top down view of a serving of vegan tempeh chili in a bowl with spoon.

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5 from 11 reviews

Tempeh chili is an easy one-pot meal that’s hearty, protein packed and one of my favorite chili recipes to date. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


  • 1 (8 oz.) package 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 (14oz.) sweet corn, drained, optional
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced mild green chilies or 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/21 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, optional
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 bottle (8oz.) dark beer (Negra Modelo 1 bottle = 1 1/2 cups) plus 1/2 cup additional water or 2 cups water

Optional garnish:


Stovetop: 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 and dark beer/water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Chili will thicken upon cooling.

Slow Cooker: Add the ingredients to the bowl of your slow cooker, ending with the liquids. Cook on LOW for 6 – 8 hours or HIGH  for 3 – 4 hours. Chili will thicken as it cools.

Serve with optional garnish. Also, pairs perfectly with Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins or Sweet Chia Cornbread

Serves 4 – 6

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 – 6 days in an airtight container. To store longer, store them in the freezer in freezer-safe containers for 2 – 3 months.


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 of 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. It’s just 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 its natural flavor. You can also try using the three-grain tempeh, as its flavor is not as strong.

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