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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

CHOCOLATE CHILI WITH SEARED CORN
Yields 4 servings.
INGREDIENTS – FOR THE CHILI

  • 3 cups diced tomatoes (1 28oz can)
  • 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 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

INGREDIENTS – FOR THE SEARED CORN GARNISH

  • 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

If you are using already cooked beans, you can skip to step 4 for a delicious one pot meal!

INSTRUCTIONS
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!
Gen.

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<< one year ago – superpower soup: carrot, coconut, and turmeric soup

42 Comments

  1. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    February 28, 2015

    Yes! You MUST add that deep rich touch of chocolate! It really does so much for the depth of all the flavors in a chili! This looks so yummy and I really want it! I am sitting here freezing right now…with no way to make any good chili, stew, or soup!
    And I am in love with the charred corn! Yum!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thanks girl! Hope you’re having a good week so far! xo

      Reply
  2. Lisa @ LisaGCooks.com
    February 28, 2015

    This looks incredible! I’m definitely going to give this a try; there is nothing like a hot bowl of chill to warm the soul in the dead of winter.

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thanks Lisa- you were part of the inspiration! xo

      Reply
  3. Christine // my natural kitchen
    February 28, 2015

    It’s a seriously sad day when -13 is considered warm, but I thought the same thing the other day after those -20 mornings we have been having! Your day of eating and shopping sounds perfect to me.

    I’ve never tried chili with chocolate but your version sounds so delicious. I bought a couple types of heirloom dried beans recently and haven’t found a recipe that looked special enough to use them in yet, but I think your chili might be it! Can’t wait to try it! xo

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      I hope you get to try this chili, it’s super tasty and warming! It’s been quite warm in the past few days so I’m hoping that spring is on its way, but I don’t want to jinx it! Hope you’re having a great week so far :) xo

      Reply
  4. Audrey @ Unconventional Baker
    February 28, 2015

    Um, chocolate in chili? Yum! Why haven’t I thought of that?!?! :) Brilliant!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thanks Audrey! It’s absolutely delicious. I hope you get to try it! xo

      Reply
  5. Farrah
    February 28, 2015

    I love the term, “a hug in the bowl,” and it sounds exactly like what this dish would be! <3 Chili is one of my favorite comfort foods ever. I tried chocolate chili for the first time somewhere early last year and it was glorious–can't wait to try making this one! <3

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thank you Farrah! Chili is one of my favourite comfort foods, too. Hope you’re having a great week so far! xo

      Reply
  6. Thalia @ butter and brioche
    February 28, 2015

    This chili looks really nourishing, comforting and warming – perfect for the cool weather right now. It is a must make recipe for me & I love your photographs.

    Reply
  7. Sonali- The Foodie Physician
    March 1, 2015

    Haha, ice cream in -13 degrees, I can’t imagine!! This chili looks and sounds amazing, I’m really digging your secret ingredient :)

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thanks Sonali! When in doubt, eat or add chocolate. I feel like that’s a good motto ;) xo

      Reply
  8. Caterina @ Amore e Sapore
    March 1, 2015

    Gen, this looks AMAZING! I love dark chocolate with chili and putting dark chocolate in chili sounds incredible. I’ve literally just put these ingredients on my grocery list for the week so I can try this recipe. Stay warm! <3

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thanks girl! When are you updating that blog of yours?! Hope you are doing well! xo

      Reply
  9. Lisa | The Viet Vegan
    March 1, 2015

    =O CHOCOLATE? That sounds so intriguing that I’ll have to try it out for myself. After you commented a couple times on my blog I thought I’d return the favour but then I discovered your GORGEOUS photos! I love your style and I’ve been stuck in a photography rut for almost a year now style-wise. Definitely subscribing for inspiration and your cute posts =)

    Also, I read your About page and I AM SO WITH YOU ON THE ROASTED RED PEPPER STUFF. I despite red pepper flavoured things like hummus or pasta sauce, but when it comes to eating just red peppers like on a pizza, I’m a-okay with that.

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thank you Lisa! Sometimes I get really great pictures and other times none of the photos work out and I have to restart the next day. I’m always looking for ways to improve the quality of my content and it can get tough! I’m all about peppers on their own but pepper flavoured things are just a no-go for me, haha! So funny that I have found someone else who also doesn’t like red pepper flavoured things. Hope you’re having a great week so far! Excited for dinner tomorrow :) xo

      Reply
  10. Medha @ Whisk & Shout
    March 1, 2015

    I am so glad I found your blog! Your photography is great and I love this hearty vegan recipe :) Dark chocolate in chili reminds me of mole sauce a bit. Genius!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thank you Medha! Mole sauce was definitely part of my inspiration. I hope you get to try this soon! Have a great week :) xo

      Reply
  11. Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen
    March 2, 2015

    This chili looks so hearty and delicious! And I love that you ate poutine, ice cream and were happy when seeing -13 weather!! So VERY Canadian of you :) Hehe, I always laugh when it’s finally back to zero out and you see people walking around in shorts already like, “Summer’s here!!” :D

