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Camp Recipe: Chipotle Tempeh Chili

Smoky, spicy, and completely vegetarian, this tempeh chili is a protein-powered and steeped in smoky adobo sauce and spicy poblano peppers.

As we enter into the chili time of year (see: winter), we find ourselves searching for a new take on the old classic. While most vegetarian chili recipes bulk up on protein by adding more beans into the mix, we wanted to experiment with a new texture: tempeh.

Chipotle tempeh chili with ingredients separated in pot

When it comes to flavor, tempeh is a relatively blank slate and requires a marinade to come to life. But it does have a unique, toothsome texture that stands in contrast to any type of bean. This makes tempeh perfect for an already flavorful chili base. The tempeh just needs to bring the protein and the texture and let the chili do the rest!

Chipotle tempeh chili with ingredients stirred together in pot

A lot of chili recipes are just straight spicy, but we find ourselves enjoying the spicy and smoky combination the most. So this recipe calls for both a poblano pepper and chipotle in adobo sauce. We find that this combination is better balanced and lends an enjoyable complexity to the dish.

So if you’re looking for a new way to make vegetarian chili this winter, give this smoky, spicy, tempeh version a try!

Chipotle Tempeh Chili

Makes 2 servings (20 minutes of preparation)

Chipotle tempeh chili plated and ready to serve


2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, deseeded & chopped
8 oz tempeh, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (15oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained
1/2 or 3/4 cup vegetable broth
Optional toppings: avocado, scallions, sour cream, cheese, etc.


Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion, poblano, tempeh, and salt. Saute until browned, 7-8 minutes.

Add garlic, chipotle in adobo, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Saute 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, beans, and ½ cup vegetable broth. Stir to combine.

Simmer for 10 minutes, adding more vegetable broth if needed.

Serve and top with avocado, sour cream, scallions, and cheese.

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