Bean Chili with Walnuts & Chocolate

Friday night. Elsa is sleeping. Finally time to write that post we prepared earlier this week. I’ve been looking forward to share this recipe, as I am pretty certain that many of you will like it. This bean chili (or chili sin carne, as David calls it) is not only warm, comforting and spicy. It also has the most wonderful flavor from dark chocolate, coffee, red wine and crunchy walnuts. I seriously can’t think of a more perfect recipe to embrace autumn with.

I am dedicating this recipe to my brand new bike. Or to be more exact, to my brand new bike that got stolen three days ago. Aaaargh!!! I got to play with you for exactly 28 days. Thanks a lot.

And while I am on that subject. Let me tell you a short story about something stupid (but actually quite funny, a few days later): Remember that we were going to attend a wedding in Copenhagen. We had bought a really nice juice machine as a wedding gift. Elsa and I travelled ahead, so David was supposed to bring it with him when he flew down from Stockholm. He is a pretty distracted guy, so I emailed, called and texted him to make sure he wouldn’t forget it. As he arrived in Denmark he had actually remembered it! We met up at this restaurant (which was good, btw), and – my oh my – he also remembered to bring it with him as we left from there. When we arrived at the apartment he still carried the juice machine with him. I was wildly impressed by how he had been carrying a rather big and heavy juice machine with him that whole day. At the day of the wedding I asked him where he had put the wedding gift. He looked at me. Then looked around the apartment. Then looked at me again. “Damn, I left it on the street outside our door” …

Bean Chili with Walnuts & Chocolate
Serves 6-8

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, ghee or coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1  fresh chili, minced (more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bell pepper, red & yellow, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and finely chopped
2 large stalks of celery with top greens, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup (150 g) raw walnuts, very finely chopped
5 cups (800 g) cooked mixed beans (adzuki, kidney, black eye, borlotti)
2 x 400 g cans whole plum tomatoes
1 cup (240 ml) water
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine or balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup coffee (optional)
2 ounces (60 g) 80% dark chocolate, broken in pieces

For serving
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml) plain yogurt
1 lime, quartered
4 corn tortillas, toasted

Start by preparing all vegetables. Heat oil in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, cumin, chili, paprika and oregano, and let fry for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices smells fragrant. Be careful so they don’t burn. Add bell pepper, carrot, parsnip and celery, let cook for another couple of minutes. Add walnuts, beans, tomatoes, water and salt and let cook for 30 minutes more. Now add red wine, coffee and chocolate, stir around carefully and let cook for 5 more minutes. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve in bowls with a dollop of yogurt, fresh cilantro, lime and toasted corn tortilla.


