Chilli con tempeh - Tofu&Tempeh
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Chilli con tempeh

Chilli con tempeh

To start, I must apologise for the past week where I shamefully neglected my blogging duties. I have let you, my loyal readership down, I have let the good name of tofuandtempeh down and I have let myself down. It’s not an exaggeration to say that literally tens of people were affected by this… ok, well maybe a slight exaggeration. But I come back renewed with the blogging drive of an F1 racing driver… who also happens to write a blog.

Anyway,It seems to me that even the most ardent of vegans would find it hard to dispute that their isn’t a single animal based food that they miss from their pre-plant based days. Whether that be a Victoria sandwich (me), a stack of duck pancakes (also me) or just a good old slice of pizza (need I bracket this!)… anyway I’ll stop that now for my sanity! I believe therefore that one of the most crucial roles in convincing people to transition towards plant based eating is in creating recipes that are delicious in their own regard to show people that eating this way doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Yes there are things to be missed when pursuing this diet, but there are plenty of recipes that mean you can eat as well as you ever have done.

In this vein and with a square of tempeh sitting there pretty waiting to be used in the fridge, I attempted to recreate one of my favourite pre-plant based dishes, the student staple that is chilli con carne (though not for me as I was transitioning to plant based by then!). I give you chilli con tempeh.

One of the main issues with converting this into a veggie dish is the role the minced meat itself plays in the flavouring of the dish as it simmers down. To counter this, I go more spice heavy and pre-marinade the tempeh. It’s perhaps more akin to a mexican stew, but it more than did the job flavour wise and my tempeh skeptical father thought so too.

An embarrassing admission; when I first thought to try this, I kept referring to it as Tempeh con Carne… my years learning Spanish clearly of great benefit!

Chilli con Tempeh, Serves 3-4

200g Tempeh
1 onion, sliced
1 celery stick, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 bay leaves, fresh if possible
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 red pepper
1 400g can Red Kidney Beans
500g pasata
1 cinnamon stick
Mixed spice, 1.5 tsp
Dried chilli, 1-2
Paprika, 1.5 tsp
Chilli powder, 1 tsp
Balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp
Other veg of choice; I used broccoli and Kale


1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1.5 tsp Cajun spice mix
Salt and pepper

  1. Cut the tempeh into 5 long strips and then in to cubes. You then want to cut these cubes in half, which is something I completely forgot to do in my last attempt (so see below photo as a guide and then go half again!). This maximises the flavour each piece of tempeh will take on and will also minimise the tempeh taking on too much liquid when placed in the stew.
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients together, add your now perfectly cut tempeh (unlike mine!) and leave it to marinate for as long as you can in the fridge.
    Marinading tempeh

    Remember to cut your tempeh cubes in half!


  3. Heat a griddle pan/frying pan till nice and hot and chargrill/dry fry the tempeh until it starts to blacken ever so slightly. Do the same with the red pepper, so the skin starts to blacken and flesh soften. You’ll end up with something like this.
    Chargrilled tempeh and pepper
  4. Using a deep saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil and add the cinnamon stick, dried chilli and bay leaves to flavour the oil. After a minute or two, add the onions, celery and garlic.
    Onions, garlic, celery saute
  5. Saute this for a few minutes, adding a little salt before adding your sweet potato, cajun spice mix, mixed spice and chilli powder. Cover, stirring often for around ten minutes, until you can feel the sweet potato begin to soften.
  6. Now add your red kidney beans and passata, along with a further generous pinch of salt and pepper. Refill the jar of passata and add to the pot. Simmer for a good 20-25 minutes. Keep checking that not too much liquid is evaporating away and that the sweet potato is softening without becoming mushy.
    Stew simmer
  7. If the sweet potato has lost its hard potatoey-ness, add your tempeh, peppers and any other vegetables of choice (if you wanted to use a vegetable such as a parsnip, just bear in mind this should go in earlier, or on the other hand, a vegetable like Kale can be left until about 5 minutes to go). Oh and add in your balsamic whilst you’re there.
  8. Simmer away for a further 10 minutes. Check for seasoning and that everything is cooked through. Serve with rice or whatever you fancy, we’re not a dictatorship here, serve your chilli with whatever you like!
    Chilli con tempeh

    I opted for rice and a whole load of coriander!

    Chilli without meat, what a world we live in! Enjoy that one.

    Thanks for stopping by; if you enjoyed/like the look of my chilli con tempeh then please get in touch, share, like, but again, only if you want to/too! (not sure which to/too is correct!)… Ahh, the beauty of blogs; anyone, however grammatically ignorant can have one!

    Cheers one and all

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