Smoky Vegetarian Chili Recipe with Cocoa

I know I’ve posted a vegetarian chili recipe before (Quick and Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe), but it was a significantly smaller recipe with a very different taste, fairly generic with a slight fruity undertone, it is a great, simple chili, very easy to make. This Smokey Vegetarian Chili recipe, however, makes a dish with a very complex flavor — smoky, just a hint of sweet, and with the multi-layered, sophisticated taste of good quality chocolate as an undertone for the whole dish. Once you’ve had chili with chocolate, you’ll never look at it the same way again.

smoky vegetarian chili with cocoa powder

I usually serve chili over rice to complete the protein, but it is also very good with corn bread or any other sort of grain-based side. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili Recipe
serves at least five


  • 1 medium-sized sweet onion
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 large cayenne pepper (more if you want more spice)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed Mexican oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • two 15-ounce cans pinto beans
  • two 15-ounce cans kidney beans
  • 28 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes (including juice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • Hot sauce to taste (the Tabasco brand smoked version works particularly well with this chili).
  • Serve over rice for a complete protein.

Preparation Instructions:

1). Peel the onion and garlic cloves, wash and core the green bell pepper. Coarsely chop the onion. Crush each garlic clove with the flat of the knife and then slice thinly. Coarsely chop up the bell pepper. Finely mince the cayenne pepper.

2). Put all of the veggies into a large soup pot (gallon-sized) with the olive oil, and sauté over medium heat until the garlic is browned and the onion is translucent. Add the oregano and cumin, and mix well.

4). Drain all of the beans, and add them to the pot. Put the juice from the tomatoes INTO the pot, cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and then add them as well. Add the salt, and mix well.

5). If you are going to serve the chili with rice, make sure you start your rice at the appropriate time for its cooking time.

6). Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat down a little so that it keeps a low simmer. Cover. Let simmer for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Make sure that the beans do not start sticking to the bottom of the pot, or they will burn.)

7). After the beans have simmered sufficiently, add the liquid smoke, the red wine vinegar, cocoa powder, and brown sugar. Mix well. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or so.

8). Serve over rice, and use hot sauce to taste (I particularly like the Tabasco brand smoked version a lot with this chili).

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