February 17, 2012

*Vegan* Cocoa-Coconut Chili

Personally, I am not a fan of chili. At all. It always seems to be over cooked or over stirred or over oily or too beanie or something. But part of what I love about cooking is tackling the obstacles of foods you don't love. This chili recipe has helped me over my anti-chili hurdle in a beautiful way. The mix of ingredients creates a very balanced yet decidedly different chili. The coconut milk and cocoa balances the beans in the recipe, and the hot sauce adds the perfect amount of kick. The icing on the cake was cooking the chili in my slow cooker, and having it come out perfectly. Not over cooked or mushy or anything. I love the fact you can look at your bowl and identify every single ingredient, and relish in its simplicity. Plus, did I mention the cocoa? How can you resist...

*no vegans were harmed in the making of this chili.

What's in it
1 14oz can light coconut milk (unsweetened)
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbl mild chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
3 Tbl Dutch process cocoa powder (or regular if that is what you have)
2 28oz cans diced tomatoes
1 14oz can black beans, rinsed
1 14oz can kidney beans, rinsed
1 14oz can pinto beans, rinsed
1 14oz can canellini (white) beans, rinsed
1 14oz can corn, drained
1 or 2 carrots diced (size them the same as your beans)
1 onion diced (size them the same as your beans)
1 1/2 C celery diced (size them the same as your beans)
1/2 C diced bell peppers - optional (size them the same as your beans)

How it's made
Grab your large slow-cooker. Whisk together first 9 ingredients in slow cooker until blended (coconut milk through cocoa powder). Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Turn your slow-cooker on low for 8 hours. Go away (to work, school...) and come home to delicious chili. If you have time or inclination, buy a box of corn bread mix from TJ's and make it up, or make some honey cornbread from scratch. Enjoy chili for dinner, then lunch the next day, then freeze the rest for another day. Or just invite over all your friends!

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