Grape

Step Aside, Cranberry Sauce. This Sweet & Spicy Chutney Is Thanksgiving’s New All-Star.

Grapes and spices join forces in your new favorite fall condiment.

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November 13, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

We've partnered with Grapes from California to share our new favorite fall-friendly condiment that's ready to star in all your holiday spreads: an easy chutney made with California grapes that's packed with flavorful spices.


I've never met a Thanksgiving food I didn't like. Actually, scratch that. I've only met one Thanksgiving food I didn't like: classic cranberry sauce.

I'm not sure if it's the jello-like consistency, the uncomfortably cylindrical shape the canned variety emerges in, or the one-note saccharine tang that overpowers everything it touches, but this Thanksgiving stalwart has just never been my jam.

Still, a plate crowded with the mostly subtle flavors of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and the like could always use something with a little extra oomph and complexity to spice things up.

Enter sweet and spicy grape chutney.

Courtesy of longtime community member Madhuja, this zesty concoction was inspired by traditional Bengali fruit chutneys, which typically rely on a five spice blend called paanch phoron: equal parts nigella seeds, black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel seeds.

Making it couldn't be simpler: Toast spices, plus chile de árbol for heat and ginger for bite, until warm and fragrant. Then, add grapes, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and a dash of salt.

Boil the whole thing for about 20 minutes—you'll know it's ready when the grapes are wrinkled and blistered, and the liquid has thickened into a slightly syrupy consistency. Then, it's ready to serve or store covered in the fridge for at least a month.

And there are about a zillion ways to let this chutney shine. Madhuja usually likes to serve it over crispy poppadoms (a type of round, thin Indian wafer), but I love it slathered over slices of herb-roasted turkey, chicken, or even lamb. The grapes add a pop of fresh sweetness that works perfectly with the cozy spices and rounds out the zing of the lemon and ginger in the chutney.

I think it would also be perfect on crostini swiped with fresh ricotta, as a make-ahead party appetizer or an easy snack. Same goes for a cheese and charcuterie board. And I have no doubt that it would make an insanely delicious addition to a day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich of turkey, mashed potatoes, and some greens. Really, the sky's the limit to what you can do.


More Holiday-Ready Grape Recipes

What are some of the tasty ways you would serve this sweet and spicy grape chutney? Share your ideas in the comments below!

In partnership with Grapes from California, we're sharing our favorite seasonal ways to eat grapes. California’s table grape growers are committed to providing the best-tasting, highest-quality grapes in the world and produce 99% of all U.S. table grapes. In season from May through January, grapes from California make the perfect wholesome and tasty ingredient for fall and winter dishes. From tangy pickled grapes with cozy chai spices to a zingy grape chutney that'll give your favorite cranberry sauce a run for its money, there are many creative (and delicious!) ways to show off the versatility of grapes throughout autumn and beyond.

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Erin Alexander is the Associate Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.

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