Forget about easing into the new month- Practically overnight, temperatures plummeted straight into sweater-and-jacket territory, wasting no time with autumn’s typically mild but brisk breezes this year. Forced to pull out my electric blanket and cranking it up to “scald,” I might as well take up sleeping in the oven at this rate!

Indeed, it looks like we’re on the cusp of a rather harsh season, with the skies growing darker earlier each day. With summer quickly becoming but a distant memory, all that can be done is to steel oneself against the cold, and for that, there is only one dish that will truly suffice: Chili.

Everyone’s got their own recipes, tiny twists on the same basic concept, but those small differences and adaptations are what really makes each fresh pot so special. I think that a bowl of red can say a lot about a cook, far beyond basic knife skills or flavor preferences.

What’s the protein? Beans are mandatory in my mind, while it may very well be sacrilege to die-hard omnivores and traditionalists. What about veggies? The more the merrier, please! My only limitations are what I happen to have in the fridge; Nothing’s safe when I’m cooking up a big vat of chili. Oh, and the spices! Are you a fan of intense, red hot, mouth-searing spoonfuls? Preferring flavor over heat, my approach may be defined as mild, and you know what? I’m perfectly okay with that. Spice at will, dump that hot sauce into your own portion, but this allows everyone the level of heat they can best appreciate.

And so it goes, my chili is unabashedly vegan, very healthy, nontraditional, and generally agreeable.

What does your chili say about you?

Yield: Makes 6 – 8 Servings

Veggie-Tempeh Chili

Veggie-Tempeh Chili

A very vegan chili that's heavy on the vegetables and unafraid of spice.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Medium Carrots, Chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 14.5-Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 8-Ounce Package Tempeh, Sliced into Cubes
  • 1 Medium Yellow Squash or Zucchini, Chopped
  • 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, Seeded and Chopped
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Broth
  • Pinch Black Pepper
  • 1 15-Ounce Can Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained


  1. In a large stock pot, heat up the oil over a moderate flame, and toss in the chopped onion. Saute for 4 – 5 minutes, until translucent, and add in the minced garlic. Let cook for another 2 minutes or so before add in the carrots and celery, along with just a small pinch of salt to help draw out the water from the vegetables. Stir occasionally, for about 5 – 8 minutes, until the veggies begin to brown around the edges stick to the bottom of the pan a bit.
  2. At that point, you can go ahead and incorporate everything else- except for the beans. I find that they get mushy if you add them in so soon in the process, but if you’re starving and can’t stand to let this thing simmer for too long, dump them in at will. I promise that the flavors will only get better with a longer cooking time, though!
  3. Stir well to distribute the new ingredients, turn down the heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer gently for 30 – 60 minutes, depending on how long you can control your hunger. Add in the beans just 5 – 10 minutes before serving, to make sure they’re warmed through.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 447mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g

37 thoughts on “Octo-Brrr!

  1. Oh yum, tempeh in chili would be divine! Definitely a nice change of pace from all the multi bean chilis! (not that those are fantabulous in their own right) :) -Eve

  2. I have to admit that I go full throttle for the heat. I like beans, corn, onions, peppers, and lots of spice! Sometimes we throw in some vegan ground round to please the omnivores who think chili can’t just be beans and veggies.

  3. That looks fabulous, just the thing for a cold October day. Of course, today in Brisbane it is a 34 degree Celcius day! I always wonder about the heat of American chilli powders. If I put 2 tablespoons of chilli powder in my dishes, it would just burn my tongue right out of my mouth. So am I a chilli sissy or are the powders you guys use a bit milder than ours?

  4. Sounds yummy and perfect for a chilly day :-) Here it is still much too warm for something like that,but maybe in a month or so….

  5. Mmm, that looks so good on a cold day. I have never had tempeh chili, but I bet it was awesome. I also find that Soyboy tempeh has a better flavor straight out of the package than many of the other brands I have tried. When it gets cooler here in FL (probably not until Dec. or Jan.) I will definitely make this =)

  6. Yep, we’ve got the same brrrrr weather over here, too! And chili is the perfect antidote. I love all the veg chunks in yours–in my chili they’re all finely chopped. Wonder what that does say about each of us? ;)

  7. I have recently discovered somewhere that sells tempeh and have loads of it in the fridge so keep looking for ideas for it and this looks ace!! thanks for the recipe.

  8. I know what you mean about the cold, I’m inches away from getting my electric blanket out. I’m definitely going to try this chili recipe. It will be a nice change of pace.

  9. Chili is one of my favorite self-pity meals. It’s so easy to throw together, but always warming, filling, and cozy. Your photo is beautiful!

  10. Question about tempeh: I’ve never used it. Is it used as a protein (meat substitute)? And when you talk about its bitterness, and steaming, do you steam it in a drainer on the stove in a pan? I should try it… thanks.
    Su in Michigan

  11. so true, it got colder practically overnight! but around here this weekend is summer-ish, at least during the day. dear weather, please make up your mind!

    i was thinking about making chili too. i just want to eat soup all the time!

  12. chili was one of the first things i made once the weather turned (overnight, it’s true!) nasty this year. i like mine full of beans and pepper and super, super spicy.

    with saltines or cornbread. yurm.

    yours looks much healthier than mine, i can’t wait to try it out!

  13. It’s still fluctuating here, but my farmer friends up in the mountains said that while I was down south the frost hit! Oh my goodness it’s just too soon! The chili looks like the perfect gift to warm them up though. I love the tempeh, g-fness of it!

  14. I keep waiting for summer to hit here. While we’ve had one or two days of insane heat, for the last 3 days it’s been back to blankets, hot water bottles and warm and fuzzy jumpers!

    I love your chilli! My poor versions are probably not even worthy of the name as chilli is the one ingredient they do not contain! I’m far too much of a heat wimp.

  15. I made a big batch of chili this weekend because of the cold weather — it really hit the spot. I love adding cubed sweet potato, and beer is mandatory in mine too!

  16. The weather has been the same here. It was hot well into September then got really cold, and I’ve been waiting for it to warm up again but it doesn’t seem to be happening! Love your version of chili. I have 2 blocks of tempeh in the freezer that I really must use. I’m scared to use them because I’ve never had tempeh before… anyway putting it into chili sounds like a good idea.

  17. I’ve never had a chili with tempeh and squash in it but it looks delightful!
    Chili is definitely my go to meal when the chill of the seasons come!

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