Vegan Beef Stew

vegan beef stew
One of those comfort foods I sometimes cooked, and loved, in my pre-vegan days was beef stew.

I was raised in a Hindu household, and my dad – although a meat-eater himself- would have had a fit had I ever served beef in his presence (as many of you know, the cow is revered by Hindus). But in my younger days, I subscribed strongly to the maxim, try everything at least once.

When I started eating beef, encouraged by Desi whose family, ironically, was pure vegetarian, I found I liked it, and I continued to eat it for quite a few years. While I now know that cows are subjected to unbelievable cruelty in slaughterhouses before they end up on our plate, and I often wish I had become a vegan earlier in life, I guess those experiences were part of the journey I had to make to arrive where I am today.

Anyway, beef stew was one of those dishes Desi and I loved and that I sometimes cooked up in our kitchen. As I’ve said before in this space, when I miss some of those dishes today, I cook them with vegan substitutes. I find the results are almost always as satisfying, if not more.

While I usually use vegetables like mushrooms and eggplant in lieu of the meat, this time I used a more conventional substitute: textured vegetable protein, or TVP.

TVP, which is made with soy, makes a great meat substitute because it has the same chewy texture as meat when cooked. It’s also protein-rich, minus the cholesterol, so what’s not to love?

I’ve been buying TVP for a while now, but usually I can only find it in granular form which limits one’s options. But then, the other day, I happened to wander into a store in my area run by Seventh-day Adventists who have long preached the importance of vegetarianism, along with some other Christian sects like the Quakers. This store offers a variety of vegan food substitutes and prepared foods that I’ve never before seen even at my vegetarian-friendly co-op or at Whole Foods.

Since I am all for patronizing businesses that not only support a vegetarian lifestyle but sell only vegetarian foods, this has become my new favorite grocery store.

Now on to today’s recipe, my vegan “beef” stew, which is made almost exactly as one would a regular beef stew. The result is just as delicious, if not more, and the whole thing took about a third of the time to cook since the TVP didn’t need as much time on the stove as beef would.

This is the perfect dish for a cold, wintry night, the kind we’re now having plenty of here in the northeastern United States. Serve it with some warm rice or even some bulghur or couscous, and it makes for a complete meal that’s out of this world.

Vegan Beef Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups TVP chunks (these were about ½-inch square). Submerge the chunks in boiling water and let stand around 30 minutes until they've absorbed a good amount of the water. Drain them thoroughly.
  • Toss the chunks with:
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat 1 tbsp canola oil in a big pot and when hot, add the TVP chunks in batches. Brown on all sides. This step helps give the chunks a great texture as well as improves the flavor of the final dish, so don't skip it. The flour also helps thicken the stew.
  2. Remove the chunks to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add another tablespoon of oil to the same pot (don't worry about any floury bits stuck to the bottom as these will eventually come off and actually help develop the flavor of the stew).
  4. Add 1 cup of chopped onions, 1 cup of chopped carrots and 3 potatoes, diced, to the oil.
  5. Stir and saute over medium heat, about five minutes, until the onions have softened.
  6. Add 1 tbsp pepper and salt and stir in.
  7. Add ½ tsp each of dried basil and oregano, and 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp of turmeric (optional) and about 1-2 tablespoons of hot sauce like Sriracha hot chilli sauce.
  8. Stir in.
  9. Return the TVP chunks to the pot and add 1 cup of dry white wine.
  10. Add just enough water or vegetable stock to submerge the veggies. Stock is preferable, but water will do.
  11. Bring the stew to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook over medium-low heat about 30 minutes so all the flavors merge together.
  12. Turn off the heat once the veggies are completely tender.
  13. Add some chopped parsley or coriander and stir in.
  14. Serve hot.

This dish tastes even better the next day, when the veggies and TVP have had a chance to sit around and absorb all the flavor of the herbs. I love it so much, I eat it out of the pot with a ladle all day!

Enjoy, everyone, and Happy Holidays!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.


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  1. says

    Ho Ho Ho (No The Santa isn’t laughing here,it’s me).I too made some VEGETARIAN FISH and blogged about it,and here u made BEEF stew….so wht should i say…gr8 minds think alike ??LOL

  2. says

    I was surprised on seeing a beef dish on reading the heading of this post 😉 TVP seems to be a good subsitute for red meat. I should definitely try this one. Wishing You and Your Family A Very Happy New Year Dear. May All Your Dreams Come True :)

  3. says

    I find that true with tofu too, that when it absorbs all the spices it tastes better mostly the next day…have yet to try tvp…Happy New Year Vaishali !

  4. says

    I’m surprised you haven’t seen TVP chunks before. An Indian friend gave me a box from one our local Indian groceries of TVP chunks. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the TVP. I definitely don’t think TVP tastes like beef. Try some seitan next time. That will be even better I bet.

  5. says

    That is how life is – as long as the curve is positive everything is fine! Why regret that which cannot be undone? For that matter I am still semi-vegan!! I still haven’t given up coffee, am still trying to perfect my macarons and hats off to you and ppl like you who have tasted all kinds of food and still manage to stay vegan!! Here I try as far as possible but I really cannot avoid especially in gatherings and hotels!

    BTW, the dish does not agree with me only because it looks like meat:(

    Wish you both a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

  6. says

    Cham, Yeah, I find it hard to believe too, now :)

    Alka, I guess they do :)

    Uma, Anudivya, Priya, Sanghi, Curry Leaf, Gita, Usha: Thanks, and a happy new year to each of you.

    Scott: I have had chunky TVP before, only I don’t easily find it at my usual groceries. As for the taste, the TVP does do a great job of absorbing the flavors of the herbs, giving the same satisfaction of eating the beef without the awful taste of real meat. The texture is amazingly meaty.
    I’m not a big seitan fan because I find it has a peculiar taste.

    Sunshinemom, Happy New Year. I can imagine the meaty look might put off lifelong vegetarians, but I can assure you it doesn’t taste like meat: it’s much better :)

    Shaw Garden, Thanks for the feedback: so glad you liked the stew. Also great to hear from a fellow DC area blogger. Welcome.

  7. Anonymous says

    I think there is a mistake with the pepper. It says 1 Tbsp Pepper to coat the TVP chucks and another 1 Tbsp for the stew mixture. I would have to believe it is supposed to be Tsp??? Otherwise that is way too much pepper!

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