Cranberry Apple Holiday Salad

We all like a little cranberry for the holidays, right? It just seems to “fit” with a Christmas meal. Your family may eat cranberry sauce from a can, homemade cranberry sauce, or a cranberry salad with whipped cream and marshmallows. Well, here is a healthy version of all of those.

It’s called Cranberry Apple Holiday Salad. This cold cranberry salad is a slightly tangy, yet sweet and fruity side dish which also happens to represent the colors of the holidays, while promoting colon health.

The cranberries, apples, pecans and dates in this dish give you three essential nutrients for your colon-- fiber, magnesium and selenium. Having an adequate amount of fiber in your diet helps your colon move waste and toxins out of your body. One cup of cranberries and one medium apple each contain about 4.5 grams of dietary fiber. Research shows the mineral magnesium can lower your risk of colon cancer by 41 percent. Cranberries and apples have a little bit of magnesium per serving (6 mg in one cup of cranberries and 9 mg in one apple). However, one ounce of pecans has more than three times those amounts, and one cup of dates has double the magnesium of pecans! Studies have shown that a higher level of selenium is associated with a lower risk for colon cancer. Many fruits have a small amount of selenium, but dates have a significant amount of this mineral and the pecans give you a little extra.

Ingredients (5-6 servings):

  • 12 oz bag (3 cups) fresh cranberries
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 2 green apples
  • ⅓ cup pecan pieces
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp brown sugar

Directions:

  • Empty a 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries into a pan. Add honey, cane sugar and water and heat on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Increase to medium heat, still stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. About half of cranberries will pop and juice in the pan will turn red. Empty cranberry mixture into a bowl and set in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to cool.
  • In the meantime, add 10 dates to a bowl of water and let them soak for a few minutes.
  • Dice green apples and place apple pieces into large serving bowl along with pecan pieces. (You can always chop up the pecans further if you want smaller pieces.)
  • Remove dates from water and dice. Mix with pecans and apples. Set aside.
  • Pour heavy whipping cream into a separate mixing bowl. Using electric mixer, blend for a few minutes until it has consistency of whipped cream. Mix brown sugar and orange zest into whipped cream. Set aside.
  • Take cranberries out of the fridge and spread on top of apple mixture.
  • Pour orange juice across the dish.
  • Spread whipped cream across the top, and garnish with pecan pieces. (Note: You can mix whipped cream into other ingredients if you prefer, but the salad looks prettiest if kept in layers.)
  • Chill for at least an hour before serving, but salad tastes best if made the night before and refrigerated overnight to allow the juices to blend & settle.