Meatless Holiday Mince

Meatless Holiday Mince

December 1, 2023

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Nothing puts me in the mood for the holidays like a beautiful snowy day, a cozy fire, and delicious smells that conjure sweet memories of holidays past. One of my favorites is making mincemeat pies with my Granny. Mincemeat was a full-day affair back then. Traditionally it was made with meat that first had to be cooked until it was juicy tender shreds. Then combined with beef suet, fruit and spices and slow cooked for hours then cooled overnight. Slow cooling overnight allowed the flavors to marinate and infuse the whole mixture. The next day we would make mince-filled cookies, pies and tarts. They were delicious!

It is with those memories in mind on a lovely snowy day here in Colorado I set out to create an easier, healthier, meatless version of mincemeat. Using my Grans recipe as a broad guide I came up with this meatless holiday mince recipe that is easy, delicious, a bit healthier, and makes me feel all the warm feels from back then. A big thank you to the NTI NFC Program for giving me the confidence and skill to modernize this treasured family recipe.

Traditional mincemeat has a pleasant heft to it from the suet that creates a deep rich mouth feel. The suet also helps the spices really bloom to full flavor adding warmth and spice. I really wanted to capture that same mouthfeel in this meatless holiday mince recipe so, I used butter to create the rich texture and bloom the spices. I omitted all the sugar opting to use ripe Bosc pears and sweet apples to add sweetness. For the rich brown color, I chose to use pure, no sugar-added date syrup, which when caramelized, gives it the same look as traditional mincemeat. I love sweet, not too sweet though, so I added dried cranberries to give it balancing pops of tartness. I chose to slightly increase the amount of spices to give it more depth and flavor. (See the three-part blog series on the health benefits of Pumpkin Spice; cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, allspice and cloves). It is a delectable treat that can be used to make pies, tarts, cookies and much more.

Why We Love It

The Holidays seem to lead in the number of comfort foods that fill us with the joy of the season, soothe the stress from all the hustle and bustle and form new memories. Food is often the centerpiece of the holidays as we gather with friends and family.

Food is not just for nourishing the body, it is for nourishing the mind and the soul. In the world of nutrition, we often times focus only on what food can do for the body, nourishment, energy, strength and healing. Food does all of those things as well as nourish the mind and the soul. Part of a well-balanced health and wellness plan is recognizing that the smell, taste and texture of food create emotional connections. These connections are powerful and unique to each individual. When we can understand these connections and what they represent to each person; mind, body and soul are nourished. This recipe is a comforting link to treasured memories and new more healthful traditions.

Let’s Make It!

Meatless Holiday Mince

Prep time: 30min

Cook time:90 min

Total time 2 hours

Yields: 3.5-4 cups


2 med red apples (I like Sweet Tango, Pink Lady or Ambrosia)

1 med Granny Smith Apple

2 ripe Bosc or red pears

1 C. golden raisins

1 C. raisins

1 C. dried cranberries

1.5 sticks of salted butter (12 Tbsp.)

2 T. pure date syrup (no added sugar)

3/4 fresh squeezed tangerine juice

1 inch knob of ginger finely chopped or grated

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Ginger powder

1/2 tsp Allspice

1/2 tsp. Cardamon

1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

1/2 tsp. Cloves

1/2 of a juiced tangerine peel with pulp


  1. Peel, core, and fine dice the apples and pears.
  2. In a Med saucepan over medium heat slightly melt the butter.
  3. Stir in the date syrup along with the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and ginger.
  4. Stir until well mixed and all the butter is melted.
  5. Stir in the fresh tangerine juice and the reserved half-peel
  6. Add the apples, pears, cranberries, raisins and golden raisins and mix thoroughly.
  7. Bring Mixture to a slow boil for 15-20 min stirring frequently.
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for a minimum of 1 hour. Stirring every 10-15 minutes. You can simmer longer if desired.
  9. When the mixture is a deep brown and the liquid has formed a thick syrup turn off heat cover and let cool to room temp. Remove the tangerine peel and refrigerate, or use as a pie, tart or cookie filling. It is also good with chicken and pork as a chutney as well as a great addition to any holiday charcuterie, sweet or savory!
  10. Enjoy!

Chef Snacks!

Wait! Don’t toss those apple peels. Instead gather them in a small bowl with a Tbsp of melted butter, add a dash of cinnamon and air-fry on high for 15-20 minutes or until desired crispiness. They may also be pan-roasted at 400 for 15-20 min. They are cinnamony delicious and make your home smell like the holidays!

From Our Table to Yours, Happy Holidays!

Adapted by: Jenn LePlatt

From: Grans Mincemeat by Dorothy LePlatt

About the Author: Jenn LePlatt is a Natural Food Chef and Nutrition Therapist Master Candidate. Her zest for learning everything nutrition is contagious. One of her favorite things is to share nutritious “tidbits” of food and information. “We all have a superpower, mine is to nourish”.

Image by Jenn LePlatt

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