Chilli Hotpot with Black Beans, Lentils & Chocolate

This is a simple, hearty dish that lends itself to bulk cooking. We’ve used tinned beans and lentils for speed but feel free to use home-cooked pulses. Cacao and chocolate have been used as savoury flavourings in Central America for a very long time. They add a dark and rich flavour rather than sweet and milky.

Gluten free
Wheat free
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Total time

40 minutes


Mexican, Central and South American


  • mains




  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1½ sticks celery, sliced
  • 1½ medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cored and sliced
  • 1 tin brown or green lentils (400ml/14oz tin), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 500ml/2 cups passata
  • 1 tsbp syrup (eg agave, maple etc – optional) or dark brown sugar
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 180-300ml stong vegan stock
  • 2 tsp cocoa or cacao powder OR 2-3 squares of dark vegan chocolate

Optional serving suggestions: fresh coriander, guacamole, vegan sour cream or creme fraiche, tortilla chips, brown rice, hot pepper sauce (if you like it hot!)


  1. Fry the onion until soft.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Pop in the spices then cook for another minute.
  3. Add the celery, carrots and red pepper and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the passata and the minimum amount of stock and stir in. Cook for about 10-15 minutes on a simmer or until the vegetables have softened.
  5. Add the lentils and beans. Stir again, adding more stock if needed.
  6. Add the cocoa, cacao or chocolate, the syrup (or sugar) and lime juice. Cook for another five minutes. Taste and add more stock powder, salt, syrup or lime juice if necessary.

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