Monday, November 18, 2013

The Ultimate Tempeh Chili

The Ultimate Tempeh Chili

I've wanted to do a tempeh chili for a while now, and with the temperatures steadily on the low here in So Cal it's the perfect time of year to bring out the chili recipes. Tempeh makes for a great addition to any chili giving it an extra hearty feel and enhancing the protein & fiber content. With almost 20 grams of protein per 100 grams (about 3.5 oz.) of tempeh, add that to the high protein beans called for in this recipe and you've got yourself a great high protein chili to keep you feeling full while meeting your daily protein requirements easily. I've been trying to incorporate an extra dose of protein into my diet lately without having to use protein smoothies and this chili has been on my weekly rotation. I've played around with the recipe and have kept it fairly simple. Please keep in mind that tempeh is a soy product, and although it is a good soy product for you unlike some soy products it is best in moderation...once or twice a week is fine. You can feel good about having this once a week or every now and then. Gather your ingredients and make yourself a bowl of chili that will warm you up and keep you feeling great!

The Ultimate Tempeh Chili The Ultimate Tempeh Chili

I did include a bottle of dark beer and loved the flavor it gave it. This Negra Modelo is perfect for cooking with and it's vegan friendly! This can be optional but well worth the added flavor, it rounds out the chili beautifully making it one of the best chili's I've ever had. The alcohol will for the most part burn off while simmering leaving the delicate characteristics behind. If your looking to minimize the alcohol content, take a look at the Alcohol Burn Off Rate Chart to find how long you should simmer your chili. If you've never made chili with beer before I recommend trying it, at least once! I used Negra Modelo here but you could also try a chocolate stout like Boatswain Chocolate Stout which is also vegan friendly. Whatever liquids you choose just be sure it equals about 2 cups.

The Ultimate Tempeh Chili

A great go to one pot, hearty, high protein chili to enjoy anytime the craving calls!

The Ultimate Tempeh Chili
The Ultimate Tempeh Chili

  • 1 8oz. package tempeh (I used this three grain tempeh), crumbled
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1/4 cup water, for sauteing
  • 1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced fire roasted tomatoes and juices or 3 cups fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced mild green chilies or 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, optional
  • Salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 bottle dark beer (Negra Modelo 1 bottle = 1 1/2 cups) plus 1/2 cup additional water or 2 cups water
  • scallions, for garnish

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat your oil/water over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, spices and tempeh and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add beans, tomatoes, green chili/bell pepper and dark beer/water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 1 hour.

This would be fantastic with a dollop of this Basic Cashew Sour Cream or Lime-Cilantro Cashew 'Sour Cream'. Serve with green onions and/or cilantro as well.

Serves 4 to 6.


Mix the beans up however you like using all of one type or your favorite combination. If you would rather use only 2 cans of beans, that's great too! I like adding more ingredients as it makes the chili go further. If using your own cooked beans you'll need about 4 1/2 cups.

Feel free to use 2 packages tempeh instead of just 1. At times I like the extra dose of protein the tempeh adds and will double the amount making for an extra hearty chili. So good! 

For those who do not care for the taste of tempeh, I recommend making this a day ahead so the flavors really meld into the tempeh masking most of it's natural flavor. Or try using the three grain tempeh as its flavor is not as strong.

If you find you added to much heat from the chipotle, try adding a teaspoon or so of cocao/cacao powder or organic sugar.



  1. I will be making this very soon! Yum!

  2. Your recipe seems very tasty and healthy. I will try it very soon.

    Mangosteen Juice

  3. This looks delish- although I will be leaving out the beer. I often add a little cocoa powder to chillis- do you think that would work here?

  4. Love the beer addition here. Can't wait to try this!

    1. I love it here! It adds such nice notes and flavor. Hope you love it too!

  5. It has been in the -30's where I live and having this Tempeh Chili to eat all week was delicious and just what I was craving. I will be making more this weekend to see me through the week. I used a GF beer and it was great! Thank you so much!

    1. That is mighty cold! I'm so glad this chili has helped keep you feeling warm and good! A GF beer is perfect...I'll have to look into that myself! Enjoy the chili and stay warm. Cheers :)

  6. I'm making this today with a few minor variations... but I'm looking forward to chili on this overcast Colorado day. Had Negra Modelo in the fridge - so this was perfect for me. It is simmering and smells wonderful. I do like beer in chili. :)

  7. Made this tonight for the family. We loved it! I added corn.