Cocoa isn't only good in desserts, it also brings out the fruity undertones in this chili and adds a pleasant smokiness, says Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. The eggplant in her chili, which she likes to serve with fresh corn, over rice, or with a baked sweet potato, appears to protect your heart and lower cholesterol.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon mild chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried green lentils, washed
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 pounds eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 teaspoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat a four-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add oil, onion, and bell pepper and sauté until translucent about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, if using, and sauté for another minute, using nonstick cooking spray or a splash of water if veggies are sticking to the pan.
2. Mix in chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, and salt. Add cocoa powder and 1 cup broth and cook for about 1 more minute, stirring to dissolve cocoa. Add lentils, remaining broth, tomatoes, and eggplant. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, keeping a close eye on it. Once it's boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, until lentils are tender and eggplant is soft. Mix in agave, then taste for salt and seasoning.
3. Let chili sit for 10 minutes or so for maximum flavor, then serve garnished with cilantro, if you like.
Nutrition score per serving: 220 calories, 2g fat (0g saturated), 39 g carbs, 13g protein, 18g fiber, 10g sugars