Cacao Chili

Serves 4

This protein-packed chili is made with two secret ingredients: coffee and cacao. It’s also vegetarian and dairy, gluten, nut and soy free.

 gluten-free vegetarian cacao chili


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 dried chili peppers
  • 1 teaspoon cacao nibs
  • 1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5-ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • ¼ cup strong coffee
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.


Stir in raw honey, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, chili peppers and cacao nibs and stir until well blended.


Add beans, water, cabbage, cacao powder and coffee and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chili thickens and flavors have time to develop, about 45 minutes. Add a little more liquid if chili becomes too thick.


Sprinkle with fresh basil and pumpkin seeds before serving.


Nutrition Analysis: 1090 cal, 15 g fat, 0 mg chol, 990 mg sodium, 183 g carbs, 69 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 65 g protein.

Recipe by Amie Valpone, a Manhattan-based personal chef, culinary marketing consultant, recipe developer and food writer who specializes in simple gluten-free recipes for the home cook. She blogs at