Tonight's Beauty Supper: A Masterclass in Veggie Chili

chocolate

You know how vegetarian dishes get overspiced to the point of being too hot to taste- simply because we fear bland food? That must be one of my biggest pet peeves!

The chili recipe I'm about to share is a masterclass in creating a vegetarian dish that balances savory and sweet- and has just enough warmth. And you'll never believe the secret ingredient: dark chocolate.

Before I give you the recipe, let's look at the beauty benefits of one bowl of this deliciousness.

First, you've got ample  fiber and resistant starch, which fill you up and keeps inflammation down, making it a great choice for healthy skin and maintaining or losing weight. Next, this recipe gets its bulk from vegetables: anti-inflammatory onions & garlic, corn, eggplant and tomatoes, which pack in a major dose of skin-supporting nutrients. And don't forget the warming spices:

Cinnamon increases circulation, bringing blood to the skin's surface, and balances blood sugar. Chili pepper capsaicin amps up metabolism and reduces inflammation. And cumin seeds aid digestion and add extra iron for vegetarians.

Did I mention it tastes incredible? Don't shy away from adding the (antioxidant-rich) dark chocolate; it tones down the spice to make a warm sauce reminiscent of mole.

Here's the beautifying meal to make tonight:

Chocolate Chili

Ingredients

3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained (or kernels from 1 ear corn) 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced (about 3 cups) (I left the skin on) 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped 1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced, more or less to taste (Add if you like more heat) 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika 1/2 teaspoon chili powder Sea salt and black pepper 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted or regular diced tomatoes with juices 1 cup gluten-free vegetable broth 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method

In a large heavy skillet, roast corn kernels over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet over medium heat and cook eggplant with a pinch of salt until golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in jalapeño, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth and lime juice. Bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in corn and eggplant. Add chocolate and stir just until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.

Adapted from a Whole Foods Market recipe. Discovered thanks to my amazing sister-in-law to-be, a yoga educator at the incredible Kripalu School of Yoga.

Photo courtesy nkzs.