Ruby Red Cherry-Cranberry Salsa

Who says salsa has to be all about the tomatoes? Not in my world! I adore tomato-based salsas, especially those made with a rainbow assortment of heirloom tomatoes fresh off the vine. Roasted salsas also offer a unique and complex flavor profile. You can NEVER have too many varieties of salsa! My curiosity and creativity got me thinking beyond these more traditional versions.

I wanted something a bit different that still tasted like salsa, and not a chutney, salad, relish or slaw. Then I remembered the cranberries still hangin' on in the crisper drawer...

Is cranberry salsa even a thing?? Yes... it is! If you Google it, you will see an impressive assortment of options - most containing the same few ingredients, a LOT of added sugar, and served over a block of cream cheese. This is not what I was envisioning. I wanted to create a salsa that would highlight bold flavors, bright colors, heady aromas and crisp textures. I also wanted it to taste DELICIOUS without ANY added sugar. I found the WINNING combination!

Here's what I LOVE about this salsa:

~ strikingly vibrant

~ plenty of traditional flavors

~ just a hint of sweetness

~ a bit crunchy

~ NO added sugar

~ impressive nutrient profile

~ loaded with antioxidants

~ stays fresh for several days longer than traditional salsa fresca

~ both cherries and cranberries benefit heart health

I think you will LOVE this one too! Let's get started...

Total Time: 15-20 minutes Prep Time: 15-20 minutes Cook/Bake Time: None

(Camera shy: red bell peppers) PRINT HERE

For about 5 cups, you will need:

1 bag (12 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries

3 large jalapeno peppers

1 large yellow bell pepper

1 large orange bell pepper

2 large red bell peppers

1 large purple onion

1 small bunch scallions (green stems only)

1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (1/2 cup)

2 limes, zest and juice

3 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated

1/2 cup dried cherries (preferably unsweetened), finely diced

1/2 tsp smoked salt

The Process:

1. You can either used the chopping blade of your food processor, or you can work on your knife skills. I did not have my food processor with me when I made this, so I got to hone my knife skills. I prefer the beautiful cuts a knife can achieve, but if you use a food processor, just pulse until roughly chopped. You don't want mush.

2. Pick through your cranberries, removing any rotten or over-ripe ones. If you're using frozen cranberries, chop these first. Then put them in a ziplock bag and return them to the freezer. If using fresh, pick them over, wash and dry. Give them a rough chop and put them in a large mixing bowl.

3. Wash and dry the rest of the veg and cut into a small dice (if using a knife) or a rough chop if using a food processor.

4. You can either de-seed and devein the jalapenos or leave them in if you'd like a little more heat. I like a bit of heat, so I left them in. You may wish to wear gloves while handling the hot peppers to protect your skin. Not sure how to de-seed and devein a jalapeno? Watch this short video by Chop Happy and you'll have it down in no time!

5. Combine all the chopped veg with the fresh cranberries in the large mixing bowl. Add the chopped cilantro, grated ginger, diced dried cherries, lime zest and juice and smoked salt. Stir to combine. If using frozen cranberries, add them now. Allow all the flavors to combine for about half an hour before serving.

I used about 7 oz of fresh cranberries (the amount of perfect cranberries I had left after picking out the not-so-perfect ones) and made up the difference with frozen cranberries. What I loved about using the dried cherries, (as opposed to fresh or frozen) is that they absorbed the juices from the defrosting cranberries and plumped right up! However, you could use fresh or frozen cherries as well, just double the amount and be prepared from some extra juice in your bowl.

I think this is the most GORGEOUS salsa I've ever made! Try serving it with my perfectly crunchy oil-free Baked Tortilla Chips... YUM!

I've used it over stuffed sweet potatoes too... DELICIOUS!

I've also combined it with my Mediterranean White Bean Dip ~ Oil-Free and my Crispy Potatoes to make this BEAUTIFUL appetizer!

This appetizer can also be made using sweet potatoes instead of Yukon Gold or Russets.

Nutrition information is for 1/2 cup using dried cherries.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear how you and your family, friends or guests liked it! Snap a photo and tag me too, #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!

DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.

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