Vegan Chili… With A Secret Ingredient!

vegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipe

vegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipeThis week has been gloriously sunny, and I’ve been savouring the -13ºC, which feels incredibly warm compared to the -20s we got last week. I even enjoyed an ice cream cone in the sunshine, although I’m pretty sure I’m the only person crazy enough to eat ice cream in the middle of a Canadian winter. The day I had my ice cream cone was one of the best days in recent memory: I gorged on poutine, wandered into second-hand furniture stores and plant-filled spaces, and visited my favourite bookshop. I came home with several potted plants and a bag full of books, my heart happy and belly full. The day was so simple, but perfect in every way.vegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipevegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipeThe next day was even better: I made a chili so delicious that I surprised even myself. Although I’d made chili before, I’d never made one this good. I’d been meaning to do a chili post for a while, but I wasn’t satisfied with any of the photos I had and I wanted to give traditional chili a twist. This chili is the best I’ve ever made, and it’s all thanks to a secret ingredient: dark chocolate! I was inspired to make this chili after seeing Nathan, the thirteen year old winner of Masterchef Junior’s third season, make a chocolate chili using alligator meat. When I saw that Lisa of Lisa G Cooks had shared a chocolate chili recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux, I knew it was time to give chocolate chili a try.

I made this chili using kidney beans and black beans, both of which I soaked overnight to remove the phytic acid and make them more digestible. From a nutrition perspective, kidney beans and black beans are both significant sources of fibre and protein, making this chili a filling and heart healthy meal. 1 cup of black beans provides a whopping 42g of protein, while 1 cup of kidney beans provides 15g of protein. Together, the three cups of beans in this chili provides 85.5g of protein! That’s more than 2 cups of chicken. The next time someone asks me how my veggie-loving soul gets protein, I’ll be sending them this way ;)

vegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipe

vegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipe

vegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipe

This chili is the perfect winter food: it’s warming and nourishing, a hug in a bowl. The chili flakes and cayenne pepper help to pack in the heat, and I used both smoked paprika and smoked sea salt to give the dish a smoky flavour I love. The dark chocolate lends the chili a subtle sweetness and an incredible depth of flavour that is missing in so many chilis. I topped it with a vibrant garnish reminiscent of summer: seared corn, caramelized red onion, and finely chopped kale. Try it, friends. You don’t know what you’re missing out on until you taste what I can only describe as pure, orgasmic deliciousness!

Note: Kale in no way replaces the flavour profile of cilantro at all, but  I unfortunately didn’t have cilantro on hand when I was making the garnish. If you have cilantro… use it! I’ve tried adding the spices earlier in the cooking with the onions and garlic, but I’ve also tried adding the spices later on with the tomatoes. Both were delicious, however, I prefer adding the spices with the tomatoes so the spices get to release their flavours into more of the stew and their flavours would have less time to cook off. While I’ve chosen to serve this chili with seared corn, I’ve also had it with cashew cream and cornbread, both of which super yummy.

vegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipe

Yields 4 servings.

  • 3 cups diced tomatoes (1 28oz can)
  • 1 1/2 cup black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • smoked sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


  • 1 cup corn, frozen or canned, preferably organic
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • smoked sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiled, add the soaked beans. Reduce to the heat and simmer until the beans are cooked, around 45 minutes.
2. While the beans are cooking, chop the onions and kale, and dice the garlic.
3. Once the beans are done, strain them and set aside.
4. In a pot, sauté the onion and garlic until translucent on medium heat.
5. Add the tomatoes and beans, simmer for 5 minutes.
6. While the tomatoes are simmering, start preparing the corn. In a small pan, melt two teaspoons of coconut oil on medium heat. Add the red onion and cook until translucent and almost brown.
7. Add the spices to the chili and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
8. Add the corn and cook on high heat, stirring occasionally, until the corn is seared on both sides. Lower the heat and add the kale, and cook for another few minutes. Season with smoked sea salt and remove from the heat.
9. Remove the chili from the heat.
10. Serve in bowls and top with the seared corn.

vegan chili... with a secret ingredient! // gratitude and greens // #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree #recipe

Happy chili making and an even happier weekend to all!

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