Cocoa-Coconut Chili

Have you ever had someone in your life that you just irrationally disliked?  There’s no true reason or you-are-damned-forever-moment that made you look at the person one day and think, “We are never, ever, ever going to be friends.”  Yet the sentiment is there all the same.  I used to think it was okay to have one of each gender.  I rationalized it as, hey, everyone’s entitled to dislike two people in the entire world for whatever reasons – or no reasons – they want.  It’s not like the person knows you don’t like them.  I’m never outwardly rude to anyone, even if they’re not on my buddy list.  What’s the real harm?

Of course, all of this is incredibly stupid.  And incredibly wrong.  In law school, I had these people I wrote off for ridiculous reasons.  Sometimes it was my own hangups, other times it was the people around me.  I decided one day that I didn’t like them and that was it.  Story over.  Start the next one so I can find someone else to needlessly dislike.

The final year of law school is very strange.  You’ve been with the same crop of people for three years and you all sort of share this weird weathered feeling of, we made it, man.  Because no one else really understands what you’ve gone through or how much work, time, and spent highlighters you’ve put in.  This year I took a look at those people that I’d written off from the moment I met them and realized I’d never actually gotten to know them in the first place.  And when I did, they weren’t half bad.  Are we best friends?  Absolutely not.  But when you take the time to actually talk to people and hear their stories you realize that everyone has something you can like.  You just need to be willing to look.

As I move into November, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m thankful for.  Down here at school my friends top the list, and not only my close ones.  Sometimes when you’re having a crappy day all you need is a smile or hello from someone to start turning the day around.  When you don’t shut yourself off from people needlessly, there are a lot more of those smiles and hellos to go around.  And, who knows, your smile or hello could turn that person’s day around, too.

So, now that I got that little ramble off my chest it’s time for a recipe!  Because, as I remind you after every rambling post not even hinting at food, this is a food blog.  Which requires food to be somewhere on the page.  Today I bring you one of my absolute favorite things I’ve made as of late.  I’ve been trying to make a soup a week because they’re usually pretty healthy (I stay away from cream based soups) and inexpensive.  One of my favorites to make is chili.  I love how hearty and satisfying a bowl of chili is.  It truly is the ultimate comfort food.

This bowl of chili pretty much turns the definition of chili on its head.  There’s no meat.  A pretty meager chili spice blend.  And coconut.  A lot of coconut.

I was a bit leery to try this – as were my parents when I told them about it over the phone – but it’s a winner.  The unexpected flavors play off of each other beautifully, and just like all chills and soups, it gets EVEN BETTER the longer it sits in your refrigerator.

Cocoa-Coconut Chili

2014-10-29 23.00.00


1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups onion, diced

1 1/2 cups celery, diced

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

4-6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp sea salt

dash of pepper

2 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp allspice

3 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder (or just Hershey’s if you’re cheap like me)

2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes

3 cans chick peas (or whatever bean you prefer)

1 can lite coconut milk

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tsp chipotle hot sauce

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1-2 fresh limes, cut in wedges

pepitas, for garnish


Heat a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the oil, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, cinnamon and all spice and stir to combine.  Cook and cover for 7-9 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.  Add the cocoa powder, stir, and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Next, add the tomatoes, beans, coconut shreds, coconut milk, and stir to combine.  Increase heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, letting it cook for 25-30 minutes.  Stir in the frozen corn kernels and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the corn is cooked through.  Season with salt, pepper, and chipotle sauce if desired.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with the pepitas and a squeeze of lime.

Source:  Slightly adapted from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan


12 thoughts on “Cocoa-Coconut Chili

  1. now that IS different! But I’d try it for sure and you make it look good 🙂 Excellent thoughts on people and friendship. Presented very lawyer-ey, too 😉 Totally agree-can’t just write folks off. We’re all on this planet together and we all have are own stories. Compassion is a very good thing.

  2. I definitely felt that way about my med school classmates…I did make a few close friends but there were a lot of people I just flat out didn’t like. And then when they graduated, there was totally this nostalgic feeling! It was weird.

    I love love love cocoa in my chili and I feel like coconut sounds like a pretty perfect addition also. Comfort food love!

  3. Ha! Girl, you are like a mind reader! I was just talking about the concept of having people in your life that you don’t like with a friend! This chili sounds great too 🙂

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