Three Bean Salad with Dried Cranberries and Celery

Three Bean Salad with Dried Cranberries and Celery

I like to make this salad the night before, allowing the garlic flavors to absorb into the beans. The dried cranberries add a nice sweet chewiness, which the celery and red pepper add a crunch. The dressing is a simple mixture of oil, balsamic, maple syrup, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Vegetarian Chili

Superbowl, it's a thing. For me, it's a reason to get together with friends and eat a lot of really delicious food, and for others, I'm sure it's a reason to get together and watch football. Each year, when Superbowl Sunday rolls around, I get really excited to wow my friends with my signature vegetarian chili that I have been crafting for years. Growing up, I had never been a fan of chili, or football for that matter. Most chili that I had sampled, I either found it too thick and meaty, or too thin and healthy. The meat chili's were always too spicy, fully of meat, not enough vegetables. More like Sloppy Joes. While, the vegetarian chili almost always had a ridiculous amount of vegetables, and too much broth. More like a minestrone soup.

During sophomore year at college, I became a vegetarian. I had previously dabbled in vegetarianism during my teen years, but mostly just an excuse to eat more pasta and bread. It wasn't until college that it took it seriously. Chili became a favorite meal, because it was not only delicious, but also healthy. Chili is loaded with delicious tomatoes and sauce, which are both high in vitamin C. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of non-heme iron, which is a form of iron that does not come from an animals. It is a little less absorbable than heme iron (which comes from meat), but the only source for vegetarians. So, combining beans and veggie ground round with loads of vitamin C, does the body good. I've made a lot of chili in my days. I've come to the conclusion that a great chili needs to have a perfect meat/ bean to vegetable ratio. The sauce should be not too thick or too thin. It should be zesty, without burning your mouth off. Sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced green onions are a must. And it really should be eaten with someone you love. 

makes 8 - 10 cups

1 large sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 red pepper, chopped
1 pkg of Yves Meatless Ground Round
20 button mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp chili powder
1 - 15 oz can corn, drained
1 - 15 oz can of kidney beans, washed and drained
1 - 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, with juice
1 cup tomato sauce, any variety
1 pkg of chili seasoning
sour cream
cheddar cheese, shredded
1 green onion, chopped

In a large pot, on low heat, saute the onions and garlic in butter until soft and translucent, approximately 10 minutes.

Add the red pepper and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

Add the Yves Meatless Ground Round, mushrooms, and chili powder. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the corn, kidney beans, plum tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili seasoning and stir.

Simmer uncovered on low-medium heat for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. If the chili becomes too thick, add some water.

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced green onion.