This weekend, Cookie and I hitched a ride down to Tulsa for Friendsgiving. Four hours later, we stretched our limbs outside the car as our dear old friends came outside to greet us. Hugs all around. The rest of the day was one long, happy blur full of good food and good company.
As always, Michael cooked the turkey. Emily made a giant green salad. Jordan’s pecan pie survived a trunk mishap. I brought the cranberry cornbread and eagerly stole little bits of crispy onions off the green bean casserole as I stood in line (sorry, Jes).
Nate brought homemade cranberry sauce, which was leaps and bounds better than the gelatinous, ridged glob of canned cranberry sauce that I remembered from college Friendsgivings. Those were the days when Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys littered the table. This year, I still didn’t eat the turkey, but I went back for seconds of the cranberry sauce. Bright and bursting with sweet-tart cranberry flavor, it made a great jelly for my roll and livened up the mashed sweet potatoes.
As I polished off my plate, I wondered why Americans ever resort to canned cranberry sauce. It’s a travesty, especially considering that fresh cranberry sauce takes about five minutes to make. Five minutes!
I decided to highlight cranberry sauce by serving it on crostini. Crusty whole grain bread, topped with tangy goat cheese and bold cranberry-orange sauce, makes for a stunning (and super simple) appetizer. Serve the crostini before Thanksgiving dinner or at any of your other holiday festivities this fall and winter.
This recipe yields more cranberry sauce than you’ll likely need for the crostini. You can swirl leftover sauce into oatmeal or granola and yogurt for a filling breakfast. It would be a stellar addition to a grilled cheese sandwich made with whole grain bread and brie, too.
You can use any type of bread that you’d like, of course, but I really love the nutty flavor of hearty, whole grain bread paired with sweet cranberry sauce and cheese. It’s more nutritious, too. For more information about the health benefits of whole grains, visit GrainsforYourBrain.org.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: American
Cranberry-orange sauce on whole grain crostini with goat cheese makes a beautiful (and quick!) appetizer.
- 1 small loaf of crusty whole grain bread, sliced into ½-inch thick slices
- 2+ tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt
- 10 ounces goat cheese, preferably at room temperature (Brie, ricotta, or cream cheese would be fine substitutes)
Cranberry orange sauce
- ½ cup+ honey
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
- Zest of 1 orange (orange part only), divided
- Toast the bread: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle the slices with salt. Toast the bread in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway, until the slices are lightly golden on both sides. Set the pan aside to cool.
- Make the cranberry sauce: Rinse the cranberries and toss any squishy ones. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring ½ cup water, honey, cinnamon, cloves and allspice to a gentle boil. Add the cranberries and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until the cranberries have popped and the sauce is starting to look, well, saucy. Remove from heat and stir in about two-thirds of the orange zest.
- Assemble the crostini: Top each slice of toast with a generous spread of cheese, then cranberry sauce and a light sprinkle of orange zest. Serve.
- Cranberry sauce adapted from Shockingly Delicious and my cranberry orange steel-cut oatmeal.
- This recipe yields around a cup of extra cranberry sauce, which would be a great addition to the Thanksgiving table. Serve leftovers on toast or stirred into oatmeal or yogurt. It should store well, refrigerated in an air-tight container, for up to 1 month.
▸ Nutrition Information
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Grains for Your Brain and I received compensation for my participation. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to serve up more recipes. Opinions are my own, always.
dishing up the dirt
this sounds absolutely delicious!
Gorgeous! Love this recipe. So glad to hear your Friendsgiving went so well : ) Ours did, too. Pinning this so I can make it later.
Thanks, Dana! Pretty sure you’re going to love the crostini.
This looks amazing! I wish I had known about it for the Canadian thanksgiving, I’ll have to remember it for next year but I’ll likely be making it earlier than that! Love the colour combination!
Nora (Buttercream Fa
Such a great use of cranberry sauce! I always end up with too much (not complaining).
Katrina @ WVS
Mmm cranberries and goats cheese sound fabulous together!!
This is brillant! Perfect party food. I also like how you used the bubbly drinks as props, definitely makes the shot feel festive!
Oh, P.S. I’m contemplating upgrading my waffle iron. You should find a good waffle iron sponsor so I know where to go!
Thanks, Claire! I made the mistake of buying the absolute cheapest Champagne for those shots and it’s so bad I can’t drink it! Lesson learned.
I recently used a gift card to buy Calphalon’s “no peak” waffle iron. I wouldn’t have bought it at full price, but oh man, it works great. The waffles huge so I can cook all of the batter in two batches. Plus it beeps when it’s ready. Pretty cool. Might be a good item to add to your Christmas list!
Thanks for the tips! I’ll probably keep an eye open for a sale in January when everyone is on diets haha! I’ve already asked for a food processor and argan oil so my Christmas list is full! Hope you have a happy one.
Good call! I would look for a waffle iron that has a lot of surface area so you can cook the waffles in fewer batches. That helps a lot. Oh and I found some argan oil by Elma & Sana for an affordable price on amazon, love it!
I live in Oklahoma! My daughter lives in Tulsa so I get to go there often. It’s really turned in to such a fun city. So much to do downtown, where she lives.
Beautiful crostini. It’s so much fun mixing sweet and savory, isn’t it?!!
