This vegan cranberry pear chutney takes the traditional holiday side-dish of cranberry sauce to a new place of status on the table.
Seriously, we have had this on our Thanksgiving table for almost two decades. While we started making it in the years before becoming vegan, we were delighted that it, being a vegan dish from the beginning, could stay with us on the journey to a cruelty-free, bird-free holiday celebration!
No, Not That Cranberry Sauce
I grew up eating that cranberry sauce that you had to figure out how to slide out of the can, whole, in order to slice it into rings and arrange it on a plate to make it look festive. My mom always fed a big crowd, so I can’t fault her for opting for easy (except for that getting it out of the can part). She was particular about her table, so she always arranged that sauce perfectly, a memory that still makes me smile. When she had more time or help, she would also make the whole berry cranberry sauce, which is basically just cooking cranberries with sugar and a bit of water until they pop and then letting it cool. In my memory, that was the more grown-up option. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it was ever on the kid’s table.
Making Cranberry Sauce Our Own
When our kids were growing, and we started to celebrate the holidays in our own home, we began to experiment with the flavors, and dishes, that we enjoyed. That meant, like most families, we developed our family classics, or must-haves on the table, to make the meal extra special. This chutney became one of them.
Never Mind the Sauce, Time for Chutney
The inspiration for this chutney came from one of those holiday recipes you see while perusing through magazines when you are sitting in a waiting room. You jot ideas on the back of a receipt in your bag and hope you don’t forget it, or, if no one else is in the waiting room, you rip the page out (not that we’ve ever done that).
What immediately caught my interest with this one was the jalapeño pepper. It adds a little spicy bite that is softened by the sweetness of the pears and raisins. The tartness of the cranberries is still the main attraction, as it is in any recipe where it’s a player.
Sharing is Caring
Anyway, this year, when we had several requests to post some vegan options for the holidays, we knew this one would be perfect. Because, it’s easy to make and it makes a ton. Like 8 cups! Plenty for a crowd and leftovers. Plenty to put in a mason jar and bring as a gift to someone. Quick tip: It is best made at least the night before so the flavors can really meld, but it can also be made several days ahead.
Making it Special
Personally, one of the things that I love about this recipe is that it is the dish that Greg has always prepared. I have sweet memories of him coming home from work and into the bustle of holiday preparations and joining us to make “his chutney”. (He is still the one who makes it.)
Holidays are about creating and sharing memories and enjoying the traditions that tie one year to the next. I love sharing one of ours’ with you and I would encourage you to give this delightful and flavorful dish a place on your holiday table.
Georgia is an unpretentious foodie who, at 50, transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a whole foods plant based diet and is loving it. She works as a nurse, plays as a quilter, loves to run, hates to race. She thinks dogs are actually angels (in dog suits).