Crockpot Wednesday: Tempeh Chili

Rating: 5/5

I've known about tempeh for some time, wanted to try it, but never had enough urge to actually do it. Now that I'm doing my vegetarian May, I figured this was finally the time. I wanted to see if some of these fake meat products could be put into a crockpot recipe. Luckily, as I was flipping through my new copy of Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen, I found one!

Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans. It becomes firm and is often sold in cake form. It's often used as a meat substitute. Nowadays there are fake meat products that are made of more than just soy beans. The better ones combine soy with hearty grains such as quinoa and amaranth.

For this recipe I grabbed a Smart Ground with Mexican seasoning since it seemed appropriate.

It doesn't look like much, but it does crumble very finely. The best part, though, was that it really did have the texture of browned ground beef. If I put a bowl of this chili in front of you, you would never know that it wasn't beef. I was so impressed that I'm thinking that I will be able to switch to tempeh for other things that call for ground beef in the future. After all, in the world of beef, ground is the worst of the lot. You never really know what is in it as far as parts and quality of the meat. 

As far as the chili, it's fabulously flavorful and spicy. Be careful how much of the chipotle and cumin you put in if you are wary of spicy heat. The vegetables give it great body and so it is a nice thick version. I will definitely make it again.

Tempeh Chili
from Slow Cooker Revolution

2 onions, minced
2 carrots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 T vegetable oil
9 garlic cloves, minced
2 T chili powder
1 t dried oregano
2 t ground cumin
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 15oz can of kidney beans, rinsed
8 oz of tempeh. crumbled
1 c water
1 t minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 c frozen corn
1/2 c minced fresh cilantro

Microwave onions, carrots, bell pepper, oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

Stir in tomatoes, beans, tempeh, water, and chipotles. Cover and cook until the flavors have melded and the tempeh is tender - about 4-6 hours on low.

Stir in corn and let sit until heated through, Stir in cilantro and serve.