I’m not sure anything says fall like a warm bowl of chili. Even more so, this Vegan Pumpkin and Smoky Tempeh Chili. This is the kind of soup that’s gonna make you wanna curl up by a fire with a crossword and a cup of tea, and leisurely watch the brisk October afternoon pass by. How do I know that? Because that’s exactly what I did.
And it was perfect.
The first from-scratch meal I ever made was chili.
I did a little cooking growing up but that usually involved boiling some pasta and opening up a jar of marinara sauce. In college, I worked at the school’s dining hall which allowed me to eat for free. It wasn’t until 2003 when I was studying off campus in a remote, nearly off-the-grid, little town in southern Oregon that I had to really learn how to cook.
Fortunately I had friends with me that were more experienced than I in the kitchen and it was with them on a chilly afternoon in October that I cooked my first from-scratch meal. Yes, you guessed it (well, actually I told you), it was chili.
Eating that meal was so satisfying and delicious. I was eager to learn more. Over the course of the next several months I began to experiment in the kitchen. I made my first homemade granola, I saw my first ginger root, mixed my own curry powder, and eventually created my own recipes. Once I started cooking, I never stopped. It was a love I didn’t even know I had until that October afternoon in southern Oregon.
So, in a way, chili was the stepping stones that brought me here, to this blog.
Over the years I have made many chili recipes; it’s one of my favorite dishes to experiment with. Thirteen years of making chili and I think it’s safe to say that this Pumpkin and Smoky Tempeh Chili is my favorite. It’s got everything the perfect chili needs:
- robust protein-rich flavor of the crumbled tempeh
- complex combination of of sweet, smokey, hot, and bitter
- creamy texture from the pumpkin puree and kidney beans
- fresh and crunchy garnishes for contrast
It’s super simple to make and can be heating up your kitchen within minutes. You ready to get started?
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 8 ounces of tempeh, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- green onion, diced
- jalapeno, sliced
- avocado, cubed
- cilantro, chopped
- In a large pot melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add peppers, jalapeno, and tempeh and cook until tempeh is browned, 5-7 more minutes.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Cook chili for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Removed from heat and serve. Top with green onions, jalapeno, and avocado, if you'd like.