Get the cornbread in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 10" cast-iron skillet or 8x8 square baking pan and slide into the oven while oven is preheating and you are preparing the cornbread batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Mix the butter, milk and egg together in a separate medium-sized bowl. Gently combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the slightly heated pan, then slide into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
While the cornbread is baking, heat a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering, then add onions, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and saute gently, stirring frequently to incorporate the spices and onions. Cook for 2-4 minutes until the onions are slightly softened and starting to become translucent. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute, then add sweet pepper, zucchini and carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes more, stirring to make sure that vegetables are thoroughly coated with spices.
Turn up the heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, bay leaf and chocolate (or sugar, if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer chili for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are softened and flavors are incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut cornbread into pie-shaped wedges. Serve chili with cornbread, avocado, cilantro, green onion, sour cream and shredded cheese on the side.
Recipe by Grits and Chopsticks at https://www.gritsandchopsticks.com/the-gravy-train/2015/09/vegetarian-chili-and-skillet-cornbread.html