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.


  • Tahlia Nicole
    My tummy couldn't be happier! My bubba and I enjoyed this to the max exactly how you suggested; cilantro, yogurt and tortillas! We also enjoyed an extra glass of red on the side :) I'm forever grateful for your amazing recipes and beautiful family stories <3
  • This looks amazing! But-I'm not the biggest fan of nuts, but I'm vegetarian. Do you think this meal contains enough protein without the nuts? Or maybe it would be good with some pine nuts?
    • Yes, you could definitely try it without nuts. I would perhaps add some sunflower seeds instead. They would add a similar crunch to the texture as the walnuts. /David
  • Hi, this recipe looks lovely! Having a partner who is vegetarian this will go down well i'm sure. Do you know if it would be ok stored in portions and frozen if not eaten all at once? Many thanks Dave
  • Dear David, Luise and Elsa, I made this soup for a vegan coop meal and it was a big hit. the depth of flavors is phenomenal and the leftovers were even better the next day. I'm curious though, do you ever make corn bread to go with your chili? I know it's not as much of a thing in most of Europe, but if you all do make it I would love to know your recipe. Thank you so much for the endless culinary inspiration that is your website. All the best, Flynn
  • C
    Just want to make sure i read it right- it only takes a cup of water? Thanks. Looks yummy :)
    • Hi C, yes that is right. Only 1 cup water. But coffee, wine and tomatoes also adds liquid to it. Hope you like it! /David
  • Caitlyn
    Thank you so much! Greatly appreciate it. Looking forward to trying this out. May you have an amazing day :).
  • Caitlyn
    Sounds and looks amazing! I'm having a hard time figuring out about how many cups the 800g of cooked beans are, do you about how many cups that would be? Thank you so much!! Many blessings :).
    • Hi Caitlyn, thanks for your comment, 800g cooked beans is around 5 cups. Happy cooking /Luise
  • oh my! What happened to the wedding gift! Nice chili too, will try that one.
  • Thanks a lot for this recipe. I bought beans yesterday and wanted to make a chili sin carne. Now I stumbled upon your creation and I think it will inspire me to create something unique! :-) Thank you for your inspiration and your blog.
  • Kai
    Hello! First, I just came across your website (through a link on, and I LOVE IT. It's so beautiful, and as a fellow no-sugar-eating, whole-grain-loving vegetarian, it's *exactly* the kind of thing I get excited about. Quick question about this recipe - at what point do you add the vinegar? Is it with the tomatoes and water, or later, with the wine? Thank you! Kai
  • Made this a second time and can't get enough. Hosted a couple girlfriends from Denver and they both said it was the best chili they've eaten. Me too! Thank you GKS!
  • Kate
    thank you for sharing. Sounds amazing. I wondered if you know how much 150g and 800g is in cup form? Thank you :)
  • I love chilli! Especially on a cold day. I've never had it with walnuts or chocolate so I will have to give this a go. :)
  • Erin
    Made this last night and the chocolate was a bit overpowering- would recommend decreasing the chocolate by at least half, or maybe omitting it altogether. prior to adding the chocolate it was so beautiful in the pot!
  • I cooked this Chili a few weeks ago and loved it! The red wine and chocolate add a great depht to the dish. Thank you for sharing! Laura
  • So sorry to hear about the bikes! Love this! I'm making it tonight! Though we don't drink alcohol or coffee. What would be good substitutions for those? Thanks so much!
  • Wow. This looks incredible! And so entirely perfect for the fall!
  • Elisabeth
    I'm going to Sweden tomorrow for the weekend, and we're planning on making this - it looks so delicious, and perfect for an autumn weekend in Sweden! :D
  • Thank you so much for the inspiration! I tried a chili with espresso and chocolate just yesterday. Tasted really awesome - a great combination of flavors.
  • Love the addition of chocolate in this, must try it!
  • Made this on Thursday. What a unique idea to pair typical chili ingredients with wine, chocolate, coffee, and walnuts. It was like dessert, dinner, and drink all in one dish! The chili had a fabulously rich flavor. Oh, and it made lots too (8 servings for me instead of the 4-6 suggested).
  • Rikke
    Just made it! It's got so much flavour!! Love it!! It is creamy and heavy though - so just know what you bargain for - perfect winter meal (and so easy to make too)!!
  • I have a pot of your chili on the stove as we speak and it smells amazing! Can't wait to tuck into it later on for dinner. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. :)
  • Good luck with your cookery book:-)!
  • Rosalind Dibley
    looks truly delicious and just as nice in those lovely days of spring we are having at the moment on the other side of the world in Aotearoa. Been thinking I need to do a chilli recipe to use up the capsicums in the chest freezer before we start collecting them again.
  • Kelsey
    This looks amazing, was wondering if this freezes well? Also do you think I could follow the same instructions with a crock pot? Thanks!!
    • Hi Kelsey! Thanks, yes it freezes very well. You can easily use a crock pot and follow the same instructions. Happy cooking! Luise
  • Läste om er blogg i Elle mat och vin men hittade inte hit förens nu! Så fin och fräsch! Jag kommer garanterat att titta in här för inspiration!
  • It must be due to the weather in Sweden or something but I've been in the mood for chili all week. I love having both chocolate and espresso in mine but have never tried it with walnuts as well. Sounds divine! I love the food at BioMio and it has become my favorite place to grab a bit in Copenhagen. :)
  • Cristine
    Thank you for this recipe. I made it yesterday, it's wonderful! The walnuts give it a lovely texture, and the chocolate makes it really dark and autumny. I had it with guacamole, very nice! Thanks again!
  • This looks yummy and easy. Thanks for sharing.

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