Foodie Friday: Chocolate Cinnamon Chili

By Shannon Franz

Several years ago, I heard about chocolate in chili and I thought that just sounded wiggety-wack. However, I’m not the type to back down from a new culinary adventure, so I tried it and was impressed. I decided to add in some cinnamon and other spices to that idea and really liked it! The awesome thing about chili is that you can customize it to your own tastes, so if you prefer kidney beans instead of the barlotti’s, or pintos instead of garbanzo’s, or cremini mushrooms instead of shiitakes, change it up! Of course, feel free to sub in your favorite happy chili protein (cooked already, around a pound) in place of one of the cans of beans. In the past, I’ve made this chocolate cinnamon chili with ground beef and it was awesome! This is also a fairly quick meal to make as long as the beans are cooked. Whether you earned bonus points by cooking your own from scratch, or use canned beans (like I went with). With the chopping of the veggies, and the chili cook time, you’re probably looking at approximately an hour to get it all together and on the table. Feel free to play around with the spiciness too – this was on the spicier end of the spectrum for me. Try not to leave off the avocado – that makes it extra delish!

Chocolate Cinnamon Chili

Makes about 4 large servings



1-3 Tbsp coconut oil

1 large bell pepper (any color)

8-10 medium sized shiitake mushrooms, chopped

1/2 large red onion, diced

7 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp cacao powder

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1/4 tsp salt 

1/2 tsp black pepper

24 oz strained tomatoes

1 pound cooked ground beef, if using (best if you sub in the pound of meat for a can of beans below)

13 -15 oz (whichever size is available) each, drained and rinsed:

  • garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • barlotti beans
  • cannellini beans
  • black beans
Chocolate Cinnamon Chili Bowl

To top each bowl

1/2 avocado per bowl, freshly sliceddark chocolate pieces to shave over the toppinch of cinnamonsalt and pepper to taste


In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot, melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil over medium-low heat. In this order, slowly add in each ingredient, sautéing each for a few minutes in between each veggie, to help soften: bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, onion, garlic. Stir often to be sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom; you may need to add in an additional 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil to prevent sticking. Add in the spices starting with the cacao powder through the black pepper, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes, until the spices become fragrant. Gently stir in the strained tomatoes and all of the drained and rinsed beans. Bring to a boil (stir often to see if you need to add in a little water to prevent sticking on the bottom), then lower the temperature to low and simmer 5-10 minutes, until everything is warmed, stirring often. Ladle into bowls and top each bowl with a 1/2 avocado, salt and pepper and shave some dark chocolate over the top, with a little sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Happy meaning that, if it’s possible, it’s best to source animals that have had a really happy free range, hormone-free and anti-biotic free life. If you’re able to find organic as well, that’s even better for you own health. I realize this isn’t always possible, but if there is a farmer in your area, go visit their farm to see how they raise their animals. Ask questions about their methods to be sure you’re supporting the humane treatment of animals. You’ll also be supporting a local business, which is great! If the grocery store is the only choice, look for the words “Free Range”, “Humane”, “Organic”, “No Hormones”, “No Anti-biotics”, and if possible, “Local”.

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