Spanish Cacao Yam Chili

Day 1

Merry Christmas! Many I have talked to are hosting or attending potluck dinners tonight and on New Years Eve. I can’t think of a more magical way to celebrate the season than with friends and family gathering to share foodie favorites and to recap the year. Comfort foods of all kinds seem to be the most adored––hot artichoke & spinach dip, sweet potato casserole, butternut squash soup, and bowls of chili are often the dishes that wrap guests in coziness. This cacao-infused chili is often my contribution to holiday parties, and by the time I leave, there is not a dribble left in the pot. With every bowl, I’m asked what ingredient(s) makes it taste so rich and deeply comforting. Until now, I haven’t shared the ingredients in their entirety, but it’s Christmas Day and I feel like gifting you my “top secret” recipe.

Makes: 6-8 servings


2 tablespoons coconut oil

11/2 cups red onion, diced (about 1 large)

½ cup red bell pepper, diced (about 1 small)

4 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 medium jalapeño, finely diced

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, and minced

1 medium yam, peeled, and cut into (1-inch) cubes

1 (26.5-ounce) box crushed tomatoes or 3 medium plum tomatoes, diced with 1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1-2 teaspoons cayenne (to desired level of heat)

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon marjoram

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

3 ounces dark chocolate infused with chilies (I use Theo or Dagoba)

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon raw almond butter

1 (13.4-ounce) box red or black beans, rinsed or 2 cups cooked dried beans

Garnish options: sliced red radish, cubed or sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, chopped red and/or green onions, chocolate shavings


1.  Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large sauce pot or kettle. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeño, fresh ginger, and yam. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until onions and bell pepper are tender.

2.  Turn heat to high and add tomatoes, maple syrup, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika, marjoram, bay leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, dark chocolate, balsamic, and almond butter.

3.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for thirty to forty-five minutes.

4.  Stir in beans and heat for ten minutes more.

5.  Serve topped with garnishes of your choice.


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