The Best Tempeh Chili
The Best Tempeh Chili- this hearty and wholesome chili is the best comfort food for a chilly fall evening. Packed with flavor and texture, each bowl serves up 20g of plant-based protein!
Earlier this year we took a road trip to Florida to spend time with family. During our stay we were able to try some new-to-us restaurants in Orlando that really knocked our socks off. One of the dishes I had was tempeh chili at a cozy little vegetarian spot called Infusion Tea.
The texture of the chili was so meaty and the flavor so rich, I was in comfort food heaven. That was back in March so I’ve been waiting a while to share my version here but now that we are feeling cooler temperatures, the time has come for you all to experience it too.
The Best Tempeh Chili Ingredients
The ingredient list might seem lengthy but most everything can be found in a well-stocked pantry!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 1/4 cup of oil might seem like a lot but we need more since we’re browning the tempeh to start. Since tempeh is a relatively low-fat food, we need the oil to help keep it from sticking to the pot. Alternatively, to make this oil-free, you could use 1/4 cup of broth instead.
- Tempeh- If you’re new to tempeh, this is a great recipe to start with because the flavor blends seamlessly with all of the chili spices. Most of the tempeh you can find at the store is soy-based but there are also plenty of soy-free options out there. I like a brand called Hempe which is made from chickpeas and hemp seeds.
- Onion, Bell Pepper, and Garlic- This trio creates a flavor base, texture and lots of healthy goodness for our chili.
- Cumin, Chili Powder, and Smoked Paprika- These are my go-to spices as they pair well together and give a nice punch of flavor.
- Espresso Powder- If you’re nervous to put espresso powder in your chili, don’t be! It won’t taste like coffee, I promise. This was actually my first time using it in chili (because that’s what the recipe at Infusion Tea calls for) and I loved it. It just adds an earthy depth that will make you question why this chili is so much better than others that you’ve tried.
- Diced Tomatoes- Tomatoes enrich the savory flavor and offer a healthy dose of vitamin C and lycopene which is great for immune health and clear skin.
- Kidney Beans and White Beans- Using two different types of beans keeps things interesting. Feel free to replace one or the other with black beans, if you prefer.
- Corn- Fresh or frozen corn kernels will both work. If you’re not into corn (who even are you) then you can omit it.
- Vegetable Broth- Adding broth allows the spices to infuse the liquid as it cooks down. Better than Bouillon is my all-time favorite broth.
- Roasted Cashews- Nuts might seem like a weird addition to chili but I love the texture and the flavor they add. That said, if you need to make this nut-free you can easily leave them out or sub roasted sunflower seeds (that have been finely chopped).
- Toppings- Although I could happily eat this chili all on its own, I love adding ALL the toppings to take it to the next level. Plain dairy-free yogurt, shredded cheese (or creamy nacho cheese!), avocado, lime juice and cilantro are my faves.
How to Make Tempeh Chili
Finely chopping your ingredients in a food processor is totally optional but it does help to save time. You just have to be *very* careful not to over-process them because that will make the chili lose it’s meaty texture!
- Sauté your crumbled tempeh until brown then set aside.
- Cook the onion, pepper and garlic for several minutes. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes more.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes, broth, corn, beans, tempeh, and cashews. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until liquid has reduced and everything is infused with goodness.
- Serve warm with desired toppings and enjoy!
Looking for more cozy fall recipes?
- Fluffy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
- The Best Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- Easy White Bean Chili
- Vegan Thai Pumpkin Curry
- Roasted Acorn Squash and Apple Soup
- Easy Vegetable Minestrone Soup
- Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Stew
The Best Tempeh Chili
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 30 ounces diced tomatoes, with their juices
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans
- 1 15-ounce can white beans
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup roasted cashews, finely chopped
- salt & pepper, to taste
- serving suggestions: dairy-free yogurt/shredded cheese, lime juice, avocado and cilantro
- In a large pot, warm ½ of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the tempeh and cook until browned. Scoop from pot to a plate then set aside.
- To the pot, add the remaining oil. Cook the onion, bell pepper and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and espresso powder. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Next, pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices, kidney beans, white beans, corn and broth. Add the tempeh back to the pot along with the chopped roasted cashews. Bring to a low boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the liquid has reduced.
- Serve warm with desired toppings and enjoy! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Well…I saw this & thought “Do I really need another chili recipe”?
And as I typically do, I scrolled to the ingredients list…I can usually tell if flavors interest me. And they did.
But do I really need another chili recipe.
So began to look at pics more closely.
And the texture immediately grabbed me. Not what I typically go for with chili…
My mind began to imagine how I could use this dish. In different ways than a nourishing bowl of goodness.
Fill a pita bread.
Wrapped up in a soft tortilla.
On top of scrambled eggs.
Biscuits? Instead of gravy?
As part of a bowl with, I don’t know, sautéed greens, roasted vegetables, red rice, quinoa…
I’ve never thought of chili in these ways before.
Yes. I do need another chili recipe. :-)
Oh! A hollow of polenta filled with this chili!
(and my mind continues)