Monday, September 2, 2013


Chili has been one of my favorite things since I was a kid. My husband does not usually share my enthusiasm. But sometimes the time is right for chili. Like when you have lots of lovely cilantro, pepper and cherry tomatoes growing on the porch, a bit of leftover tomato paste in the fridge, but very little energy and are feeling like a little comfort food.

Cilantro, basil, red pepper, celery, orange peppers, sage, rosemary,
parsley and thyme, off camera, there are some jalapenos
 This is a vegetarian chili, made with finely chopped tempeh to stand in for the meat. The "fixin's" or condiments add freshness and texture. Sour cream and cheese are good toppings too, if you eat dairy. Sometimes I do go for a bit of vegan sour cream.

Chopped cilantro, onions, black olives and cherry tomatoes

Vegan Chili

About 6 oz of tempeh, chopped into a 1/4" dice
one large chopped onion
one chopped bell pepper, any color
2-3 finely chopped jalapenos
2-3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
3-4 T olive oil
1 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder, I used a combination of ancho and chipotle
1 t. smoked paprika, because I like it
1/2 t. turmeric, because it's good for you
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
a dash of liquid smoke
6 oz of tomato paste
1-1-1/2 cups of water (or veg broth or beer)
Salt to taste, I stared with about 1/2 t.
Juice of one lime
If you want it hotter, add some pepper flakes or hot sauce

This is easy, peasy. Start with about 2 T of olive oil in a medium hot pan. Cook the tempeh. It will probably break up a bit more. This is good. When the tempeh is nicely golden brown, add the onions and saute. As you are cooking the tempeh and the veg, add more olive oil and adjust the heat to keep things from burning. A little golden brown is OK, dark brown or black, not so good.

Add the jalapenos, bell pepper and last of all the garlic. Keep an eye on the garlic so it doesn't burn. Add the spices and all seasonings, then the tomato paste and water. Simmer until everything is well blended. Serve over organic Blue Corn Chips with condiments everyone can add at will.

This is usually when I work on the condiments. all are optional, use what you like and add your own:
  • Finely chopped onion
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • sliced black olives
  • chopped cilantro
  • Vegan sour cream, (regular)
  • grated cheese, vegan or regular
  • salsa