My husband and I love a good hearty warm chili on cold winter days. We love it beefy, but have tried to lower our meat intake and eat more vegetarian options for our health’s sake and also because we’re picky on what type of meat we eat these days. Chili can still be satisfying, warming and a great cold weather food without being heavy. Quinoa is a great way to add nutrition to a comfort food like chili. It’s protein rich
Once we tried a chili recipe with chocolate in it a couple years back, we knew we were fans. I thought the bold flavor of such a chili would make for a real fine vegetarian version once I could adjust it to our liking. I actually came up with this recipe with what I happened to have on hand in my fridge and pantry. It’s easily modifiable to suit your spicy or not so spicy needs. My husband was pleasantly surprised with what he said was a “beefy flavor,”which he believes is because of the quinoa addition. We both like spicy chili, but have to keep the heat level down for the kids’ sake so you’ll see there are optional ingredients in the chili recipe if you also like to add more heat.
Slow Cooker Chili
I like to make cooking as easy as possible so if I have the option of slow cooking, I will. Also, when I use the slow cooker/crock pot I prefer to just add the ingredients and let it do it’s magic. To me that’s the point of a slow cooker, not to pre-cook a bunch of stuff and then toss it in. So, in this chili recipe you’ll see that you literally toss ALL the ingredients in it and start the timer. Let the slow cooker do your cooking for you.
Smoky & Slightly Sweet
I personally love smokey flavors so I use smoked paprika and a wonderful dark smoked chili powder I buy now locally from a farmer’s market/spice shop. These two ingredients give this veggie chili a nice smoky undertone and great smell to your kitchen.
The very subtle, and I really mean subtle sweetness which is more of a cocoa flavor is from the cacao powder (not cocoa) and very dark chocolate I use in this recipe. I use a 70-88% dark chocolate. Let’s not forget, it’s the really dark stuff (I’m not talking about the junky high fructose syrup laden chocolate) that has the great health benefits. We should not argue with scientific evidence, especially when talking about chocolate, right?!
So give chocolate a try in chili, it gives it a great unexpected flavor.