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Sweet Spicy Chili

sweet spicy chili

The secret is the cocoa, really! This spunky, chunky, spicy chili is a cool starter when topped with cold soy sour cream and fresh avocado slices. Adjust the heat to your liking by tweaking the ancho chile powder, cayenne and paprika.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8 Starter ServingsServings


  • 1/4 cup ancho chile powder
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on desired heat
  • 1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green, red, orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans
  • Guacamole or sliced avocado, for serving
  • Soy sour cream, for serving
  • Multi-color tortilla chips, for serving
  • Fresh torn cilantro leaves, optional


1 Combine ancho chile, cayenne, paprika, cumin, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
2 Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Cook and stir onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ground
beef and garlic. Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink, breaking up any large chunks, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the spice mixture. Cook and
stir until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.
3 Stir in the bell peppers, tomato puree and water. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook about 1 hour. Stir in the
beans, and continue to simmer, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes more. Adjust seasoning to desired taste.
4 Serve hot with dollops of chilled guacamole and soy sour cream and a handful of chips.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves if desired.