At first glance, the ingredients in this easy to make spicy vegan chocolate chili might come as a surprise, but once they are all combined and cooked you will not believe how delicious a chili can be.
Once you try it, this superfood-packed chili recipe made with sweet potatoes, chili spices, and cocoa powder, will surely be your go-to recipe when you need to impress.
Yesterday was the first time it felt like winter is over. We had our morning coffee out in the garden while listening to the birds chirping and reminding us that spring is here. I cannot tell you how much I love experiencing the changes in season. Yes, winter cold is hard to deal with and the winter blues can be somewhat difficult. But then, spring comes and it makes it all worthwhile. The change reminds us that life, just like nature, cannot all be cold and harsh. It is full of hope and beauty. As you can see, the change in weather and the last couple of days that I spent out in our backyard made me a romantic person. But I will bore you no more, stop rambling, and talk about this Spicy Vegan Chocolate Chili, a.k.a the last chili recipe until next winter.
About This Spicy Vegan Chocolate Chili Recipe
I made this dish first time 3 weeks ago. Back then, it was still cold and my husband and I needed the kind of dinner that would warm us up. This chili ended up being a perfect dish to serve the purpose. If you are like my husband and think that “chocolate” chili would be too sweet, allow me to explain.
First of all, what makes this chocolate-y is the addition of unsweetened cocoa powder, so it is not like you are actually adding any type of chocolate. The sweetness comes from the sweet potatoes, which are mildly sweet, and a little bit of maple syrup that is added at the very end. Think of it more like the popular Mexican dish, mole.
Secondly, this dish takes its chili personality when mixed with a combination of fragrant spices like chipotle powder, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cloves. Thirdly, the addition of beans, fresh corn, pumpkin seeds, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime not only makes it full of flavor, but also super healthy and filling. Not to mention, with all of its beautiful colors it is pleasing to the eye. Last but not least, as it is like in other chili dishes, it tastes even better the next day, which makes it a perfect dish to make ahead.
As we say goodbye to winter and evening are still chilly give this easy-to-make and healthy chili recipe a try. It is so flavorful, filling and satisfying I know for sure it will not disappoint.
Spicy Vegan Chocolate Chili
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 large onions chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper preferably freshly ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 red bell peppers seeded and chopped
- 2 medium size sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 15 ounce (15 ounces)can of unsweetened corn
- 28 ounce (28 ounces) can of diced tomatoes
- 15 ounce (15 ounces) can of red kidney beans
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Juice of a lime freshly squeezed – plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped – plus more as garnish
- 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds as garnish
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven (or any other heavy bottom pan) in medium heat. Add in the cumin and coriander and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30-40 seconds.
- Stir in the onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Make sure to keep an eye on it as garlic burns easily.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle powder, black pepper, cloves, cayenne, and oregano.
- Stir the cocoa & spice mixture into the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Make sure to stir it constantly. If it dries up, add in a couple of tablespoons of water.
- Stir in the fresh thyme, bay leaves, red peppers, sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, beans, and water. Put the lid on and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in the maple syrup, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Taste for seasoning and add if necessary.
- When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish it with cilantro leaves and pumpkin seeds. Serve hot with lime wedges on the side.
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Adapted from My New Roots Cookbook.