It's been abominably cold outside, the dogs are moping around after a reluctant outing in the icy rain, and I'm fighting the worst possible cold, itchy, scratchy throat and all.
In other words, it's the perfect time for a bowl of piping hot vegan "beef" stew.
This is one of my favorite stews, one I make over and over again, especially this time of year. It is warm and savory and fragrant with herbs, and it is quite perfect served with a chunk of crusty French bread for a delicious weeknight -- or weekend -- dinner.
I don't use TVP with any frequency in my cooking anymore, especially with the availability of really good faux meats, but I do really like it in this stew because it holds its texture during cooking. I brown the TVP (soy) chunks in some oil before I add them to the stew for more flavor, and they also add good protein.
This is really like a classic beef stew, minus the meat. Most of the ingredients here are exactly what you'd find in a beef stew, and if you've been missing some of those flavors after going vegan, you'll really love this meatless version.
Tips for making a delicious vegan beef stew
The reason I brown the chunks before adding them is because this improves the texture, making it more meat-like, and also adds more flavor to the chunks, which are bland on their own. To add more flavor, you toss the chunks with some herbs and then dredge them in flour. The flour also helps thicken the stew.
You can use seitan, with great results, or even tofu. Brown the seitan and tofu exactly as you would the TVP chunks for more flavor.
It's up to you, but I like that the wine adds another layer of flavor, and we need that here. The alcohol cooks out completely, but if you're still unwilling to use it, leave it out.
Again, this builds in more flavor, but leave it out and use water if you have to. I strongly recommend the stock, though.
Yes! With no artery-clogging fat from meat, and lots of veggies and protein, this stew is quite the health star and you'll get lots of great nutrition for much fewer calories than if you were eating the real thing.
Yes, wild, dry mushrooms like shiitake or oyster would be best here for the greatest texture. Reconstitute them with hot water before using, then coat them with herbs and flour and brown them just like you would the TVP chunks.
You can also just try my vegan mushroom stew, which is delicious.
Yes! And I even have a recipe for you for an Instant Pot Vegan Beef Stew.
The butter really smooths out the gravy and gives it a nice finish. You don't have to add it, but I recommend it strongly.
A hunk of crusty bread or rice -- white or brown -- are both delicious with this stew. Or spoon it up by itself for a memorable and comforting meal.
Ingredients for vegan beef stew
- Vegetable oil
- TVP chunks (soya chunks. You can also use soy curls)
- Unbleached all purpose flour
- Mixed dry herbs (I use rosemary, sage and thyme)
- Red wine (optional)
- Vegetable stock (can use water is you don't have this)
- Soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)
- Vegan butter for stirring in at the end (optional)
More belly-warming vegan stew recipes
- Vegan Irish Stew
- Caribbean Black Eyed Peas Stew
- Chipotle and Cumin Spiced Vegetarian Chili
- Mushroom and Wild Rice Bisque
- Vegan Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Vegan "Beef" Stew
Vegan Beef Stew
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 ¼ cups TVP chunks (soya chunks. You can also use soy curls)
- ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon mixed herbs (I use rosemary, sage and thyme)
- 1 - 2 teaspoon ground pepper (add more or less based on your own taste)
- 1 large onion (finely diced)
- 2 medium carrots (finely chopped, or use about 2 cups of baby carrots)
- 3 stalks celery (finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 4 medium potatoes (cut in medium-sized chunks)
- ½ cup red wine (optional)
- 4-5 cups vegetable stock (or more, as needed. