Friday 2 March 2012

Green Lentil Chili Cocoa Soup

I've been wanting to try out some kind of Mexican style lentil chili with chocolate  for a long time now because so many chili-loving friends go on about how amazing the addition of chocolate is. When I found out that the theme for last months We Should Cocoa challenge was meat free, savoury and chocolate I was all set to give it a go...but the month just flew by and the Willies Venezuelan Black pure cacao that I was going to buy to shave into the delicious chili I was going to make, didn't get bought.  

And I thought the Green & Black's cocoa I had in the cupboard had sugar in it and didn't want the chili to be sweet, so couldn't use it. Thus I failed the challenge.

I think I'd been more than a little seduced by the concept of the Venezuelan Black cocoa from Willies chocolate factory...I mean have you seen the website...all metaphorical bells and whistles.  Once I realised that good old Green & Black would do, I had a go...and am I pleased that I did!

I decided to use my favourite green lentils that not only have a lovely nutty flavour but also cook really quickly, partly because I love them but  also because this month's We Should Cocoa challenge is for something green to celebrate St Patrick's day.

Then I raided the vegetable box for other green things, plus a carrot for a little extra flavour and made my Green Lentil Chili Chocolate Soup. Spice-wise it's more North African than South American (except for the cocoa) but tastes amazing...even though I say so myself! 

Here's how I made it:

Green Lentil Chili Cocoa Soup


  • One stick of celery
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley plus extra to serve
  • Two savoy cabbage leaves (de-veined)
  • One small head of broccoli
  • One small carrot
  • Two cups of green lentils
  • One small onion
  • A clove of garlic
  • Harissa paste
  • Crushed chili flakes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • A dessertspoon of cocoa powder
  • Yoghurt, creme fraiche or cream to serve


  1. Wash, chop and peel if necessary the vegetables finely. They should be a similar size to the lentils. 
  2. Fry the onions until caramelised then add the crushed garlic and Harissa paste and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add all the chopped vegetables and mix well. 
  4. The same for the lentils.
  5. Top up with vegetable stock or boiling water, then check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
  6.  Add a good pinch or two of crushed chili flakes.
  7. Stir in a dessertspoonful of cocoa powder.
  8. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked.
  9. Blend the soup and then top with a little cream or yoghurt and lots of freshly chopped parsley.

The result was a very more-ish soup (parden the pun) that's substantial enough for a hearty lunch. But if I was going to use it as a starter for a three course meal my main course would be Chicken Tagine and Basmati rice. Followed by my Poached Pears with Cinnamon, Cardamom and Rosemary Sauce. 

I've also linked over to the no croutons required challenge  hosted by Lisa's Kitchen this month to make a spicy vegetarian soup. 


  1. and you can enter this into this months challenge too which is themed 'green'... genius!!!... looks very very good, I am sorely tempted to make this!

  2. This looks really good! Love your menu suggestion too! x

  3. Delicious. Thanks so much for sending this along to our event.