I’m from Oklahoma! Tulsa is really a neat city. Maybe I’ll move there someday. I really can’t get enough of the sweet-and-savory combo these days!
Mmm this looks great! Your friendsgiving celebration sounds like so much fun. I love enjoying meals that everyone contributes to, just like you have. As for cranberry sauce, I agree with you – it IS a travesty that people still buy it out of the can, especially when it’s dead easy to make yourself! I’ve got a similar cranberry chutney posted on my blog that blends cranberries with ginger, stevia, orange juice and orange zest. We always have leftovers but I love using it on days after, especially on bits of baked butternut squash!
Oh, your cranberry chutney sounds amazing! Potlucks are my favorite. My friends and I get together for a potluck almost every week. Can’t get enough of them!
Dorothy at ShockD
That looks divine! Thanks for linking to my recipe for cranberry sauce!
Thanks for creating a great recipe! My adapted version came out so great.
Laura (Tutti Dolci)
I love your crostini as a Thanksgiving appetizer! (P.S. The toasts look like rabbits, which I adore ;))
Haha, I thought the toasts look like little turkeys!
Ha, ha! I thought rabbits, too!
Gorgeous colour in your photos! Great combination, cran & goat cheese, I must say.
I love that we both did Grains for your Brain posts today! And that they both featured bread. Great minds.
Also, you’re so right about cranberry sauce. Once you go homemade, you can NEVER go back.
I love cranberries and REAL cranberry sauce. This could not be more perfect and pretty!
Yum- I love the combination of fruit and cheese- I had an excellent goat cheese with cran and cinnamon the other day – to die for! Thanks for reminding me :)
Gorgeous! Love the colors – these look so pretty and so yummy!
Lori @ Foxes Love Le
Oh gosh, hearing “pie” and “trunk mishap” in the same sentence is my worst nightmare right now! I’m transporting 3 pies for Thansksgiving, and have no other option but to put them in the trunk. Eeeeek!
Sending positive pie thoughts your way! My friend’s husband accidentally set the pie on a piece of luggage, so it fell off, but it was ok!
What a fun Friendsgiving that sounds like it was! You’re right – I don’t know why we’ve gravitated to the canned cranberry variety, but I love this version – so bright and fresh. And what a tasty thought to put it in oatmeal – yum.
And what did Cookie bring?
Her wagging tail! :)
Erin @ The Speckled
This sounds INCREDIBLE, Kate, and I find myself wondering the same thing about Americans and cranberry sauce because it’s SO simple and SO good. Definitely gonna have to try this with our leftovers, as I know my husband will FLIP over the goat cheese! Thanks for sharing!
What an awesome recipe. You’ve given me an idea what to do with my leftover cranberries. Thanks!
Bev @ Bev Cooks
This is all that I want to eat. Ever.
I made this for Thanksgiving, loved it, got compliments, and was asked for the recipe. We did some with goat cheese and some with Brie, and it was great both ways. I think the sauce smells just like Christmas :)
Karissa, I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the crostini! I want to try them with brie.
I love this combo, it’s simply amazing in so many ways! I tried a new combo this year and I am so excited about it I wanted to share. I received some Heidi’s Raspberry and Chili jam from my cousins in NM. I paired it with goat cheese and crostini. It was so good with just the right amount of kick!
Oh, that sounds so good! Next summer, I am going to learn how to make pepper jam. Loooove that stuff.
I love the ingredients…great idea. Can’t wait to give it a try!
This looks delicious!!! I am attending a holiday party next week and I am thinking this is the dish I will bring!
Quick question, do these still taste delicious an hour or so after they are ready? If I am taking them to a party I don’t want to bring something that will only taste great right away!
Hey Haillie! I think the crostini will still taste good. If possible, I’d suggest assembling the crostini at the party just because the toast might get a little soft as time goes on. You could bring the toasted bread, cranberry sauce and goat cheese. It would only take 5 to 10 minutes to prepare them, or less if you can find a friend to help!
Hello kate, im interesting in food photography, and im looking for a good lens for food, and end up in your blog.
Awesome picts, i love the color and details, and the proops is just right.
so you took those photographs with nikkor 35mm? im little bit hard to decide, which lens i have to purchase, 35mm or 40mm macro, so if u may please tell me how good is 35mm on food.
Thank you very much.
Your food look incredibly tasty !!!
Hi Nanda, if you are using a digital format camera (not a full format camera), I would choose the 35mm. I use it for all of my food photos now.
can i make the cranberry sauce ahead of time (like a day before) and assemble the day of with the crostini and cheese?
That should work ok! Let me know what you think, Jessica.
I’m hoping to make this for a Friendsgiving this weekend and was wondering what you think about assembling with a delicious cracker instead of bread? Also, I plan to cook the sauce and take it with me in a container to assemble at the party. Will it still hold the flavor?
Sure! Just make sure it’s sturdy. If you assemble at the party that should be fine. I hope they all enjoy it!
This recipe was absolutely amazing! I added a dash of nutmeg and substituted brie in place of the goat cheese. We could not stop eating it–even my friend who claimed to not like cranberry sauce. Will make this every year at Thanksgiving time.
Making this for Thanksgiving this year! Is it possible to make this a “spicy” version too with Jalepeno’s?
You could try it. Let me know what you think!