Friday, November 18, 2011

Cranberry-Pear Sauce (refined sugar-free)

This year's cranberry sauce recipe uses ripe pears to sweeten up the tart and tangy cranberries. I've added a smidgen of coconut sugar to help balance the flavors but I imagine that stevia could be used instead. Coconut sugar is a low glycemic sweetener but stevia is a "no-glycemic" sweetener meaning it doesn't raise blood sugar at all. This recipe can be made days ahead of the big day and served cold or warm.

If you are gluten intolerant be sure that the coconut sugar you are using is gluten-free. Anything that is dry or granulated like sugar, flours, cornmeal, polenta, etc. can be processed in a facility where wheat or gluten products are processed. I use coconut sugar from Big Tree Farms, which is sold under the brands, Sweet Tree and Essential Living Foods. Our wonderful local food co-op also stocks coconut sugar in the bulk section but it is NOT gluten-free. It comes from Glory Bee Foods. I called them and none of their products are anywhere near gluten-free, so beware. Our other health food store in town, Terra Organica, sells coconut sugar in bulk and it comes from Essential Living Foods so it is okay. My friend Melissa from Gluten-Free For Good made a comment in the post we recently did on gluten cross-contamination pointing out that some coconut sugar brands are contaminated with gluten. Other than the one I mentioned above, I have not seen any sold around here. If you know of one, please leave a comment to help each other out.

Cranberry-Pear Sauce

This flavorful cranberry sauce can be served over turkey, roasted salmon, and even on top of oatmeal for breakfast! I always use 1/4 cup of coconut sugar which is just enough to sweeten it and still keep it tart. You could add more if you like.

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 10 ounces)
2 small ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice or apple cider
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Place all ingredients into a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. After about 7 minutes of cooking, use a large spoon to begin mashing the pears and cranberries. Continue to do this until it has become sauce-like and has thickened. It will thicken more once it cools. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Heat on low to warm it up or serve it cold. Source:

More Holiday Recipes:
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Orange Pepper Salmon

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. I have been looking for a sugar free cranberry sauce this season!!! Pears are my fav winter fruit.....This really fits the bill--I use coco sugar sometimes, I would sub it out for stevia in this recipe....THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

  2. Looks delicious! And thanks for the info on the gluten contamination in some coconut sugars. I had no idea! Off to check my coconut sugar RIGHT NOW.

  3. Ali,

    Great looking cranberry sauce. And adding pears is a perfect way to sweeten it up! I hope I didn't deter anyone from using coconut sugar because it's awesome stuff, it's just that my natural food store has a notification on the label saying it is processed on equipment that also processes wheat. I'm super sensitive so I'm very careful about contamination.

    Thanks for another good post, Ali.
    Happy Thanksgiving to a beautiful family!

  4. This looks really good -- and it has no sugar, yeah! Thanks for sharing this in time for Thanksgiving.

  5. This looks yummy! I use coconut sugar called Coconut Secret distributed by Leslie's Organics. This is the only brand they carry at our co-op. It says gluten-free right on the front of the container. It also says "100% pure coconut tree sap, unbleached, unrefined, gmo-free, vegan, grown without chemicals, pesticides or herbicides." I have been very happy with it!

  6. I can't wait to make this! thank you :)

  7. Beautiful recipe, Ali! :-) Love the addition of pear and coconut sugar. Just pinned and shared all over. ;-) I have never bought coconut or palm sugar in bulk, but will be careful when using other bagged brands. Thanks.


  8. If you are substituting Stevia for the coconut sugar is it the same amount?

  9. I am making this RIGHT NOW! We will also be enjoying it tomorrow morning on some french toast made with my favorite GF bread from your cook book. Thanks so much :)

  10. This looks great Ali! I'm going to link up to it on the T-Day Round-up on Go Dairy Free.

  11. Thanks everyone! I have not tried this recipe using stevia, just added that as a thought that it could work...let me know how it turns out if you try it. To make this SCD friendly you could sub in 1/4 cup of honey for the coconut sugar. Enjoy! :)

  12. Thank you for this recipe. It was DELICIOUS. Pairing the sweet pears with cranberries is pure genius!

  13. I just made this, my first ever cranberry easy & super yummy! I only had one pear so I added an apple, powdered ginger (instead of allspice) and pomegranate paste. I love that your recipes are so adaptable.

    Thank you so much! Have a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving.

  14. This turned out great! I added about 1/4 C honey towards the end to make just a little sweeter but that may have only been needed because I didn't have quite enough oranges and used a Meyers lemon along with the oranges. Great recipe!

  15. How many servings does this make? (Trying to figure out nutritional counts.)


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)