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Spicing Up the Holidays with Cranberry-Jalapeño Spread

This festive, tangy appetizer will appeal to all tastebuds

All Animals magazine, November/December 2010

  • Michelle Riley/The HSUS

You know the drill: Susie brings her own vegetarian entrée to Thanksgiving. Jim won’t eat anything without meat. Karen insists on making duplicate dishes to satisfy both—one with chicken stock, another with vegetable stock; one with turkey, another with seitan.

Maintaining this splintered family affair is a lot of work. Instead of toiling away on separate menus, why not cook up something appealing to tastebuds of many stripes?

This festive, tangy appetizer will kick things off with a bang. Vegan cream cheese mellows the spice and is so tasty that dairy devotees won’t know the difference.

HSUS staff of all culinary persuasions became enamored with the recipe after California state director Jennifer Fearing customized a friend’s version. Like many modern-day holiday recipes, it's a tradition now handed down through the Internet: A Google search attributes the original version to Oregon librarian Carol Reich, who won a contest with it in 2001. Reich, in turn, had gotten the recipe from a library volunteer. She’s amazed by its staying power, she says: “Thanks for continuing the trend.”


Cranberry-Jalapeño Spread—Serves 6 to 8 

1 bag fresh cranberries (remove the soft ones; wash and coarsely chop remainder in food processor)
4 green onions, chopped (about ½ cup)
2 small jalapeño peppers (or 1 large), seeded and chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 ounces of vegan cream cheese (e.g., Tofutti)

1. Mix the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for at least four hours to allow flavors to mellow.

2. Scoop vegan cream cheese onto a serving plate, and pour cranberry mixture on top. Serve with vegan crackers.

» Try these holiday favorites from HSUS staff members

» Savor the recipes of Tempe’s Green restaurant owner Damon Brasch

» Read highlights from the current issue of All Animals

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