There are countless ways to make a meatless chili; this version uses tempeh as our starting point.
Tempeh, made from cooked and fermented soybeans, is high in protein, vitamins and minerals, but low in sodium and carbs. Find it in natural foods stores and in some grocery stores near the tofu.
We treated it like ground meat, crumbling it and cooking it in a little oil until browned, then building a flavorful base for our chili.
A hefty tablespoon of cumin seeds added a bold flavor backbone while traditional aromatics rounded out the classic chili profile. A chopped bell pepper and a couple of cut-up carrots added texture and a subtle sweetness that paired well with the tempeh.
To give our chili a burst of freshness and color, we added zucchini and frozen corn at the end along with the cooked tempeh. We prefer five-grain tempeh in this chili, but any type will work well.
By America’s Test Kitchen
- 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
- 1 (8-ounce) package 5-grain tempeh, crumbled into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 9 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups water
- 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high until shimmering. Add tempeh and cook until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate and set aside.
Add cumin seeds to now-empty pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, chipotle and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in water, tomatoes, beans and oregano, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook until chili is slightly thickened, about 45 minutes.
Stir in corn, zucchini and tempeh; cook until zucchini is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 295 calories, 9 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 714 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 11 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 7 g protein.
America’s Test Kitchen publishes the magazines Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated, as well as numerous cookbooks, and produces the PBS television show, “America’s Test Kitchen.” For recipes, cooking videos and product reviews go to americastestkitchen.com.