This vegan Pumpkin Chili is made meaty with smokey tempeh and flavored to perfection with squash puree for a seasonal twist on an American classic.The first from-scratch meal I ever made was chili. I did a little cooking when I lived with my parents 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), 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.
Why I love this vegan pumpkin chiliOver 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 Vegan Pumpkin Chili with Smoky Tempeh Chili. 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
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN CHILILet’s take a look at how to make this vegan chili. The good news is this recipe is super simple to make. It can be made in just one pot and in under 30 minutes for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
STEP ONE – SAUTÉ THE VEGETABLESLet’s start by sautéing some vegetables. In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. For this recipe, my oil of choice is avocado oil. It is a healthy oil that handles heat well. You could also use coconut oil or vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and sauté them until they are translucent and fragrant. This takes about 5 minutes. Once they have filled your house with the sweet aroma of onions, add bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the tempeh is browned
STEP TWO – ADD THE SPICESSpice is key to every good chili recipe and this one uses 5 important spices. Those spices are:
- Chili powder
STEP THREE – ADD THE REMAINING INGREDIENTSThat’s your tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth, and everything else. Add the ingredients to the soup pot and stir together. Cook for about 15 minutes until the chili is heated all the way through. That’s it! So easy. Now let’s serve it up and chow down.
Tips and Tricks
- This recipe allows for a lot of variation. While I recommend it as it is written, the tempeh can be substituted for couscous, lentils, or a meat-free alternative for a gluten-free option.
- Consider adding 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke for a smokier chili.
- You can eat this chili immediately. Top with fresh cilantro, lime, avocado, and vegan sour cream.
- Uneaten chili can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month. To thaw, place it in the refrigerator the night before. The following day, gently reheat the chili over the stovetop.
More Vegan Chili Recipes
- Best-Ever Classic Vegan Chili
- Maple Bourbon Sweet Potato Chili
- 3-Bean Vegan Chili
- Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili
Vegan Pumpkin Chili with Smoky Tempeh
- 2 tablespoons avocado 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
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- pinch of cayenne
- 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.