Grad Student Friendly #2: Hearty Bean and Tempeh Chili

I originally posted this recipe a couple of months ago but I’m bringing it back in an easier to read format with a couple of tweaks for my friend Yoshi and his grad school menu project. 

It’s taken me awhile–five years, give or take–but I think I’ve finally perfected my chili spice blend. I use all dry spices which cuts down on time, dishes, and cost. You could use a fresh onion and some fresh garlic and saute them before adding the rest of the ingredients if you wanted to, though. Instead of tempeh, you could use TVP or corn. Want to be extra healthy? Add some chopped greens. If you pureed them like I like to do you wouldn’t even know they were there. I like to top a big bowl of chili with crushed up tortilla chips, Fritos, sour cream, cheese, “cheeze,” cashews or diced avocado. Not all together. Although, that might not be bad. Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer; reheat and serve on top of french fries, burgers, baked potatoes, frankfurters, cornbread… whatever you can imagine would probably be good with this chili smothered on top of it. For more ideas, click here. Oh, and if you like it extra spicy, double the chipotle.

Hearty Bean and Tempeh Chili $1.15 per 1-cup serving, using organic ingredients, without toppings

Time commitment: 10 minutes active prep, 30 minutes to 6 hours inactive cooking time

Makes: about 3 quarts (which is about 12 one-cup servings)


  • 1 28-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 4 15-oz. cans beans, whatever kind you like, rinsed and drained (I like to use two cans of kidney beans and one can each black and pinto)
  • 1 8-oz. package tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 c. water or veggie broth/stock (I use Better Than Bouillon No Beef)
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. chipotle powder
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper (preferably fresh)
  • salt, to taste
  • toppings, like cheese, chopped onions, Fritos, sour cream, cashews, avocado, etc., optional

Directions for slow-cooker:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for salt and toppings in your at least 4 quart slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for about 2 hours or on low for up to 8.
  3. Taste and salt (if you want) before serving with toppings.

Directions for stove top:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for salt and toppings in your at least 4 quart pot.
  2. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes (or up to a few hours) stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Taste and salt (if you want) before serving with toppings.

And here’s what you’ll get out of a one cup serving (approximately):

This entry was posted in dinner, do-ahead, gluten-free, Grad Student Friendly, recipe, slow-cooker, vegan, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Grad Student Friendly #2: Hearty Bean and Tempeh Chili

  1. Holly J says:

    This sounds delicious!!! And it’s so healthy!! I love that it’s under 200 calories and fiber rich.

  2. Pingback: 20 Things to Do with Leftover Chili | eat food.

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