Cranberry Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

The day starts with me and Uncle Jebediah tapping the strongest maples and then skinning some possum hides.  The end result - delicious maple syrup and furry tea cozies.
The day starts with me and Cousin Jebediah tapping the strongest maples and then skinning some possum hides. The end result – delicious maple syrup and furry tea cozies.

I thought it would be a nice way to break things up here during the holiday break by sharing a recipe.  No, I don’t have the “ultimate” Brown Betty, nor do I possess a zesty, low-cal, Paleo and Atkins-blessed boneless, skinless chicken recipe (you’re on your own, hippie).  But I do have something that I zapped up on the fly a few years ago for a Thanksgiving dinner party, and it’s been requested over and over again.  It’s now part and parcel of the holidays that Uncle Paul’s Cranberry Maple Dressing hits the tables, hours before our collective bellies do.  It is quite simple to make. I mentioned it in my last post, and I had a few people ask about the recipe, so since I had to make another batch anyways, I decided to scrawl out some measurements.  I don’t normally write anything down, as I tend to eye things, but it’s not a bad idea to keep a few things jotted down to share.

What’s important with this vinaigrette is to make sure that the cranberry mixture is cooled before making the vinaigrette, or it may break (split).  Also make sure to add the oil slowly at first, and then in a steady stream after that.  Again, it’s to ensure an emulsified finish.  There is nothing wrong with a vinaigrette that is split, by the way!  Just make sure to shake it well to mix before serving or tossing with salad.

Me and the boys like to start at the crack of noon washing those dastardly berries.  Sometimes Mikey "The Belcher" likes to toss his raquetball seats in the water to add a je ne c'est pas tanginess to that day's batch.
Me and the boys like to start at the crack of noon washing those dastardly berries. Sometimes Mikey “The Belcher” likes to toss his raquetball sweats in the water to add a je ne c’est quoi tanginess to that day’s batch.

A few things to play with:

1) If you want, you can add walnut or hazelnut oil in small amounts to give it a nutty aroma and flavour (about 10% of the oil required in the recipe).  Keep any walnut or hazelnut oil in the fridge, as it can go rancid.

2) Use mixed berries, or peaches or any thick puree fruit in place of the cranberries. Frozen fruits are great for this kind of thing and require no peeling, chopping, etc.

3) You can reduce the amount of sugar in the cranberry mix to make it more tart / less sweet.  Use honey or agave instead sugar if you would like. This is a bit of a sweet-ish vinaigrette, so feel free to adjust.

4) This dressing holds up well to strong foods like cheese, nuts, meats (think shredded duck, chicken), etc. in salads.

5) Use cider vinegar if the idea of anything with the word “wine” causes alarm.  But know that there is no alcohol in white, red or rice wine vinegars.  Or minute, trace amounts at worst.

6) Feel free to add a bit more oil.  I like my vinaigrette in the French style, which is 2:1 oil to vinegar.  North Americans tend to like 3:1.  Use your palate on this one.

Oddly enough, these guys aren't crazy about this recipe.  Whatever.
Oddly enough, these guys aren’t crazy about this recipe. Whatever.

Cranberry Maple Vinaigrette

Makes approx. 1 litre


2 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar

1 orange, juice of

1 orange, zest of

1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (or use honey)

1 cup red wine vinegar

2 cups vegetable oil

salt and pepper, to taste


1. Place the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice in small saucepan.  Bring to boil on high heat and reduce to simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until the cranberries start to cook down.  Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.

2. Puree mixture with immersion blender until smooth.  You can leave it a little bit chunky if you want. Cool mix completely.

3. In stainless steel bowl, add 4 tbsp of the cranberry mixture (you will have leftover – throw the rest in a turkey sandwich or something, or mix it with cream cheese, etc.), the Dijon mustard, the maple syrup and the vinegar.  Whisk to combine.

4. In a slow, steady stream, add the oil while whisking.  Season with salt and pepper.

You can refrigerate for several weeks.

Enjoy and have a happy holiday season!



Put them in jars like these ones I found, put a ribbon on them, and they can be a tiny gift.
Have a safe and sober holidays.

