Creamy Cranberry Salad (With a Dairy Free Version)


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Growing up, along with Grandpa’s Green Beans, I loved my mom’s (or was it my Grandma’s?) sweet and creamy cranberry salad served every Thanksgiving. My cousin and I would scoop out large cupfuls of the leftovers for a snack the next day-so good.  In this cranberry salad, fresh cranberries are mixed with apples, pineapple and chopped nuts, and then sweetened and dolled up with whipped cream. In this version I used coconut cream for a dairy free version, but I also give an option for whipped cream too.

There are two types of cranberry salads. One is tarter and simple, usually used as a condiment to go with the turkey. Another is more like a dessert. This one is definitely more like a dessert-which is why I loved it even as a child. But grown ups like it too!

I do use a food processor for this recipe. I am not sure how it would work without it. You could try hand cutting the cranberries really small and hand shredded the apples. You will also need a fine sieve to drain the fruit in. Growing up my mom didn’t have a fine sieve, so we just used a regular colander, which worked fine, the only disadvantage being that you lose a bit of fruit through the larger holes.

Creamy Cranberry Salad

    1 pound of cranberries
    3-4 apples (Use your favorite. I like a tart apple here)
    1 32 ounce can of crushed pineapple( in pineapple juice)
    1 cup of almonds
    1 16 ounce can of full fat coconut milk, such as Thai Coconut Milk (or one cup of whipping cream).
    1/4-1/2 cup of coconut sugar, rapadura, sucanat, maple sugar.

1-Wash the cranberries and apples and place the can of coconut milk into the refrigerator. In a food processor, finely chop the cranberries. Remove the cranberries to a bowl and take out the blade and place the grater blade in. Seed and quarter the apples and shred. Mix the apples and cranberries together. Drain the pineapple well and add to the apples and cranberries.

2-Now pour all of the fruit into a large sieve or colander (see note above) over a bowl. We will need to drain some of the juice out of the fruit so that the salad isn’t too moist. To get it started grab large handfuls of the mixed fruit and squeeze over the sieve. Then take a bowl and gently press down on top of the fruit mixture in the sieve. This will help press out the juices. You can drain for an hour, or even put in the refrigerator and drain overnight.

3-Meanwhile. remove the grater from the food processor and put the chopping blade back in and process the nuts to a medium chop. Once the fruit is drained,  mix the fruit and the nuts together in a large bowl. Take out the can of coconut milk and open it without mixing it up. Scoop off all of the creamy part off of the top. Fold this into the fruit and nut mixture. Now all you have to do is sweeten to taste. Start with 1/4 of a cup (which was perfect for me, but my husband thought it a bit tart still) and work yourself up until you reach the sweetness you want. Chill and serve.

Whipped Cream Variation: Instead of using the cream from the coconut milk, use one cup of whipping cream. Whip it with a hand mixer until it is thick and forming peaks and then fold it into the fruit.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. says

    Thanks for the recipe! We have a family recipe that’s sort of similar (but has marshmallows in it as well as the dairy) to it. With several of our family members now CF it’s nice to have another option. I’m just sad WFN is out of their coconut cream as I really don’t care for the flavor of canned coconut milk.

    • KimiHarris says

      You can use WFN’s coconut milk powder. This is how I did it.

      First, make it the creamiest by using equal amounts of coconut milk powder and boiling water. Cool in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, soften 1/4-1/2 teaspoon gelatin in about a tablespoon or two of water. Add to the coconut milk and heat in a small pan until the gelatin is just dissolved. Cool until set in the refrigerator and then use in the recipe. It doesn’t work exactly the same, but it worked!

  2. Krissy says

    This sounds so good! I wanted to let you know that Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Coconut Milk is BPA Free. I use the Classic version and think it tastes great in all kinds of recipes. They switched to a non BPA can a while back, maybe even last year?

  3. Marlene says

    Looks delicious! I was planning on making my families non-dessert version: 1# cranberries, 1-2 oranges, 1-2 apples all run through a grater then sweetened to taste. But, no I’m questioning that!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    How delicious! It’s so exciting to see how many nourishing holiday food recipes are available. It’s so easy to turn to cheap, processed foods from the grocery store (and boy do they push those foods this time of year!), but this looks so enticing and healthy all at the same time. What a great dish to bring to a pot luck Thanksgiving – it would help introduce family members to how great nourishing foods can be!

  5. Shelley says

    Yum, this sounds fantastic! Will be trying this for Christmas, along with my cran/orange relish (1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries, 2 cups sugar or sugar substitute, and 3 navel oranges…add fruit to food processor and blitz until fairly fine…oh keep skin on oranges, once blitzed, add fruit to bowl, add sugar, stir well, and pop in fridge til ready to serve, give final mix and enjoy).

    But wanted to send a note for those with no strainer, simply use a clean dish towel, , it can be wrapped up tight and as you twist the towel tighter, the liquid will come out.


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