This salad derived from my very first undertaking of "I'm cooking my own holiday meal." As with many of us, holiday meals are often at some else's house. Perhaps these affairs are conducted each year at the same house with the same traditional dishes crafted by the designated bringer of each side, main, dessert, or appetizer. But, they are often crafted around people and flavors that have been passed down through the generations often leaving the younger or newer generations out of the cooking mix.
So, long ago before kids, my husband and I decided we wanted to host a holiday meal for ourselves; our tastes, me cooking, and all the interesting twists we always wanted to incorporate. That said, there was one recipe we both agreed needed to be (in some way) a part of our meal - Cranberry Salad. My husband's request was from the can (sorry, but I have to say it - yuck). Mine was a raw version from my Dad's side of the family. I thought it would be easy enough to find raw cranberry salad recipes, but it most certainly was not. All were cooked and cooled versions on the internet.
So, as I've mentioned, since we were leaving our home for the holiday and it was "use it up" time for the fridge, I foraged for this recipe. Reducing food waste is always a Sustainability Spotlight (years before this blog and these vegan recipes), and so, I reviewed what I had available and thought, why not? All the fresh fruit we had in the fridge plus the orange and cranberries - Voila! A low sugar, sustainable vegan recipe well in advance of this more evolved person that I have become. I've learned to see that even then, this person, the person I am now, was waiting to emerge.
I want this Sustainability Spotlight to simply feature the understanding...No. More than that! The acknowledgement, that you (yes, you) by reading this blog, learning this recipe, or even thinking about how vegan diets can support sustainability are already "doing well." Yes, you are! You are at the beginning interlude, the first meal, the first dish, the first try away from being different; a more evolved you!
You being here simply means that you are open to the idea that you might live a different way. And that openness? Oh, it's worth more value than you think because many people are simply not open to new thoughts, new ways, new generations, or new ideas. Maybe your openness is just for one day / one recipe / one meal, but the fact that you can be open to new things is the entire foundation to a more sustainable self.
As always, a more sustainable self, if multiplied through us all individually, can lead to real change. Each and every "try" you have is one step closer to a goal. Maybe you don't even know what that ultimate goal will be for your life. I still don't; all I know is that I'm one more year, one more evolution, one more step towards sustainability each and every day. And, that friends, means (quite literally), the world.
Since that first holiday raw cran-berry salad concoction, I have made and remade this dish over and over through the years. It became a part of my foundation to sustainability. Now, the recipe is ours, it belongs to us as a family, and it will be something that maybe my kids will be bringing to their holiday dinners when they get older. And when they do, I hope they remember that it became a part of our tradition and holiday dinners all because of the idea in me; I wanted to live more sustainably.
(1) 12-oz bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (Note: you can use canned (in juices only; no syrup) but it doesn't taste as good as fresh)
2 pints fresh blackberries
1 pint raspberries
1/4 cup sugar - start here, you can always stir in more if you find you wish to; this recipe is low on added sugar for a reason; all that bounty of inherent sugars in the fruits (yes, even cranberries).
1 medium orange (zested & juiced)
In a large food processor bowl fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the fresh cranberries until finely chopped. Put all cranberries in a large bowl (with fitted lid). Be sure this is NOT a reactive metal bowl or you might have 'metallic' tasting cranberry salad).
Next, repeat the chopping process for the pineapple and blackberries respectively. Be sure not to puree. Add each to the large bowl after chopping.
Now, add raspberries and puree with the sugar in the food processor - it will become slightly "syrupy" in the bowl (this is correct!)
Pour your raspberry "sauce" into the bowl and add your orange zest and orange juice.
Mix fruit well, cover bowl with your tightly fitted lid and allow to chill in the fridge at least 1 hour (4 hours seems to be the "sweet" spot).
Once ready to serve, stir again to reincorporate all flavors then doll out into small ramekins or dessert bowls.
This salad can be stirred into oatmeal, added to smoothies, spooned over yogurt with some granola, or enjoyed "as is" for up to 3 or 4 days.
With love & hope for a better future for all us - Jamie