a balanced taste, you're left with a dessert. For Thanksgiving, though, I find that people are loathe to stray from tradition, so a side dish it is. On the plus side, cranberries are very nutritious, with only 4 grams of sugar per cup (and 5 grams of fiber!). When eating low-carb/low-glycemic, while fruit is mostly eschewed, berries and grapefruit are acceptable in moderation (primal/paleo eaters may consume a bit more variety). I love the combination of citrus and cranberries, but I went with white grapefruit instead of the more ubiquitous (and more sugary) cranberry-orange. A final sprinkle of fresh mint added a refreshing accent to the tart fruits.

I used Splenda in place of sugar. Many people prefer to use a small amount of natural sweetener (such as fruit juice or raw honey) instead of cooking with lots of artificial sweeteners. However, as I said above, cranberries require SO much sugar that you simply cannot get away with just a tablespoon of maple syrup or something. If you do not want to use Splenda and you do not want to use tons of sugar, I would suggest an alternate side dish; this beet and pomegranate salad is tonally similar and would probably work well.

Sugar forms a thick syrup which Splenda does not; so, I used a little bit of xanthan gum to thicken the juices. Xanthan gum is a vegetable starch which contains 0 net carbs and is available at most health food stores. Cranberries are very high in pectin, so you can probably get away with not using it, though it will be a bit runny.

Serves 6-8


  • 1 8-oz bag cranberries (I used frozen raw berries, since that's all the supermarket had)
  • 3/4 cup granular Splenda
  • 1 white grapefruit, preferably unwaxed organic
  • 1 Tbs mint, shredded (2 Tbs if you really like mint)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (optional, but recommended)
  1. Remove the outer peel from the grapefruit. I used a zester but if you don't have one you could remove strips with a vegetable peeler and then slice them thinly. Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add the Splenda and grapefruit peel. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. While peel is simmering, supreme the grapefruit and chop up the segments, making sure to reserve all of the juice. Or if you're lazy, just juice the grapefruit.
  3. Add the grapefruit flesh and juice to the simmering water, as well as the bag of cranberries. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  4. If using xanthan gum, sprinkle it evenly over the cranberry sauce (do not just dump it in or it will clump). Mix to combine.
  5. Transfer to a bowl, stir in mint, then chill until cold, preferably overnight.


Anonymous said...

Hi, what a great looking recipe. We saw that you tried Splenda. Have you tried the sugar substitute Ideal No Calorie Sweetener when cooking or baking yet? You can buy it in bags or in boxes of little packets. Visit for $1 off! Have a great day!

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