Chili, like soups and stews are a great way to reduce food waste. Once combined with sauces and spices, you wouldn’t know if you used any wilted or dried out vegetables. There are many debates about what is the true essence of a good chili. Some say it is the spices, others say it is the meat, while some say it’s everything combined.
In this chili, to replace the ground meat I used tempeh, which is a great meat alternative. It is often used to mimic meat in a variety of vegan dishes, such as burgers, meatballs, ground beef, etc. Tempeh is typically made of fermented soybeans (can be made from other beans), pressed into a cake like texture. It’s nuttiness and earthy flavours are different from the more popular tofu, which is more commonly used.
Tempeh is a great source of iron, protein, fibre (thanks to it’s fermentation), calcium, manganese, magnesium and more. It is a powerhouse ingredient, nourishing your body and your soul.
TIP: Store bought tempeh can be bitter (I have yet to attempt making it from scratch, but it’s on my list). If the tempeh is steamed for about 10-15 minutes it takes away the bitterness and releases the delicious nutty earth flavours.
Picky Eaters: My kids won’t eat chili, no matter how hard I try. There are too many textures and ingredients that don’t appeal to them. I take some of the chili (minus the tempeh) and place it in a smaller pot. I blend the chili into a sauce and combine it with pasta, they love it!
In this recipe, I chose to roast the sweet potatoes for two reasons. Roasting vegetables brings out more flavour and I find when roasted, the sweet potatoes are less mushy and have a better texture in the chili.
- 1 small white onion, diced (you can use shallots, red onions, Spanish onions)
- 1 pkg of organic tempeh (about 8 oz)
- 1 medium sweet potato, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 medium sized carrots
- 1 red poblano pepper, diced
- 1-2 cups of vegetarian broth
- 2-3 cups of crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups of black or pinto beans (You can use any bean, I’ve used chickpeas, black eyed peas)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt (Plus an extra one for later)
- 1 tsp chili flakes (if you like a little heat)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and take a sheet pan with some parchment paper.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil and salt and oil to diced sweet potatoes, lay on pan and roast for about 15-20 minutes.
- Break tempeh into smaller portions and steam for about 10-15 minutes.
- On the stove, take a medium sized pot and add a tbsp of oil (I prefer avocado).
- Add diced onions and minced garlic, and allow them to sweat.
- Add the diced carrots and peppers and any other veggies you want to add (parsnips, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower work great too).
- Add beans into the pot, along with the spices and combine.
- Stir in the broth into the pot, enough to cover the vegetables.
- Add in crushed tomatoes, combine and simmer.
- Once the tempeh has finished steaming, take it out of the pot , let it cool slightly and dice it into smaller bites (however you like).
- Combine the tempeh into the pot, along with another tsp salt and a bit of fresh black pepper.
- Combine the roasted sweet potatoes into the pot.
- Let it simmer for about 20 minutes and serve.
- We like to add a dollop of vegan yogurt and some fresh green onions on top, with a splash of lime juice! Don’t skip the lime juice, it’s fantastic!