Skip to Content

Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew With Cocoa

This Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew is one heck of a hearty stew with clean-out-your-pantry ingredients like canned tomatoes and canned beans uniting in a spice and cocoa flavored broth!

Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew

Twenty years ago if you had told me I could have chocolate for dinner, I would have rushed to the store to get myself a Cadbury bar! But, today, my idea of chocolate for dinner is a tad bit different.

With the popularity of mole sauces and chocolate rubbed meats, chocolate for dinner isn’t what it used to be. A few years ago, I stumbled on a chili recipe by Emeril Lagasse that made use of a dark ale and dark chocolate. The combination of the dark ale and dark chocolate resulted in an unforgettable chili with such a delightfully deep layering of flavors that it convinced me to add cocoa and/or an ale of sorts to an otherwise dull recipe to give it some much needed oomph! And, that’s how this Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew With Cocoa made it’s way onto this little space of mine.

Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew

Last Monday I was on the cusp of what was going to be a busy week so I figured I would make some sort of slow cooker stew that would leave my daughter and I with leftovers for the entire week. As I also needed to clean out my pantry, I figured I would just toss all the stuff that was close to expiry into this stew. I rummaged around and ended up with a can of fire roasted tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes and chilies, a can of chickpeas, a can of black beans, a canister of vegetable stock, some mung beans and a can of tomato paste – that all ended up in my slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew

Now, I am a huge fan of “a lotta spice is always nice,” so I decided to dry roast some garam masala and add it to the contents of the slow cooker. But, I really wanted to oomph up the flavor of the beans and tomatoes even more, so, I also caramelized some onions (in the same pan that I dry roasted the garam masala in) and threw them into the slow cooker as well. At this point I felt a couple of teaspoons of cocoa would mesh well with the garam masala and tomatoes and added that in too and didn’t mess with this stew for the rest of the afternoon. I am no expert, but I have found that with cocoa (just like with salt) a little can go along way in adding a smooth, rich, creamy, delightful layer of flavor to any savory dish it is used in.

Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew

Later that evening, my daughter lifted the lid off this Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew and the aroma was intoxicating! We enjoyed bowlfuls of that stew that first night and the second and the third and the forth, with crispy bread on some nights and rice on others. When we were down to the last bit of this stew, my daughter suggested we pile a mound of Monterey jack cheese and cheddar cheese on it, bake it, and enjoy it as a dip with nachos – and enjoy it we did!

So, what are your thoughts on chocolate for dinner?

[Tweet “Gotta try this Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew w/ Cocoa 4 #dinner 2nite”]

Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew

Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew With Cocoa

4.41 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 10 -12 servings
Author: Shashi
This Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew With Cocoa is so rich and creamy - thanks in part to blend of tomatoes, garam masala and cocoa!


  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 10 oz can tomatoes and chilies
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 4.5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups dry uncooked mung beans
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 15.25 oz can black beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa


  • Add fire roasted tomatoes, tomatoes with chilies, tomato paste, vegetable stock, mung beans and garlic to a slow cooker and turn it on high an cover for 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, add garam masala to a small frying pan and roast over a low flame, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. When it begins to smell a bit more pungent, take it off the stove and add it into the contents of the slow cooker.
  • Then, add some olive oil to the same frying pan and add the onions to it. Let the onions caramelize over a low flame, stirring often - when well caramelized (about 20-25 minutes) add it to the slow cooker as well.
  • Also at this point, add in the cocoa, chickpeas and black beans. Place the lid on and let it cook.
  • When it's done, turn the slow cooker onto low for another hour and then this Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew With Cocoa is ready to enjoy.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @SavorySpin or tag #savoryspin so we can share your ceation.
Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew
Slow Cooker Three Bean Stew

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

  1. I have never tried a mole sauce but with so little actual cocoa in it, it sounds great. I am not a fan of chilli chocolate main courses. For dessert I don’t mind that at all 🙂

  2. Ben Maclain says:

    You know what’s interesting? You know I love lavender, and I add it in everything; I’ve even attempted meat. However, I’ve never used cocoa/chocolate in savory things although it’s quite common. I need to fix this ASAP. This dish looks fantastic. And that last picture, with the melted cheese, is just a killer. Congrats Shashi – you’ve just ruined my day. Probably, I’ll be thinking about this deliciousness for all day:)

  3. Vik says:

    This looks amazing! Love the idea of garam masala + chocolate.

