Try a meatless chili that treats tempeh like ground meat

  • Vegetarian Chili from a recipe that appears in “The Complete Diabetes Cookbook.” America’s Test Kitchen via AP

  • This image provided by America's Test Kitchen in February 2019 shows the cover for "The Complete Diabetes Cookbook." It includes a recipe for Vegetarian Chili. (America's Test Kitchen via AP)

America’s Test Kitchen
Published: 3/12/2019 8:12:13 PM

There are countless ways to make a meatless chili, and for a diabetic-friendly version we turned to tempeh as our starting point.

Tempeh, which is made from cooked and fermented soybeans, is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, but low in sodium and carbs. We treated it like ground meat, crumbling it and cooking it in a little oil until browned, then building a flavorful base for our chili.

A hefty tablespoon of cumin seeds added a bold flavor backbone while traditional aromatics rounded out the classic chili flavor profile. A chopped bell pepper and a couple of cut-up carrots added texture and a subtle sweetness that paired well with the tempeh.

To give our chili a burst of freshness and color, we added zucchini and frozen corn at the end along with the cooked tempeh. We prefer 5-grain tempeh in this chili, but any type of tempeh will work well.


4 teaspoons canola oil

1 (8 ounce) package 5 grain tempeh, crumbled into ¼ inch pieces

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 onion, chopped fine

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½ inch pieces

9 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Salt and pepper

3 cups water

1 (28 ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup frozen corn

1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ½ inch pieces

½ cup minced fresh cilantro

Lime wedges

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tempeh and cook until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate and set aside.

Add cumin seeds to now-empty pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, chipotle, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in water, tomatoes, beans, and oregano, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook until chili is slightly thickened, about 45 minutes.

Stir in corn, zucchini, and tempeh and cook until zucchini is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges.

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2019 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy