Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lentil, Tempeh, and Sweet Potato Chili

I love tempeh.  I know I have said this before, but it's just the best meat substitute a vegetarian can ask for.  In fact, just today I bought tempeh bacon, which I am super excited about.  Fakin' bacon!  I honestly cannot wait for breakfast tomorrow.  I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, this tempeh was not bacon-ified, but was used as the main protein in a super tasty chili.  It's flavored with garlic, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and coriander, which is not your average chili spice mix.  Not to mention the red pepper, sweet potatoes, and red lentils (which thicken it beautifully). You end up with a colorful, delicious, thick, hearty chili.  I like to eat chili over rice, with a little sour cream.  I often add cheese, but I thought it didn't necessarily match the flavor profile here, although if you were feeling cheesy, I say go for it.

This recipe makes a lot of chili.  I ate it for well over a week, and even brought some to my friends (who happily ate it and did not think tempeh chili was too weird!).  That reminds me - my mom said today that she knows this is one of my secrets to living on a small budget.  She said I cook something and then eat it for a week.  It's true!  Luckily I am the kind of person who can eat the same thing for lunch for a week.  I also hate throwing food away, so it works out well.  Chili for days.


lentil, tempeh and sweet potato chili
from Produce on Parade
serves 8 - 10

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional; I left it out)
dash of black pepper
7-ounce package tempeh, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
8 cups vegetable broth
2 cups dry red lentils


1) In a very large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the next 9 ingredients (up to the black pepper)  and saute for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and the onions begin to soften.

2) Add the tempeh, red bell pepper, and sweet potato.  Saute for a few minutes, then deglaze the pan with the canned diced tomatoes.

3) Add the broth and lentils.  Stir well and bring to a boil over high heat, then cover partially and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Next, remove the lid and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.

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