Chipotle and Black Bean Tempeh Chili
Making chili should be an easy, homemade treat, but chili competitions and throwdowns can make it feel like it should be Instagram-ble or worthy of excessive scrutiny. Add to that pressure an assumption that meat has to be central to chili and tempeh chili would not be a contender for a comforting, satisfying homecooked meal.
Thow aside some tradition and popular needs to compare and judge what makes chili and you end up with a dish that pays homage to chili flavors and textures but uses the plant-rich tempeh to boost fiber and nutrients.
Ultimately chili is about the flavor and texture. Make a sassy spice mix and create an appetizing chew or density and tempeh can sub in for a meat protein.
4 teaspoons chili powder (if mild, add more)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Tip: Make a double batch and store half for second chili batch or rub on other ingredients.
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound (2-8 ounce packets) soy or grain tempeh, crumbled by hand
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 2 ½ cups)
3 medium-sized cloves of garlic, minced
Spice mix—about 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce (of use ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce–canned (about 2 tablespoons minced) (substitute—see notes)
3 cups water or vegetable stock
2 (15 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained (or use diced tomatoes)
2 cans (15 ounce) black beans, liquid poured off or drained (see notes)
Juice of 1 lime (about 1 Tablespoon) (a second-best option is red or cider vinegar)
Optional Toppings: 1 avocado, diced, ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, dab of Greek yogurt
Chipotle options: Substitute with chili flakes and smoked paprika
- Heat oil in a large pot (4-quart) over medium-high heat. Add crumbled tempeh to hot oil—do not stir. Stirring encourages steaming and reduces surface contact that browns the tempeh faster. Once it starts to brown, stir periodically while it browns in parts (about 5 minutes more). Reduce heat if it begins to stick or burn.
2. With a spoon, push tempeh to the sides of the pan leaving the center of the pan exposed. Reduce the heat to low. To the center of the pan, add the onion, garlic, spices, tamari and chipotle. Stir the onion mix leaving the tempeh against the sides of the pan. Cook 5 minutes or until onions soften.
3. Add the water and tomatoes. Bring to a rapid simmer, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Add the black beans, stir and prepare the topping garnishes.
5. Stir in the lime juice, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Remove from the heat. Garnish each bowl with avocado and cilantro.
- Wear gloves when handling chilies–the oils are difficult to wash off your fingers. Canned chipotle peppers (smoked jalapeños) in adobo sauce add heat and a smoky flavor and are available in supermarkets. Refrigerate extra in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks or 6 months in the freezer
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