Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #300: Chilly Willy Chili

Volunteer Carol tries a chili at the 2011 Toast event
Volunteer Carol tries a chili at the 2011 Toast event

For our 300th recipe, we’re throwing it back to the very first one we shared on our blog: an award-winning chili recipe from our 2011 Toast event, where we celebrated our fantastic volunteer community with a chili cook-off!
With its balance of sweetness and spice, this tasty vegetarian chili is sure to be a hit at your dinner table.

Chilly Willy Chili


  • 1 lb. tempeh
  • 2-3 tbsp. ancho chile powder
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 pints of beer (Lagunita’s Copper Ale or another nice beer with malty sweetness)
  • 15 oz. black beans
  • 15 oz. adzuki beans
  • Bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1-2 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (or flour)
  • 1 tbsp. chipotle chile powder
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 qt. diced and/or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped


One day ahead:

  1. Marinate crumbled tempeh overnight in 1 tbsp. of the ancho chile powder, 2 tsp. of the cumin and 1 pint of beer.
  2. Cook black beans and adzuki beans with bay leaves the day before (or used canned beans).

Day of meal:

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add crumbled marinated tempeh and 2 tbsp. butter. Cook, stirring often, until tempeh is browned (about 10 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Sauté onions, red bell pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper in butter. In a small bowl, combine masa harina (or flour), chipotle chile powder, cocoa, and the rest of the ancho chile powder and cumin with enough liquid to form a paste. When the onion sauté is soft, add 2-3 tbsp. of the chili paste. Stir to combine well.
  3. Add black beans, adzuki beans and tempeh. Sauté for 5 min, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and the other pint of beer (or stock of your choice) to desired thickness.
  4. Let chili stew for 30 min. before adding honey and cinnamon. Add chili paste to strengthen spiciness. Add cilantro just before serving.

Serving recommendations:

  • Whole Grain Milling Company yellow corn chips
  • Sharp cheddar from the Caves of Faribault
  • Several dollops of sour cream mixed with avocado, lime and cumin

More from Open Arms

Open Arms, Covid-19 Policy Update

OPen Arms Mask Policy Update (5/23/22) Due to the increasing rate of COVID-19 infection in the Minnesota community and beyond, Open Arms of Minnesota has temporarily reinstated its mask mandate in both kitchens and the entirety of its headquarters at 2500 Bloomington Ave., starting

Read More »