Friday, November 16, 2012

Cranberry Butternut Squash Bean Chili

This was an experiment gone very right.  I love it.  Adam loves it.  You'll love it. 

It was inspired by Little A.  No not because she'd ever eat it.  Not with 'bits' in it (i.e. detectable pieces of vegetable).  But because last weekend she became mesmerized by a bag of plump, garnet hued fresh cranberries and insisted Adam buy them for her.  He tried to explain that they would not taste terribly good raw, but she wouldn't listen and promised she would like them and would eat them.  As soon as they got home, however, I placed one in her eager hand, she popped it in her mouth, nodded her head for a second to indicate liking, then began shaking her head vigorously to indicate, no, she did not actually like it. 

Sooo, I ended up with a big bag of fresh cranberries in the fridge.

It never occurred to me to add cranberries to chili, but I was making chili and adding butternut squash, and since squash and cranberries work so well together, I figured, "Why not?"  And folks, it works.  Really well!  The sweetness of the cider vinegar and squash perfectly balances out the tartness of the cranberries.  This recipe is definitely going to be a staple this winter!!

I used Cookin' Greens Athlete's Mix to bump up the veggie quotient in here and it was the perfect addition.

I'd never purchased any of these before, but they are a great option if you hate chopping veggies.  Just note that none of their products are organic, so if you only eat organic, you are out of luck.  Either way, you can just sub fresh veggies and your own beans if you wish.

I left it really thick, because I like it that way, but add water, as needed, if you prefer a thinner consistency.  If you leave it thick, not only can you serve this over brown rice, millet or quinoa, but you could use it to make some killer burritos!

Cranberry Butternut Squash Bean Chili

2 lb butternut squash, diced
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

2 cups diced onion
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
2 heaping tbls chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced, optional (or hot sauce, to taste)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cooked kidney beans)
1 bag Athlete's Mix (or 2 cups finely chopped kale, 1 diced red bell pepper + 1 cup cooked white kidney beans)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

Toss squash and cranberries with oil and seasonings.  Spread out on foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, Place onion, garlic and spices in a large skillet or pot over medium heat.  Once everything begins to sizzle, add vinegar.  Saute until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Add in kidney beans, squash and cranberries, and remaining veggies, and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Pour in crushed tomatoes. Add water, as needed and season to taste.  Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Freezes well.

This recipe was submitted to Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday, and Diet, Dessert & Dogs' Wellness Weekend.


  1. I'm definitely going to have to try this! Never thought to put actual raw cranberries in my chili!

  2. OH, I like the addition of cranberries!! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    We have a great collection of recipes going to get us ready for menu planning! Hope to see you this Thursday for another Gluten Free Fridays link up! It will be live at 7:05 eastern US time. Cindy from