28 Comments Add yours

  1. I can’t wait to try it, it sounds delicious. And I will be having a sober and, hopefully, safe Holiday! Love, Kary

    1. Great to hear, Kary May! I wish you the best and can’t wait to connect with and see you in the new year.


  2. This sounds delightfully delicious, Paul=) I won’t be hosting Christmas Eve nor Christmas Day; my mother has everything planned out…go figure! But I’m hosting New Year’s Eve so maybe I will take a stab at this. Mom’s doing incredibly well so we are letting her have the holiday reigns once again as we look forward to a tremendously more enjoyable experience than last year’s trauma.

    I wish you and your loved ones an endearing holiday, filled with laughter, warmth, love and joy. I’ve kind of disappeared off the radar for a bit and will continue to do so as I enjoy this season with my mother, family and friends. Will get up with your blog as soon as I make my joyous return to the wonderful world of blogging! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my beautiful friend!

    1. Thanks Gina. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see that your mother is doing so well and that you are spending so much time with her. What a blessing for both of you!

      No worries about being away – we all do it when life beckons us. Better that than being lashed to the keyboard. We all do what we need and are asked to. Sometimes I need to step back too (although I keep coming back – perhaps that is what I need to do). In other words – take your time. Enjoy your family and friends time. That’s a benefit of sobriety, isn’t it? 🙂

      Blessings to you and your family as well.

      Hugs to you and thanks for being a part of my recovery world 🙂


  3. glenn says:

    Hello Paul,

    I haven’t got much outside of thank you for the post. Yes I am going to give it a go as I appreciate my time in the kitchen especially with real maple syrup, please and thank you.

    Moreover I wanted to let you know how grateful I am to have stumbled across your writing and how good it is for me to read.

    Healthy and happy holidays to you and yours good Sir.


    1. Hi Glenn,

      Glad you’re here – that’s gift enough in my books. Your writings gives the wet sloppy stuff between my ears something to chew on, on a regular basis. I very much enjoy your enthusiastic and insightful way you approach your recovery and how you are questioning and also attacking things, in a positive way. Very coolio. Something that is attractive in a blog and a person in recovery!

      Happy holidays to you as well, Glenn – glad our paths have crossed.


  4. This seems like a good recipe, Paul. But it also seems hard to make. Anything that has more than two ingredients, i.e. can and can opener is better left for others to fuss with. This from a man who has spent the last two days surviving off toaster waffles and tap water. (I’ve been too sick to make it to the store, and Lori is in Europe.) Anyway, I’m moving on to your crappy present piece. Looks tasty. See you soon. Wuv, Me.

    1. That’s ok, MG. This is for the more delicate debutante type like me, with candy floss corsages and a twinkle in their ladle. I respect a man with a gut bucket, shrapnel-dented, made-out-of-human-bone and duct tape can opener and an army’s worth of rations ready to take on Uncle Ben, Betty Crocker and that charlatan Duncan Hines. I never liked that dude – teeth that perfect after all that frosting? What a sham. Probably botoxes his gum line too.

      Sorry to hear that you’ve been on death’s bed and eating what are normally used as beer coasters for brekkie, lunch and dinner. And with the Lady of the Manor away on some top secret mission, it makes it doubly hard to make it out. Glad the punk show wasn’t dated now – there would have been no trilogy to speak of, kind sir! Hey, speaking of – I just got a Kobo and wondering when I can purchase a book or yours. Too soon? Just saying. Lots of torque and power in that little book thingy, enough muscle to take on your word typing and shaping. Bring it on.

      Get well. Drink more of those fluids. Get a piece of fruit in there some how. Cut down on your jumping jacks and military drills. Watch a movie. Make it a double feature. Then nap. Sounds like a recipe I really would love to try.


  5. momma bee says:

    Paul this sounds delish….. I will def. try this recipe out. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    1. Thanks – enjoy! And have a wonderful holiday season as well – glad you’re here and look forward to connecting more in the new year!!


  6. mishedup says:

    Merry Christmas Paul!!!
    Thanks for the recipe….I’d post one but I can’t cook.
    Which is fine by me, lowers expectations!

    1. Merry Christmas, M!!!

      Your comment made me laugh – I love lowered expectations…ha ha. There are three types of folks out there, in my opinion – those who love and enjoy cooking, those who cook out of necessity and those who just enjoy reading food porn 🙂

      Blessings to you and your family!


  7. byebyebeer says:

    Delicious looking recipe and some great details and tips here. Didn’t know there was a way to avoid split vinaigrettes. Learning a lot from you, as usual. Happy holidays Paul!