  4. Maria says:

    Love the spices!

  5. Chocolate for dinner? Yes, sign me up I love everything about this stew (especially the cleaning out the cupboards part). It sounds like it really has a rich flavor, too! So nice!

  6. Catherine says:

    Dear Shashi, I’ve never tried chocolate in savory dishes, but it is something I am very interested in trying. I would never have thought to add it to chili, but I’m sold on this stew. I love all the flavors of this dish…it’s hearty, healthy and comforting…everything I want in a winter dish. Looks marvelous dear. xo, Catherine

  7. Taylor Kiser says:

    Oh I can just imagine the intoxicating aroma as this is cooking! It seriously looks so delicious! Love that it’s a cook once and get several night’s dinners from it!

  8. Ashley says:

    Yesss! I love the flavor that a touch of cocoa can add to soups & stews & sauces! This sounds sooo good! And huge plus that it’s in the crockpot!

  9. GiGi Eats says:

    Cocoa Beans… Cocoa Bean Stew. Except totally NOT at all. Ha Ha.

  10. That sounds incredible! All about adding that deep cocoa flavor in the background! And so bean packed! Tis perfect for a cold winter night!

  11. Mary says:

    I’m always up for a hearty slow cooker stew in the winter. Being a pescetarian, someone that doesn’t eat meat, I’m surprised I’ve never made bean stew, but all that changes this week. The forecast calls rain, and I need something hearty and healthy to keep me warm. This recipe fits the bill! Can’t wait to try it.

  12. Lindsay says:

    Love the addition of cocoa! Want to bring me some and we can devour it together! Maybe after we go snowshoeing? Hehe

  13. Bean stew with cocoa? Wow! I am so much loving the sound of this stew. Something I will have to try real soon. Loved that gorgeous colors and fantastic flavors. 🙂

  14. You girls did enjoy this stew, every last spoonful!!!! I love that it’s primarily leftovers from your pantry. I’m needing to cook down the contents of my pantry because we are moving soon. So I’m def. taking notes here. I can imagine the cocoa really adds a depth and richness. I’ll be caramelizing onions for a recipe I’m making tomorrow. Sure hope it comes out as great as this stew! Have a wonderful week my friend! XO

  15. Platter Talk says:

    Not only do I love the recipe and all the ingredients, the ease and fact that the is a “munch on” any time meal is wonderful. Healthy and warming in these winter months.

  16. Oh my, what a gorgeous stew. I have some leftover canned tomatoes in the fridge so I am surely trying it!

  17. Lol- I love that saying, “a lot of spice is always nice”, I’m totally stealing that. 😉 And you are right, chocolate for dinner does look a lot different than it used to! My dad, back in the day, would have said chocolate for dinner looked like a pint of ice cream. LOVE this stew, Shashi! So much flavor and such a great way to empty out the pantry! Looks absolutely delicious, my friend! Cheers!

  18. I am all about a cupboard-cleaning adventure…and this slow cooker stew sounds like the way to go! Normally I too would turn my nose up at chocolate for dinner, but it totally works in stews and similar dishes (like that Cincinnati Chili I posted back in the fall….crazy stuff!) This sounds like my kind of meal. Let the slow cooker sit there and do all the work, and then just enjoy the benefits! Also, the dry roasted garam masala? Pure genius! I totally need to try that next time. (Speaking of roasting, I saw roasted cinnamon in the store the other day…intriguing, right?)

  19. Oh my goodness, YES!!!!!!! I love any type of bean and this looks amazing! I’m with you – a lotta spice is always nice! The more the better 🙂 And the garam masala and cocoa powder must add a delicious flavour to the dish. I can smell it now! Plus, you put cheese on top?! Oh the possibilities. As soon as I read the suggestion of nachos I knew I have to make this! I’m all for making a big pot of something and eating throughout the week. Just the past Sunday I made a huge slow cooker pot of soup and it is just so darn convenient to have all week for lunches. Pinning this one and can’t wait to make. Love it!!

  20. Veena says:

    I really need to invest in a slow cooker. I love the simplicity of this dish. So healthy too!

  21. Priya says:

    This reminds me of the way we make mixed dal. So healthy and delicious!

  22. Sarah says:

    Not only does this look delicious, but I LOVE that it’s made in a slow cooker!

  23. Exactly what I NEED now! This is simple, fuss free and so delicious!