Tempeh Miso Chili (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

This tempeh miso chili is hearty, comforting, and full of delicious umami flavor. It’s also vegan, gluten-free, and perfect for meal-prepping!

Tempeh is, in my opinion, a very underrated plant-based protein. I love tempeh but I admit I don’t cook with it as often as I would like to. At the time of writing this, I only have two tempeh recipes so far: sesame tempeh crumbles and smoky tempeh sandwich. But that’s about to change! Starting with this amazing tempeh miso chili.

Before we jump into the recipe though, let’s have a quick run-down on what tempeh is, for all you tempeh virgins out there.

what is tempeh?

Tempeh is a product made from fermented soybeans. It also often contains grains and/or beans. It’s usually formed into a square or rectangular block that can be sliced, chopped, or crumbled. Because it is a fermented product, it does have a slight bitter taste to it that many people find off-putting, but this goes away as long as you season and cook it right.

I often marinate my tempeh so it soaks up lots of flavor, but in this recipe we’re crumbling it up and adding it to a base of silky tomato-y goodness seasoned with the perfect ratio of chili spices. Sound good? Let’s get cooking!

ingredients & substitutions

I like to add a bunch of veggies to my chili, but feel free to omit or add whatever veggies you have on hand. There are a few basic ingredients, though, that I recommend keeping in:

  • tempeh (duh) ⟶ I buy mine from Trader Joe’s as it’s the most affordable option I’ve found
  • miso ⟶ I recommend red miso, since yellow/white miso is a bit more mild and sweet
  • black beans ⟶ technically, this could be left out but I love black beans in chili, plus it adds more protein and different textural satisfaction
  • spices ⟶ for chili I always add chili powder, paprika (use smoked if you have it), cumin, oregano, and nutritional yeast
  • tomato paste & tomato sauce ⟶ because it’s not chili without tomatoes!! (unless it’s white chili, that’s different)
  • veggies ⟶ at the very least use onions and garlic, but I also added bell pepper, carrots, celery, corn, and green beans
  • garnishes ⟶ such as cilantro, lime juice, vegan cheese, jalapeño, avocado, and red onions. These are optional, but if you have some it will make the chili even better!

how to make tempeh miso chili

First, we cook the root veggies like onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in some olive oil for a few minutes. Once the onions turn translucent, add in bell pepper and green beans and cook another minute.

Next, mix in all the spices, then add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a boil then lower to simmer. Crumble in tempeh. Let the chili simmer 30-60 minutes, mixing occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning. The flavor develops more the longer it simmers, and is even better the second day as the flavors meld together overnight in the fridge!

After 30-60 minutes have passed, add in corn and black beans and simmer another 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Mix miso with 1/4 cup water in a separate bowl, then add to chili. Mix until well combined. Taste and add salt/pepper as needed.

Garnish as desired (I love cilantro, lime juice, and avocado) and serve with steamed rice or toasted bread! This would also be really good in a bread bowl, if you happen to have some lying around.

vegan chili cooking tips

when do I add miso? ⟶ Add the miso at the end of cooking, when the heat is turned off and the chili isn’t boiling. Boiling miso kills the probiotics and also weakens some of the flavor.

how do I add miso? ⟶ Miso needs to be carefully mixed in to avoid clumps of miso in the final dish. There are various ways to do this. You can use a miso muddler, strainer, or mix it separately first in a small bowl with some water (this is the method I chose to use for this post).

do I have to simmer for so long? ⟶ It’s not necessary, but highly recommended for better flavor. However, if you’re starving and don’t want to wait an hour for your food to be ready, you can go ahead and eat it after about 10 minutes of simmering.

helpful cooking tools

still hungry?

Check out these other delicious soups & stews!

I hope I’ve inspired you to try cooking this tempeh miso chili! If you try it out, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking and/or leave a comment down below and let me know how you liked it! I love seeing you recreate my recipes in your own kitchen 🙂 Happy cooking!

Tempeh Miso Chili (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

This tempeh miso chili is hearty, comforting, and full of delicious umami flavor. It's also vegan, gluten-free, and perfect for meal-prepping!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 ribs of celery diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • ½ cup green beans chopped
  • 28 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 8 oz tempeh crumbled
  • 1 cup black beans rinsed & drained
  • ½ cup corn
  • 2 tbsp red miso

Spices

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook for a few minutes until onions turn translucent, then add in bell pepper and green beans and cook another minute.
  • Mix in all the spices, then add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a boil then lower to simmer. Crumble in tempeh. Let the chili simmer 30-60 minutes, mixing occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.
  • After 30-60 minutes have passed, add in corn and black beans and simmer another 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Mix miso with 1/4 cup water in a separate bowl, then add to chili. Mix until well combined. Taste and add salt/pepper as needed.
  • Garnish as desired (I love adding cilantro, lime juice, and avocado) and serve with steamed rice or toasted bread. Enjoy!

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