Welcome to the Dark Side

Maybe the most ardent shoppers are still shaking off crushing food comas from the previous night’s excess, but I’m ready to call it early: Black Friday has lost all credibility. Gone are the lines snaking through parking lots, populated by die-hard bargain hunters setting up camp up to a day in advance. 3 AM wake up calls are almost entirely a thing of the past, owing to advanced Thanksgiving day openings, if they didn’t simply leave those automatic glass doors yawning wide open all night long. Most notably on the list of offenses, however, is the fact that it’s not even a single day anymore. How can you call it Black Friday when the big ticket, door buster deals hit a week ago, if not earlier? Perhaps it’s just my heart that’s gone black this year, but I’m officially burned out on this buying and selling insanity.

No, on second thought, I take it back. It’s more than just my black heart speaking, it’s also the black stew percolating on the stove that’s keeping me away from the celebration of consumerism this afternoon.

There’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of darkness, especially when it comes primarily in the form of rich, nutty tahini paste. Quite the rarity despite the popularity of standard blonde sesame butter, black tahini is in a category all its own. I was lucky enough to score a jar while visiting the Living Tree Community Foods offices here in the east bay, and have been somewhat obsessed with it ever since. If you thought almond butter toast was pretty snappy, just try switching up your schmear tactics and taste the difference for yourself. A subtly bitter edge offsets its sticky decadence, lending a far more nuanced flavor profile than one might expect from this silky-smooth, raw puree.

Not to throw shade on Black Friday, but it only wishes it was half as dark as this hearty concoction of black lentils, black beans, black cocoa, and of course, black tahini. Get a healthier fix this “holiday” and save your dollars for the important things that really matter… Like more sesame paste to prepare a second round, perhaps?

Yield: Makes 6 - 8 Servings

Blackout Sesame Chili

Blackout Sesame Chili

A hearty, meatless melange of of black lentils, black beans, black cocoa, black tahini, and a fiery bite of chili spices.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, Diced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 (14.5-Ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 (6-Ounce) Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dry Black Beluga Lentils
  • 1 (16-Ounce) Can Stout Beer
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Chipotle Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Black Tahini
  • 2 (15.5-Ounce) Cans Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

To Garnish (optional):

  • 1 Cup Vegan Sour Cream
  • 3 – 4 Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Black Sesame Seeds


  1. Place a large stock pot over medium heat and add in the oil. Once shimmer, add the onion and garlic, sauteing until lightly browned and aromatic; about 6 – 8 minutes.
  2. Introduce the diced tomatoes and tomato paste next, working the paste into the scant liquid to break it down into a smooth mixture. Next, incorporate the lentils, beer, vegetable stock, maple syrup, chili powder, black cocoa, cumin, chipotle powder, and cayenne. Stir well to combine, cover, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Add tahini and black beans, mixing well to incorporate.
  4. Continue to stew, uncovered, for an additional 15 – 20 minutes until thick, rich, and piping hot. Add the lime juice and salt, adjusting both to taste as needed.
  5. Depending on your desired consistency, you may want to add more vegetable stock or water, particularly if the chili is made in advance. It tends to thicken further as it cools.
  6. Ladle out into bowls and top with sour cream, scallions, and black sesame seeds. Eat to your black heart’s content!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 594mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 7gSugar: 11gProtein: 7g

16 thoughts on “Welcome to the Dark Side

  1. Give me a Bowl of Healthy Goodness any day of the week.. I do not do Black Fridays or any other Mad shopping spree..
    Have a great weekend Hannah.. and this looks a healthy looking dish.. :-) xxx <3

  2. I’ve never had black tahini but now I think I must find some so I can make your black chili! Maybe I can find a black Friday online deal on some black tahini on Amazon!

  3. Yum! All the Black Friday shopping I did was to go to a local grocery store and get BOGO pizzas. Then I went to work, came home, and we had one. Not much buying today by me, just as I like it. :-)


  4. As with Sue above, we Aussies don’t do Thanksgiving (yet) and although the shops are doing their best to try to get us to adopt Black Friday, and with Amazon launching in Australia we now have a whole new world of “thangs” to be thankful for, and this chilli has to be right at the top of that list. Scrumptious, innovative and nothing short of what we have all come to expect from one of the interweb’s most clever vegans :)

      1. I know where to find quality information and content Ms Hannah. My RSS feed reader only has the very best and you are up there near the tippy top and have been for years now :)

  5. I’m really not a fan of Black Friday – companies trying to encourage people to buy all sorts of rubbish they don’t need. This sort of darkness is much more my kind of thing, and I’m pretty sure I need it!

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