Most of us think of chocolate as a sweet treat to be enjoyed for dessert or as a midday pick-me-up. But to exclusively confine chocolate to these roles is to miss out on so much of its culinary potential.
The reality is that chocolate can amplify a huge variety of savory dishes by adding richness, depth of flavor, and a unique twist to otherwise familiar meals. Need convincing? Here are five savory chocolate recipes that will vanquish the idea that chocolate is only for sweet tooths.
This vegan dish will delight even your most carnivorous friends. Smokey and savory with just a hint of sweetness, the recipe combines classic chili ingredients (such as black beans, garlic, green and chipotle chilies, onion, cumin, and chili powder) with unexpected add-ins in the form of unsweetened cocoa powder and coconut flakes. Whip it all up on the stovetop or in a slow cooker and enjoy for a nutritious lunch or dinner.
A pasta dish might be the last place you’d expect to find chocolate, yet here it is. Wow your dinner guests with this rich, earthy pasta recipe, which combines sweet and creamy elements with sharp and savory flavors. The recipe features a slew of elevated ingredients such as nutty chapati flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, roasted chestnuts, gruyere cheese, shaved black truffles, smoked sea salt, and a topping of cacao nibs for some interesting texture.
Give your favorite baby back ribs recipe an upgrade with this flavorful rub. Allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and unsweetened cocoa powder combine to create a rich, warm flavor for the ribs, while the addition of mustard powder gives them a bit of a spicy kick. For best results, prep the ribs a day ahead of time and allow them to sit in the refrigerator overnight while they absorb the flavorful rub. Bake them the next day for an unforgettable dinner.
Everything about this chili nachos recipe is surprising, from using cauliflower in place of tortilla chips, to mixing cocoa powder into the chili, to topping off the whole shebang with pickled jalapeños. The cauliflower gets breaded in cornmeal before being baked to a crispy texture; the vegetarian chocolate chili boasts healthy ingredients such as onion, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and cacao powder; and a slew of garnishes complete this utterly unique appetizer or lunch.
Tomato and chocolate may sound like an unlikely pairing, but allow this soup recipe to change your mind. This soup has it all: savory comfort, a spicy kick, and a silky texture thanks to the addition of chocolate. It’s also chock full of good-for-you ingredients such as garlic, onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, olive oil, cumin, and antioxidant-rich bittersweet chocolate. Once you’ve blended it all together, serve it hot with a garnish of crème fraiche, fresh goat cheese, or queso fresco.
From soups to pastas, nachos, and everything in between, chocolate can be used to enhance a wide variety of savory dishes. As these recipes prove, chocolate’s culinary uses are limited only by your imagination.