Chipotle Cocoa Three-Bean Chili

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It’s vegetarian, gluten-free, prepared in one pot and oh-so satisfying.
chipotle cocoa three bean chili recipe: chipotle cocoa three-bean chili in a bowl, topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, cherry tomatoes, scallions and Fritos
Shelly Westerhausen Worcel/Every Season Is Soup Season

Chili is a cold-weather essential at our house. Whether it’s a low-lift weeknight dinner or a game-day crowd-pleaser, a mélange of beans, vegetables and spices is a surefire win. Next on our to-cook list is this smoky, spicy version with an unexpected ingredient. Presenting the chipotle cocoa three-bean chili from Shelly Westerhausen Worcel’s new cookbook, Every Season Is Soup Season.

“I make this chili recipe often when having friends over because it’s not only inexpensive and delicious but also works with lots of different diet preferences (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free), so I don’t have to worry about making different versions for everyone,” she writes. “I always put out a variety of toppings so my guests can customize to their liking.”

The leftovers will keep in an airtight container for three days in the fridge or three months in the freezer. To let your Crockpot do the heavy lifting, simply sauté the vegetables and spices in a pan, add the tomatoes to deglaze, then transfer with the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook for four hours on high. Ta-da.

Excerpted from Every Season Is Soup Season by Shelly Westerhausen Worcel, © 2023. Published by Chronicle Books. Photographs © Shelly Westerhausen Worcel.


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 red onion, diced

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 to 2 chipotles in adobo, chopped

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

½ tablespoon brown sugar

½ tablespoon smoked paprika

½ tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for serving

2½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth

One 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed

One 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed

One 14-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed

One 14½-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

One 4-ounce can diced green chiles

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, avocado, cherry tomatoes, green onions, Fritos and/or tortilla chips, for serving (optional)


1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the red onion and bell pepper and sauté until soft, 7 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotles, chili powder, cocoa powder, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt and sauté until the spices are fragrant and have coated the vege­tables, about 30 seconds.

2. Pour in the vegetable broth, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, tomatoes with their juice and green chiles. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until the chili thickens and reaches your desired consistency, 10 to 15 minutes more. (It will thicken more as it cools as well.)

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls, add toppings (if using) and serve.

Nutrition Facts
  • 696 calories

  • 11g fat

  • 116g carbs

  • 14g protein

  • 9g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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