Saturday 15 October 2011

Chunky Vegetarian Chili with Dark Chocolate

When Choclette announced that this month's special ingredient for We Should Cocoa is Chilli, I don't think she quite meant for me to take it so literally :-)

But what can I say? The Mexicans love chocolate in their chili and so do we. I know the combination of chocolate in the savoury chili can seem a bit unusual, but its utterly delicious, and actually fairly common too. I first saw the idea for a chunky chili with dark chocolate in an old issue of Delicious Magazine. It was a while ago though, and for the life of me, I cannot recall whose recipe it was. I made a vegetarian version of it a few times, and its always gone down really well, particularly with Aditi. Normally I just use dark chocolate for this recipe, but this time I decided to be a little different. I used this gorgeous Lindt dark chocolate with chilli, which is absolutely divine by itself, but adds a further layer of delicious darkness to this chili.


Thinking back on it though, I wonder why on earth I've never blogged it. I mean, I do have a chili recipe on here, but its the easier version that we use for camping. Not that this one is any less easy, I mean. Our whole family loves chili, and I like the fact that its a simple, one pot meal, but at the same time with a really deep, intense flavour. The original recipe from the magazine, if I remember correctly, used chunks of chorizo, instead of ground beef to make the chili, but I substitute with vegetables to make a vegetarian version. Normally I use quorn mince or vegetarian mince to make chili, and no one can tell the difference, but in this version I only use vegetables and beans. So not only is it delicious, but also quite healthy as well.

I usually serve the chili on rice or with a chunk of baguette or French bread. A few days ago I decided that I should learn how to make my own French bread. Not sure the French would like it as much, but we sure did. It had a nice crisp crust, and was all soft and mellow inside. Yes, I was a barbarian and I used my bread machine to make the dough, but let's face it, whatever saves a few minutes is a boon to me. And I did shape the loaves by hand, and baked them in the oven.

If you want to use meat in this recipe, use chunks of beef or chorizo, and saute first for a few minutes until the meat is sealed. The rest of the recipe is the same as for the vegetarian version. You can use any vegetables for this recipe, and I used the ones I had on hand while making it. This recipe is more of a guide than a definitive one, so feel free to go with whatever you like best. I do use the best quality dark chocolate I can find though, so don't skimp on that part.

Chunky Vegetarian Chili with Dark Chocolate 2

(Printable Recipe)

1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped into chunks, and blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes
2 - 3 red peppers, chopped into chunks
About 200g mushrooms, white or brown, chopped
About 200g butternut squash, peeled, scraped and cubed
1 cups (250 ml) tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
400 ml tin of red kidney beans
2 tbsp oil
40 g dark chocolate, chopped coarsely (I used Lindt Dark Chocolate with Chilli)

Spice Mix:

½ tbsp ground cumin
½ - 1 tsp hot chilli powder (to taste)
1 tsp salt (to taste)
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp celery salt (optional)
1 tbsp paprika (optional)


Heat the oil in a deep pan, and add the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened, then add the spice mix, including salt.

Fry for 2 minutes, then add the chopped carrots, peppers, mushrooms and squash. Stir together to coat with all the spices for about 2 - 3 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce and paste, and simmer together for about 20 minutes. Add the beans, water and all. Taste, and adjust the seasoning, then stir in the chocolate until it melts. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, then take off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Serve over rice or with a chunk of bread.


  1. Looks amazing! I just made a veggie chilli a couple of days ago. I never thought about putting chocolate. I even saw that chili chocolate in the mall the other day too and thought it was interesting...Thx for sharing!

  2. That looks fabulous, I made my We should Cocoa entry today, but not ready to blog yet.

  3. Looks delicious! I remember seeing this recipe. I've tried a chocolate chicken mole and chocolate beef stew (at wholefoods during chocolate week) but not a chocolate chili.

  4. I know that chocolate is widely used in a lot of mexican savoury food but I had never thought of adding it to chilli before. I'm going to give this a go.

  5. Yum! Love adding a bit of chocolate to chili. Somehow it helps round out the flavours beautifully. And your recipe looks great! Definitely on the list.

    We have a lovely Peperoncino bar from Domori at work. I'll try to have some on hand when I know I'll see you next!

  6. Great veggie option. I've just been cooking up some savoury sauce with chocolate too. The chocolate is so good at offsetting the sweetness of other ingredients and adding depth of flavour at the same time. Oh and I've never felt guilty about using a bread machine - perhaps I'll get thrown out of the food bloggers' union one day.

  7. Brilliant, so glad you made a savoury chilli dish - I was indeed hoping people would take me that literally. I sometimes use chocolate in my refried beans, but for some reason haven't tried it in a straightforward veggie chili recipe AND I've never actually used chilli chocolate - all very interesting. It looks delicious and I love the colour it gives to the dish. Thank you for participating.

  8. Perfect! I love the way you tie the chocolate in so well :)
    Mary x

  9. That Lindt chili and chocolate combination I adore and it's the one sweet thing that I cannot resist...

    Great recipe and lovely pics; if you get the chance to see the Hairy Bikers Mole Negro recipe (just looked - it's on UTube!) you might be interested in trying that - great TV as well!

  10. I do look the sound of this one, I made a Black Bean and Chocolate chilli a little while ago and found the chocolate too strong. I'd be happy to make this one.
    I was watching one of the food channels here and there is a Canadian show called Spice Goddess, I don't know if you've seen it there yet. Anyway, in this one episode the Indian female cook was making Chocolate Lamb Curry. I am not a meat eater as you know, but I thought it was interesting.

  11. It looks fabulous, the list of ingredients is making my mouth water!

  12. Genius idea to make a savoury dish - it looks delicious.

  13. Michellle, that looks fantastic, definitely bookmarking this one. I'm making a lot of flatbreads at the moment and can just imagine scooping up a mouthful of this chilli with one. Delish!

  14. Asiya, thank you. I really like chocolate in savoury dishes, it adds that little wow factor.

    Janice, thank you. I've had a look at your entry now, and its gorgeous.

    Baking Addict, yes, it was featured in a Delicious Magazine. Sadly I had to leave behind my massive collection in England. Its quite a common pairing, and its pretty good.

  15. I like the way you use chocolate.Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!!


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