I saw an article about tempeh recently and vaguely remembered buying it once. In the drafts I found a post a year and half old of vegan ‘chili’ using tempeh. See the date on the pic from last year?

This is the vegan version of Tex-Mex chili con carne – a spicy stew made from chili peppers, meat (usually ground beef), garlic, onions, and cumin, often simply called ‘chili’.

Tempeh, or tempe in Javanese, is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. It is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins compared to tofu, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor. Tofu, however, is thought to be more versatile in dishes. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue. Even long before people found and realized its rich nutritional value, tempeh was referred to as “Javanese meat.” (Source)

How to make tempeh.

I also found a very scary pic of the grated tempeh we used. I don’t remember much about this dish, but here are the notes from the draft:

“Pretty good. Recipe from PostpunkKitchen. Used red beans instead of pinto. Used homemade chili powder. Use only dark beer.”

The “3 Tbsps of chili powder” in the recipe refers to Mexican chili powder, which is a spice mix made of

Ancho chili powder
garlic powder
dried oregano
cumin powder.

We probably used equal parts of each and replaced the ancho powder with cayenne, which is hotter.

Tempeh Chili con Frijoles is our entry for Low and Slow hosted by Giff and Lisl at The Constables’ Larder.

Check out
Ricki’s Sweet and Spicy Tempeh
Johanna’s Jarlsburg Tempeh Casserole
Suganya’s Jamaican Jerk Seasoned Tempeh Sandwich
Susan’s Golden Potato and Tempeh Casserole
Vaishali’s ‘Tempeh Crabcakes’
Vegan Yum-Yum’s Notso Buco

- b.

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  1. Peter G says:

    That looks so hearty and warming! Gorgeous with some bread!

  2. Manggy says:

    Hey, the grated tempeh pic ain’t so scary! The chili, though, looks unquestionably delicious :) When you put “fermented” and “soybeans” together, it just reminds me of natto, though, which sends a chill down my spine. But it does look very different :)

    i’ve only seen a pic of nattou

    and it looks pretty cool. it probably has an odour that turns people off.

  3. Bharti says:

    I usually use only beans when I make chili…will try tempeh in it next time. I actually like the grated idea. The texture takes a bit getting used to.

  4. Nirmala says:

    Never seen tempeh! But I think I can try this with some soyabean patties. Would definitely be a uge difference but I like the other spice mixes!

  5. Ricki says:

    That looks just gorgeous (and eerily just like meat-based chili!). I love tempeh–can’t understand why tofu is so much more popular–so must try this out. And thanks for the link (and to the other tempeh posts–all sound so good!).

  6. sushma says:

    totally new concept nice read. thanks for sharing i can feel the spiceyness in my throat

  7. Meeta says:

    I use tempeh often to make veg/vegan bolognese sauce. it’s a great alternative to meat. That scary pic – well it really is scary – I won’t say what it reminded me of!

  8. Happy Cook says:

    Tempeh is new to me. That chillie looks so delicious. Will check postpunkkitchen for the recipe.
    It is early morning here but still i would love to tale a fork and diig into that plate of chillie

  9. Deb says:

    I’d never guess you didn’t use ground beef in your chili. It looks warm and wonderful.

    There are competing claims in Texas about when/where chili was invented and what constitutes “authentic” chili. People swear by their own version – some never add beans, others have proprietary chili powder blends.

    There are also heated debates about whether the beer should go into the chili, or only into the person making the chili.

    We like ours served with cornbread crumbled in and grated cheese melted on top. Cold beer(s) in the hand, not in the pot. 3 of the 4 of us like sour cream stirred in occasionally. Yummm. Chili. Can’t wait for cooler weather here and our own pot of red on the stove.

  10. meg wolff says:

    This looks delicious. I am soaking beans for “chili” right now!

  11. Mamatha says:

    I’ve used Tempeh (made with wild rice) only once – I vaguely remember it having either a sharp taste or a funky smell – and haven’t tried it again since. I make a similar chilli sans the beer, and use TSP instead of tempeh.

  12. Giff says:

    this looks fabulous!

  13. priyanka says:

    Tempeh-chili looks delicious….have never tried one before…thanks for the recipe

  14. Rashmi says:

    I didnt find the picture scary at all…have never tried tempeh….have tried tofu….it takes time to get used to the texture…but by seeing ur picture i think i will give it a try …..very warm picture….

  15. PG says:

    Looks delicious! thank you for the link to some lovely recipes.

  16. Cham says:

    Confort meal, never used tempeh in chilli but used soy crumble which works like minced meat. Now, you re tempting to make this one :)

  17. Manasi says:

    Reminds me… hv some drafts I haven’t touched..
    Tempeh.. wonder if I dare try this… still adjusting to tofu :(

  18. Uma says:

    hmm. tempeh! never heard of it. looks so tempting.

  19. Vaishali says:

    What a beautiful bowl of chili. Who wouldn’t want to eat that?

  20. [...] Jugalbandi (Bee and Jai) created “tempeh chili con frijoles”, a vegan version of chili con carne. Love that photograph! [...]

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