A healthy and hearty chili is surprisingly easy to make. It takes a bit of time, with the simmering, but it is a hands-off recipe. Add ingredients to the pot, stir a bit, cover, and let it work. Most of the time, I often have all the ingredients on hand for this chili, so whenever duty calls (aka our stomachs start to growl), we are just a couple cans and few steps away from a healthy comfort food dinner.
The secret sauce to this chili is right under our noses. It’s the sauce itself. It is responsible for all the flavor, and plays a big roll in the texture of this chili. It can’t be too thick. It can’t be too thin. It has to be just right.
In this chili we use traditional spices and a few secret ingredients that really amp up the flavor.
Here’s a breakdown of what we are throwing in the pot:
This is the main flavor base for our sauce. Deeply flavored, but not spicy, it adds smokey undertones and gives our chili its “chili” flavor.
Another standard chili spice. This ingredient is often in chili powder, but we will add a few extra dashes to create even more flavor, because of flavor = LIFE.
Used for more than garnishing deviled eggs circa 1990’s, this spice is back in the spotlight. Opt for a full-flavored smokey paprika here.
Cocoa Powder aka Super Secret Ingredient #1: I know, CHOCOLATE in chili. A tablespoon of cocoa powder is the path to chili perfection. It adds a deep rich flavor that you just can’t get anywhere else. Your chili will not taste like chocolate. I repeat, WILL NOT TASTE LIKE CHOCOLATE. What it will taste like is can-I-please-have-seconds-and-thirds-and-then-scrape-the-bottom-of-the-pot-clean-with-my-spoon.
Honey aka Super Secret Ingredient #2: Sweet honey is a perfect compliment to the smokey chili powder. It ads a very mild sweetness, and rounds out the flavors.
All of these flavors simmer away until they meld and combine to create a thick and glossy, packed-with-flavor chili.
Ingredients for Chili Beans Recipe:
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoky paprika
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can pinto beans, drained
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
- 1 tablespoon honey
For the cashew sour cream:
- 1 cup cashews
- 1/3 cup water, plus more for soaking
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Pinch salt
Directions to prepare the Chili Beans:
For the cashew sour cream:
- Place the cashews in a lidded container and cover with water. Refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, drain the cashews and add them to a high speed blender. Add in the 1/3 cup water, vinegar, and salt. Blend until smooth. Chill until ready to use.
For the chili:
- In a large pot or Dutch Oven, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and salt. Sauté until the onion is translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add in the bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- Add in the tomato paste, chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin and paprika. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the tomato sauce and 1 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the chili has simmered, add in the beans. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Add in the honey and stir to combine. Serve topped with cashew sour cream.