Before I really started expanding ideas in the kitchen and trying new recipes and foods, cranberries and pomegranates seemed similar to me. This was because they are both very tart and not as simple to prepare as most fruit. I remember the first time I bought a pomegranate. I cut it open, looked at it and squeezed it, and threw it right in the trash can, wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with it and why people loved it so much. I just never knew where to begin with cranberries, and I wasn't aware that they needed to be cooked in order to turn into the gooey goodness that they are. Now that I know how to properly prepare these fruits, I look forward to them coming around each fall and get bummed out when I no longer see them in the produce section at the end of winter.
Once you learn how to make homemade cranberry sauce, you will be able to make different variations of it, adding different fruits (oranges, plums, blueberries) and spices (ginger, rosemary, sage) to your liking. The cranberry sauce smells so good while it is cooking on the stove. One delicious way to serve some of the leftover sauce is to mix equal parts with some vegan yogurt to make a dip. You can use this as a fruit dip, spread it on toast, etc.
Whenever I cook pasta, rice, or quinoa, I always end up making a huge pot with way more food than I can eat; then, I package it and eat it throughout the next couple of days. I had some leftover quinoa that needed to be used, so I turned it into gluten-free patties. The cranberry-pomegranate sauce on top was the perfect amount of added sweetness to offset the savory flavors of the patty. I served this over a bed of massaged kale, but you could serve yours on a bun or however you like.
Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes: Cranberry Pomegranate Quinoa Kale Patties
1. Making the cranberry sauce requires little to no effort. You literally just pour all of the ingredients into a giant stock pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until it thickens, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes.
2. For the quinoa kale patties, start by preparing your quinoa. To do so, add the quinoa and vegetable broth to a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. While this is preparing, steam your sweet potato in some water so you can mash it.
3. In a little olive oil, cook the onion and garlic over low heat until caramelized.
4. Add the cooked quinoa, mashed sweet potato, onions, and garlic to a bowl and stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients (kale + spices) and mix well.
5. Being careful not to burn yourself on the hot potato or quinoa, use your hands to form patties. Fry these patties in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
6. Massage your kale with the salt and garlic powder. Add the quinoa kale patty and cranberry pomegranate sauce. Top with fresh sage leaves.
*I used the juice and seeds from 1 pomegranate, and this equaled about 1/2 cup. Ultimately, with the addition of orange juice, you will want 1 1/4 cup total of liquid/seed mixture. If you're using pom juice instead of fresh fruit, skipping the addition of the seeds is fine.