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Cranberry sauce has been a staple of the Thanksgiving feast for generations … and for good reason. Its sweet and tart flavors balance out a heavy holiday meal. Plus, the tradition dates back to at LEAST the 1600s.1 And who am I to mess with tradition? (Stay tuned for my cranberry sauce recipe below.)

Now, I love cranberries for another reason too – they’re loaded with polyphenols.2

And polyphenols play a HUGE role when it comes to your health. They can:

  • Help protect your body against certain diseases.
  • Minimizes potential for free radical damage.
  • Improve brain health.
  • Protect and balance your gut.3,4,5

However, when it comes to the traditional cranberry sauce recipe, there’s a problem:

It’s LOADED with sugar.

In fact, a quarter-cup serving of canned cranberry sauce has a whopping 22 grams of sugar.6

That’s about as much sugar as a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in just a tiny bit of a condiment.7 Insane.

So what should you do? Skip the canned stuff – and even the sugar-loaded homemade version. Make my healthy cranberry sauce recipe instead.

It’s loaded with polyphenols from both the cranberries and pomegranates. And of course, adds that refreshing tang to your meal – WITHOUT all the added sugar.

Polyphenol-Packed Cranberry Sauce Recipe


Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  • 3 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses*
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2-3 medium purple carrots (use orange ones if you can’t find purple)
  • 2 small beets, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup raw cranberries
  • 1/2 medium head red cabbage, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils (approximately 1 whole pomegranate worth.)
  • ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Stevia, to taste**


  1. dr-gundry-cranberry-sauce-recipeFirst, make the dressing: In a large bowl whisk together the pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper until well combined.
  2. Grate the beets, carrots, cabbage in a food processor using the shredding blade, or with a box grater.
  3. Grate the cranberries in the food processor, or finely dice by hand.
  4. Add the shredded vegetables and cranberries to a large bowl with the dressing and toss well to coat. Let the salad stand for at least 15-20 minutes before serving or make ahead and store covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
  5. Right before serving, toss gently to combine, then top with pomegranate seeds and chopped walnuts.
  6. Taste, and add a few drops of stevia, if it’s too sour for you.

*Pomegranate Molasses is a sweet-tart syrup made from reduced pomegranate juice. It’s available in most middle eastern stores, well-stocked grocery stores, and online HERE, but if you can’t find it, simply reduce pomegranate juice over low heat until thick and syrupy, and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

** I honestly like this recipe just the way it is – it’s meant to be a tangier, more savory take on cranberry sauce. But if it’s TOO tangy for you, feel free to add a few drops of liquid stevia. Just remember – a little goes a long way!

Looking out for you,

Steven Gundry, MD



Want help stocking your pantry with Gundry-approved foods? Visit the online grocery shop for Dr. G’s personally curated products for the lectin-free lifestyle. Click the image to shop now:

Want more healthy holiday tips and recipes? Check these out:

Turkey Alternative: Pork Loin & Sorghum Stuffing Recipe
The BEST (and worst) Thanksgiving Foods to Eat

1 Partakers of Our Plenty | Plimoth Plantation. Plimothorg. 2016. Accessed November 16, 2016.
2 Aubrey A. Bow Down To The Medicinal Power Of Cranberries. NPRorg. 2010. Accessed November 16, 2016.
3 Vauzour D, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Corona G, Oruna-Concha M, Spencer J. Polyphenols and Human Health: Prevention of Disease and Mechanisms of Action. Nutrients. 2010;2(11):1106-1131. doi:10.3390/nu2111106.
4 Cardona F, Andrés-Lacueva C, Tulipani S, Tinahones F, Queipo-Ortuño M. Benefits of polyphenols on gut microbiota and implications in human health. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2013;24(8):1415-1422. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.05.001.
5 Scalbert A, Johnson I, Saltmarsh M. Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond. Ajcnnutritionorg. 2005.  Accessed November 16, 2016.