Chipotle Chili Mole

There’s something about the cold that just makes me crave a stick-to-your-bones, hearty, spicy chili. A few years ago (when I was still living with roommates and was lucky one had a slow cooker) I was obsessed with making a big pot of turkey chili mole. There was something about the richness that came from the chocolate that pushed the chili from good to great. Now that I’ve got my hands on my very own slow cooker, I decided to recreate that flavor – rich, smokey, and spicy. This chipotle chili mole will definitely warm you up on a cold day, and keep you full for hours. (And don’t worry if you don’t have a slow cooker – letting it simmer on the stovetop creates the same effect).


What you’ll need: 

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I like my chili pretty spicy, if you don’t – feel free to just use one or half a pepper)
  • 3 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, water reserved
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • juice from one lime, optional
  • vegan sour cream for garnish, optional
  • fresh cilantro for garnish, optional
  • avocado for garnish, optional

Start by chopping your onion and mincing the garlic – to make this step easier, toss onion and garlic into a food processor and pulse until everything is well chopped. Since it’s all going into soup, I process mine quite a bit – I don’t like biting into a piece of onion – but that’s just preference. In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil and cook until the onion is softened and gets translucent. Transfer the mixture to your pot or slow cooker. My slow cooker only has two heat settings – low & high. I went with low, but if you’re going stove-top I think a medium to higher heat setting would be sufficient.


In your food processor (or kitchen ninja) puree the chipotle peppers until they’re like a paste. Since the peppers were in a sauce already, this helped in the pureeing process. Add them to the slow cooker as well.

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Add the spices and cocoa to the slow cooker, stirring until everything is well mixed. Then add the beans, water and tomatoes. I didn’t drain the tomatoes and instead used the water they were canned in to add to the pot. If you prefer to separate out, add another half cup or so of water to the pot to make sure everything’s covered. Place the cover on the cooker (or pot) and let the chili simmer for a bit. I let mine simmer for at least 2 hours, letting all those flavors mix together. We were starving and decided to dig in after two hours, but if I had time to let it sit longer I would have. The next day the leftovers were terrific – and it’s largely because the flavors had more time to really meld.

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When you’re ready to eat, add the juice from one lime to the pot if you like a little zesty hint to your chili. I also find this cuts the heat a bit, if you find it’s too spicy. Top with vegan sour cream, fresh cilantro and avocado and you’ve got a delicious dinner that will really hit the spot and warm you up after a cold day. The smokey chipotle mixed with the richness of the cocoa and the tart kick from the lime made this a real treat for our tastebuds.

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14 responses to “Chipotle Chili Mole

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