If serving with rice, start using this method from Saveur - my absolute favorite for fluffy (not sticky at all) brown rice! It takes 45 minutes, so start it now to be ready for serving.
Next steam tempeh by adding 1 inch of water to a large saucepan and bringing to a simmer. Then insert steamer basket and top with tempeh (still whole or cut into large chunks). Cover and steam for 15 minutes - this will soften the texture slightly and most importantly, draw out some of the bitterness. Once steamed, cube and set aside.
Make sauce by heating a medium cast iron or metal skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and slightly browned - 3 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Add tomato sauce, chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce and stir. Heat until bubbly, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer sauce to a blender and blend on high for a completely smooth sauce. For a chunkier sauce, pulse and leave some texture (I prefer mine smooth). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding a pinch of salt for more flavor or adobo sauce for heat.
Transfer sauce back to skillet and heat over low, stirring occasionally, to thicken the sauce and deepen the flavors.
Next add black beans to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once bubbling, reduce heat, add cumin and a pinch of sea salt, stir, and reduce heat to low/simmer (to keep warm until serving). For a refried bean texture, mash with the back of a wooden spoon until thick and paste-like (I left mine whole).
Heat another large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and the cubed (steamed) tempeh and crisp and brown on all sides - about 6-8 minutes total. Then add to the red sauce and stir gently to coat.
Cover with a lid for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, then remove lid and continue simmering on very low temperature until serving.
To serve, divide the rice, beans, tempeh, and vegetables of choice between 2-3 serving bowls. Garnish with lime and fresh cilantro (optional).
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without extra toppings (cabbage, cilantro, chips). *Sauce adapted from my Tofu Chilaquiles.