Sunday, November 29, 2009

Soul Food Sunday Episode One: Tempeh Chili con Frijoles

"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants."
- AW Brown

So it begins! The inaugural post of Soul Food Sunday. I want to thank everyone for posting their requests, and I assure you I will post about each and every one of them. Everyone had great stuff and I want to talk about all of it...but alas, I had to choose one. SO, I put each suggestion in a hat and today's recipe will be...drum roll please....CHILI!!

Though the weather was beautiful in San Francisco today, we are definitely staring down the barrel at many cold, wintry days in the near future. Chili has always been a favorite of mine and evokes memories of Sundays at my parents house when my mom would make her spicy chili with cheezy tortilla chips. YUM!

When I became more focused on my heath and decided to go vegan, I knew I would have some trouble finding a chili that lived up to my fond memories of home. I came across many delicious recipes, but I have to say that I recently found one that tops them all! It is a little different than most chili recipes you come across, but I promise you it is about as delicious as they come. I know tempeh may be a little foreign to a lot of you, but I promise you won't find a better or healthier meat substitute. Plus, tell me what's more fun than cooking with beer? Come on!

It may look like a lot of work, but it provides you multiple meals and isn't finicky at all. Enjoy and remember, if you have any questions about any of this, feel free to leave me a comment!

Tempeh Chili con Frijoles by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
prep time: 15 minutes | cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes | makes 6-8

A hearty, luscious and flavorful chili, brimming with the goodness of tempeh and rounded out with the greatness of beer. I like to serve it with a mound of guacamole and thick slices of cornbread. Some finely chopped red onions sprinkled over the top wouldn't hurt either.

Large pot with a lid
Large frying pan

1 package (8 oz) tempeh, diced medium
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 green bell pepper, diced medium
1 large carrot, diced small
3 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil + 2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Couple of generous dashes fresh black pepper
15 oz can pinto beans, drained
1 cup good dark beer
1 8-oz can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water or veg broth
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped (about a cup, lightly packed)

In a large pot, cook onions and green bell pepper over med-high heat, until tender and a little brown (15-20 minutes) stirring occasionally.

At the same time, put tempeh in a large frying pan and fill with water until it is almost covered. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce and let simmer over high heat for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring occassionally. When water is mostly absorbed, mash tempeh with a fork, so it's crumbly but still chunky. Lower heat to medium and add 2 teaspoons olive oil , saute for 15 more minutes.

At this point, the twenty minutes for your veggies should be up. Add garlic and saute one minute, then add salt and spices (except cilantro, you add that last) and saute a minute more. Add beer and deglaze the pot. Cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, beans and water. Your tempeh should be done cooking so add that as well. Lower heat to medium, stir it up and cover for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 30 more minutes stirring occasionally. Add maple syrup, lemon juice and stir it up. Add cilantro. Serve!

Fun Food Facts:

Garlic: Garlic, nicknamed “the stinking rose” because of its pungent aroma, has many health benefits. Garlic has been proven to be extremely good for heart health for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that eating garlic relaxes the blood vessels because of the production of nitric oxide. In addition, garlic is very anti-inflammatory, which helps prevent severe asthma attacks and can help people with the pain from rheumatoid arthritis. (

Onions: Onions are rich in powerful sulfur-containing compounds that provide many of their health-promoting effects. Onions are very rich in chromium, which helps cells respond to insulin. Studies have shown that regular consumption of onions can lead to lower glucose levels, lower cholesteral and lower blood pressure. (

Tomatoes: One of the most talked about benefits of tomatoes comes from the carotenoid lycopene. Lycopene from tomatoes has been found to be protective against colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers. Ketchup is a popular product used by Americans to receive lycopene’s cancer fighting qualities. A little know fact is that organic ketchup delivers three times as much of the cancer-fighting carotenoid, lycopene, as non-organic brands. (


  1. Hey Peaches:
    Love it. I also like the photograph, is that a cup cake?
    Luv Ya

  2. Hey dad!

    Yes, that is definitely a vegan cupcake :) Thank you for the blog support!