Chocolate Chili

The image shows a pot of chili simmering on the stove. The chili appears hearty, containing ground meat, chopped carrots, and red bell peppers in a rich, thick tomato-based sauce. It looks well-seasoned with a dark reddish-brown color, indicating the presence of spices and possibly chili powder. The chili is being stirred with a dark-colored spoon.This is my favorite chili recipe. I found it online many, many years ago from a Paleo blog. I’d love to credit the creator, if I remembered who it was!

We like to make a big pot of this, usually doubling the recipe, to have healthy meals ready and waiting through the week. It’s also great to freeze for leftovers. I like that it doesn’t have beans because they don’t always agree with me, but we have made this with beans and it’s equally as good. I’ve also had clients make this vegetarian or vegan by using beans instead of meat and vegetable broth instead of the beef broth. One client even made this for a chili contest at work, and won!

I think the star of the show and the defining ingredient is the cocoa powder. I recently discovered this black cocoa powder and it’s changed my life! It has such a richness to it for any dish or dessert, and it really enhanced the rich flavor of this chili. Of course, you can use any type of cocoa powder you like or have on hand.


  • 2 T coconut Oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lbs ground buffalo
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes (I typically use regular tomatoes)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) low sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup water (optional)


  1. Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add coconut oil.
  2. When the oil is melted, add onions and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Crumble the ground meat into the pan, mixing to combine. Cook, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink.
  5. In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release the flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin,
  6. cocoa, allspice and salt.
  7. Combine well then add to the pot, stirring like you mean it.
  8. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth and water. Stir well.
  10. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the chili enjoys a good simmer. Simmer for at least 2 hours.

8 servings

Substitutions: You can substitute the meat with lean ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, elk, etc. Make it vegetarian or vegan by substituting beans instead of meat and vegetable broth instead of beef broth.