    1. thanks, Kristen. It’s my whole other life spilling into this one here.

      Another fact: Dijon mustard and honey both act as emulsifiers, by factor of their density and thickness. That is why I include them in almost all my vinaigrette recipes. They help to suspend the vinegar in the oil. And yes, adding the oil to quickly, or adding it to warm liquids (like hot reductions) can split the vinaigrette lickety-split.

      I’ll let you know when the cookbook comes out…ha ha.

      Anyway, thank you so much for being here and a part of my (recovery) life. Love your blog and what you have to say on other people’s blogs. You rock.

      Blessings and cheer to you and your lovely family.

  8. Yum! I have all of the ingredients for this recipe, too! Thanks Paul. Merry Christmas to you. 🙂

    1. Ah Jeni – I hope this finds your way to your fridge or pantry soon. Or not. I have lots of recipes like this, and it’s all at the whim of the Culinary Gods as to what I make. Or in this case, my wife and kids. They will almost only have salad with this vinaigrette and not much else. I am going to have to attempt to change it up, or I will start to resent cranberries 🙂

      Glad you’re here and hope you have had a wonderful Christmas!


  9. bornsirius says:

    Oooh a shiny new recipe!!! I had no idea you had this side to you Paul. I like. I will have to try this. Also thoroughly enjoying the cooking tips… you’re quite the food nerd. And my reasons for adding honey to my vinagrettes are now confirmed.
    Other than all that nonsense… Happy Holidays and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! Thanks for being part of my sober community.

    1. Hey Laurie – well, this side of me is usually suppressed here. But I am a chef, so I hope that what I say makes some sense…lol. Glad you’re one of the honey in vinaigrette types. Now I definitely like you that much more 🙂

      Hope you have had a great Christmas, and thank YOU for being the fabulous you and writer and that whole package put together, my friend.

      Love and light,

  10. Awesome, Paul! I can’t wait to try it. I’m always looking for new ways to use cranberries (and to impress Chef Man). Merry Christmas!

    1. Yes! I hope that this impresses CM, but it’s pretty clear you don’t have to do much in that dept. He’s head over heels fer ya – damn that inner glowing spirit of yours. But a bit of culinary zowie doesn’t hurt. That candied ginger already wowed him.

      Congrats on your two years 🙂


  11. Merry Christmas Paul! So great of you to share the recipes here! This alone can be a great tool to help someone stay sober. I started cooking a lot in my first year, I found it very creative and comforting, thanks Paul,

    1. Merry Christmas Maggie!! I hope you had a great one. I like what you said about cooking being a productive use of time and energy. Absolutely. I think that is also why people take up jogging, or writing, or gardening, or any other activity / process that allows some creativity, energetic flow and a sense of accomplishment. Even though I cook for a living, it’s different when I am at home. So glad that you enjoy kitchen time! Anything in particular you enjoy doing / cooking?

      Thanks for being here and hope you are well 🙂


  12. I hope the vinaigrette was as delicious as it sounds, Paul, and I really appreciate your sharing it! I have been cooking and baking non-stop for the past 7 days straight, so today is a day for eating the leftovers, but next time I am motivated I am making this!

    1. Take a load off, Ms. Childs. Rest. Get the kids to do the dishes while you rest up those garlic and onion scented hands. Order in chinese. The kitchen will always be there. I usually get off when it comes to holidays. I am grateful that I am usually hosted and not hosting. Doesn’t mean I escape the kitchen. I am the only cook in the house, so that whole thing about my family not starving to death inspires me daily…ha ha.

      Seven days of cooking…oh my. I am sure your family / friends appreciated your culinary delights! You might have to be the one to share a recipe too. But no pressure. We can privately swap casserole dishes while it’s nice and cold out

      Anyway, I hope your Christmas was a great one, my friend!


  13. Making today for tomorrow nights dinner. Thanks. Happy New Year

    1. Let me know how it works out 🙂

      Happy New Year!


  14. Al K Hall says:

    Thank you for the gift, Paul! And i didn’t get you anything… Well, anything apart from the best wishes for a happy new year and i’m looking forward to spending it in your esteemed company!

  15. Sure wish I was a cook like some of you! Just not my thing. However, after reading about “the belcher” and his sweats, I might need to be a bit more fastidious about washing any cranberries in the future! Happy New Year to you.

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