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      I hadn’t had poutine in forever and I thought it was a great idea since my boyfriend was visiting Toronto.It was super yummy! Seriously, after all those -20 days I was just happy that it was warmer- if only a little bit- and the sun was out! You know it’s been cold when you stroll out on a -10 day and think it’s warm, haha! Hope you’re having a great week so far! xo

      Reply
  12. Katie (The Muffin Myth)
    March 2, 2015

    Yum! I’ve always heard of putting chocolate in chili but I must admit I haven’t ventured to try it myself. Now you’ve convinced me! Have pinned this recipe to try on a chilly day soon (ha! chili on a chilly day!). And by the way, you’ve made me totally homesick for Canada with all that talk of gorging on poutine!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Haha, I love your pun!!! Chili really *is* perfect for a chilly day. And poutine is the absolute best! I think it’s one of the best Canadian things ever. Hope you’re having a great week so far! xo

      Reply
  13. Rachael@AvocadoADayNutrition
    March 2, 2015

    I always add chocolate to my chili! It’s incredible the depth of flavor it adds. Loving that corn topping!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      I was so blown away by how much depth of flavour it added! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to find out. Hope you’re having a great week so far, Rachael! xo

      Reply
  14. Alanna
    March 2, 2015

    This chili looks amazing! Thank you for making another acceptable excuse to eat more dark chocolate :) I was just saying how I want to visit Canada again (it’s been ages) but maybe I’ll wait for warmer weather ;)

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Come visit! I promise the weather isn’t so scary in the later months of spring, and summers here are great. And of course, any excuse to eat chocolate! Chocolate fiends unite ;) xo

      Reply
  15. Shashi at RunninSrilankan
    March 2, 2015

    I love how simple days can turn out to be the best ever! Though an ice cream cone in -20 degrees??? YIKES!!! Though, if I could gorge on this chocolate chili after, I might be upto trying that cone after all ;)

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      I don’t know what inspired me to buy an ice-cream cone that day, but it was delicious and so worth it! If there’s a will, there’s a way, right? ;) xo

      Reply
  16. sue|theviewfromgreatisland
    March 2, 2015

    The world needs to get used to the idea of chocolate as a savory ingredient — think of the new flavor combinations we could discover!! This is chili the way it’s supposed to be, I wouldn’t miss the meat one bit. The seared corn sounds like a great touch, too :)

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thanks Sue! I totally agree. I’m excited to try experimenting more with chocolate in savoury dishes! Hope you’re having a great week :) xo

      Reply
  17. Arman @ thebigmansworld
    March 3, 2015

    Gorgeous photos, Gen…Not going to lie…I want that beanie ;)

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thanks Arman! It does look like a super comfy beanie, doesn’t it? Hope you’re having a fabulous week so far! xo

      Reply
  18. Natalia
    March 3, 2015

    Wow, Gen, those pictures are gorgeous and the blue bowls…love them!
    Loved that day of yours and i do eat ice cream during winter quite …a lot :). Good ice cream + books= the best recipe for a perfect day!
    Your chili recipe looks wonderful, Gen! Congratulations!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Thank you so much Natalia! I so agree with you: books and ice-cream make a wonderful day. I would love to curl up under a blanket with my book and ice-cream! Hope you’re having a great week so far :) xo

      Reply
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    March 4, 2015

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  20. Ines
    March 4, 2015

    Hi =)
    I tried your recipe today, since the photographs look so good!
    My housemates really liked the Chili and I did too.
    I used less beans though, since I had the feeling that it would be far too much, thinking that the amount of beans would triple after cooking. I used about 300 g of dried beans (~2 cups in total) and that was totally fine :-) Plus I used cocoa powder instead of chocolate-
    I love the idea of the seared corn on top! That really was a great addition :-) Thanks a lot for the recipe!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      March 4, 2015

      Hi Ines, thank you! So glad you and your housemates liked the chili :) I actually posted the proportions wrong, so thank you for bringing that to my attention! I used the same proportions you did with 2 cups of beans in total (1 cup of each) and used 1 1/2 cups of each kind after I cooked them. So glad it turned out well for you! xo

      Reply
  21. David
    May 11, 2015

    You said:

    “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!”

    If my math holds, you need 1.5 cup of both black and kidney beans as you describe:

    (42g/cup protein * 1.5 cup = 63g/protein) + ( 15g/cup protein * 1.5 cup = 22.5g/protein) = 85.5g protein

    But your recipe states the following:

    INGREDIENTS – FOR THE CHILI

    3 cups diced tomatoes (1 28oz can)
    1 cup black beans, soaked overnight
    1 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight

    So which is it? Is it 2 cup dried beans of 3 cups of beans?

    Can you please confirm?

    Regards
    David

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      May 11, 2015

      Hi David! I meant to post 1.5 cups of each black beans and kidney beans in my recipe, so 3 cups in total. Sorry about the confusion! If you prefer less beans in your chili feel free to go for 1/2 a cup or 1 cup of each. Hope this helps!

      Reply
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