Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili

This is my last recipe for 2014. I wanted it to be a good one and I have to say this one is a really amazing doozy of a recipe. This recipe for Vegan Cranberry Chili comes from the Bitter Sweet blog, and as usual I’ll provide you with a list of ingredients below but you’ll have to go to her blog to see the construction. Trust me on this: construction of this chili is key. There are some science-y things going on here with cranberries and pectin that only she can explain. Also, her pictures are way better than mine. I’ve never been the best picture-taker.
Now you might be wanting to ask me: “Erin, why are you calling your version of this “Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili”? Isn’t that a weird name?” Well not really. It’s really a nod to the way I live my food life every day. Since my partner is NOT a vegetarian and I am, I mainly cook vegetarian. Every once in a while I’ll make something with meat in it if I have a lot of leftovers for me to munch on. But most of the time I live my life this way: I made this blah blah blah. It’s vegetarian. But if you want, I can make some meat to go alongside it. My partner has different eating habits and needs and I recognize that. He has never once actually complained (he complains a lot, jokingly, but all it is is a joke) because the food I make is good (usually) and interesting and because I respect his food choices as well. So you can make this recipe vegan. You can make it vegetarian. Or you can say forget all that, and add in beef. I cooked up some ground moose alongside this and he topped his bowl with that. I also fried up a bunch of mushrooms on the side for myself (because he doesn’t like mushrooms). I skipped the salsa in the original recipe and added in some TVP to up the protein components for me. In the end, make this the way that makes the most sense to your palate. If you hate bulgur, try brown rice or barley. Not a fan of pinto beans? The original author used cranberry beans (I didn’t have any on hand the day I made this).
I can see the doubt in your eyes as you scan this page. Cranberries. In Chili. You’re a darn fool idiot. I will say this now: this chili was absolutely amazing and complex and breathtaking. If I could give all of the kudos in the world to the Bitter Sweet blog I would. I would steal everyone else’s kudos and give them to her. That is how oddly amazing this recipe is. The flavors are so perfectly balanced that it’s going to blow your mind how much you love it. I’m serious. This is the best choice you could possibly make for a New Years dinner, either to end 2014 or celebrate in 2015.
Here is your shopping list…

Vegan (if you want) Cranberry Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 small carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces (1 Bag) fresh cranberries
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
3–4 tablespoons chili powder
28-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
4 cups cooked pinto beans
1/2 cup coarse bulgur
1/2 cup TVP
1 cup water
salt, to taste

Optional Topping Suggestions:
thinly sliced scallions
sautéed mushrooms
Shredded Vegan Cheese
Vegan Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt
ground beef (or moose!)

…now with toppings!

…now with toppings!

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