  • Chocolate makes a chili sooo much more flavourful! I always add some good dark cacao powder to my chili, plus a good measure of red wine.. oh gosh! i havent tried adding walnuts though, sounds really interesting and will try next time!
  • Dear you guys: thank you so much for this recipe, and for everything! Your food and thoughts are so lovely, and I laughed loudly about the "chili sin carne" - perhaps, I embarrassed myself a little. Visiting your site makes me so happy and inspired. Whenever I feel bored with my cooking I see what you all are up to, and you never disappoint. Much love!
  • I've never tried chocolate chili, but now I can't resist! And I've been exploring exotic beans all week so it must be fate. Many thanks for sharing the recipe!
  • Sini
    Wow! This seems like an incredible recipe. Perfect for the colder getting days. I'm so sorry for your loss, Luise. I know how it is to loose a bike pal... :( And the thing with the juicer... Dammit. But kind of funny nevertheless. Will come back and tell you how I liked the chili!
  • TFB
    I would never have thought of that combination, it looks amazing and I cannot wait to try it out! Thanks xx
  • Lyle
    Thank you for this amazing tasting chili. I was looking for a recipe to share with friends (one who is vegetarian) and this one appeared with perfect timing. I modified it a bit using hazelnuts, fresh tomatoes, and Ghirardelli 86% chocolate (45g instead of 70g). Compliment it with a glass of Zinfandel and freshly made cornbread and it's an awesome dinner!
  • Liz B
    I don't think I've ever bean more excited to try one of your recipes!!! And i have pretty much all the ingredients in, fate! Soo sorry about your bike, how rubbish! xx
  • This sounds perfect. I love the richness of the chocolate and the addition of the walnuts too.
  • Oh my Lord..this looks sinfully amazing! I am always looking for healthy energy packed recipes, as well as meals that will satisfy the carnivore that I am married to and our carno-veggie kids. :) This will be a hit. Thanks for sharing this idea. I also blog about recipes and the healthy vegetarian lifestyles at if you are interested. Thanks again!
  • Poor David. That sounds like something I would do. I'm a meat lover, and can't imagine chili without meat- but your pot of chili looks amazing and I will have to give it a go!
  • Dagmar
    Hi Elsa, Luise and David! I was wondering how much chocolate you used for the recipe - I certainly don't have A CLUE about the amount. :-) <I would really appreciate an answer! Regards Dagmar, Denmark
    • Hi Dagmar! The recipe calls for 70 g. Most dark chocolate bars are 100 g, we used about 3/4 of a bar. We chose an 80% dark chocolate, but use what you prefer. Happy cooking! /Luise
  • Oh, I love chili in the fall/winter! Right up there with hearty stews. Sorry to hear about your bike, what a bummer. You should get a new one :)
  • Sorry about the bike! and sorry about the gift, though... it does make for a nice story to talk over a mug of this delicious meat free chili... which I am really looking forward making myself!
  • This chili looks wonderful! And the addition of chocolate is an added bonus.
  • Agnese
    Lovely recipe - perfect for cold autumn days! I also love your jumper :) its do beautiful!
  • Francesca
    Sounds so tasty!! I'll try it soon
  • Sorry to hear about the bike and the long-lost juice machine... the chili looks amazing though!
  • This is absolutely lovely sounding! So unique too!
  • Walnut in chili sound like such a great idea. I wonder what they would taste like in larger pieces, if they softened up a bit. Thanks for the great recipe and beautiful pictures to accompany.
  • Wow, this looks so amazing! And since I have all the ingredients at home I'm definitely making this this weekend. Its gotten cooler and this would be perfect.
  • now see i don't like beans but if served with walnut and chocolate I might just eat the whole bowl!
  • so perfect! It's 98' here this weekend but I will welcome this soup when it cools down!
  • Oh I'm so terribly sorry to hear that your new bike was stolen. I hate to hear stuff like that. This recipe looks wonderful - I'm looking forward to trying it soon!
  • Looks amazing!!! Cant wait to taste it :) By coffee you mean filtered? Great blog, well done!
    • Hi Van, yes we mean filtered coffee. You could also use a shot of espresso and some extra water. /David
  • But did they end up getting the gift...?! The flavors in this sounds fantastic. What a lovely way to welcome fall!
    • Nope, someone had stolen it. We got to tell our friends about how I forgot their present outside though. And we are sending a new gift straight to their home this time. /David
  • Kathi
    This looks so good! I was reading the recipe through and do you mean to use red wine or red wine vinegar? I'd like to make this over the weekend! Thanks for your help!
  • OMG that would so happen to me. Well, my husband. He's definitely the distracted on this fam- WHOA THAT LOOKS SO GOOD!
  • Sounds lovely! Can't do coffee or saute in oil.. so will try this slightly modified to fit my diet. May I share?
  • Wow, this chili looks amazing! Last time i had chocolate chili was when I went wine tasting and they had it as a sample, it was amazing! I can't wait to try your recipe!
  • Valeria
    Hello, this recipe looks absolutely gorgeous. Just wondering, do you use canned beans or do you cook them and then measure them (weigh them) out?? Thanks :)

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