Eat Well Dec. 15. 2020

Chocolate-Cinnamon Walnut Chili

Dec. 15. 2020
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

A delicious hearty plant-based Chocolate-Cinnamon Walnut Chili made Cincinnati style.

This is one of my favorite recipes and packed with the nostalgia of growing up in the Midwest eating Cincinnati-style chili — it’s so delicious that we created a nourishing NS version.

It might sound like an odd ingredient combination for you if you didn’t grow up eating Cincinnati-style chili, but try this one out, it’s too good! The subtle rich dark chocolate and warming cinnamon take this chili to a whole new level of comfort.


Foundational Five Nourish Meal contains all five elements of a balanced meal: non-starchy carbohydrates, starchy carbohydrates, healthy fat, protein, and the flavor factor.

Our Foundational Five Nourish Meals can be found as smoothies, yogurts, oatmeal bowls or breakfast bowls, nourish bowls, salads, soups, stews, and many more.

If you need more support with creating balanced meals, sign up for the Healthy Eating Made Easy with The Foundational Five course.


Here are the following Foundational Five Elements in this recipe:

1 • Non-starchy Carbohydrate

  • Tomatoes
  • Serve with a salad or more vegetables of your choice

2 • Starchy or Sugary Carbohydrate

  • Lentils
  • Beans

3 • Healthy Fat

  • Walnuts
  • Olive oil

4 • Protein

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Walnuts

5 • Flavor Factor

  • Cinnamon
  • Chocolate
  • Spices and herbs

The Recipe




2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin, to taste

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 cups diced fresh tomatoes or 1, 15 ounce can

1, 15 ounces can crushed tomatoes

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup cooked brown lentils

1 cup cooked kidney beans (or about 1/2 a 15 ounce can rinsed)

1 cup cooked butter beans (or about 1/2 a 15 ounce can rinsed)

1 cup raw walnuts

3 ounces dark chocolate

2 cinnamon sticks

Garnishes: diced sweet onion, hot sauce, fresh cilantro, crushed walnuts

Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1

In a large Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos, ground cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika,  and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes so the spices become fragrant.

Step 2

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, stock, lentils, kidney beans, butter beans, walnuts, chocolate, and cinnamon sticks. Taste test while simmering; take out the cinnamon sticks when the desired flavor is reached or leave in for the full cooking time (I prefer this).

Step 3

Simmer over medium-low heat for 2 hours or more, until thickened. You may adjust the cooking time depending on how thick you like your chili. If you prefer it on the thin side, add more stock. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 4

Before serving, pick out the cinnamon sticks and adjust seasonings to your taste.

Serve the chili over gluten-free pasta for a true Cincinnati flare. Top with optional garnishes. Store in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or freeze for 2 to 3 weeks.


Can’t wait to see you try it!

Did you know that you can submit your own photo of whatever recipe you make from NS? Scroll down to the bottom right and you’ll see a section for you to show off your creations from home! Can’t wait to see how you make these and share your meal with me! Tag us on Instagram @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped

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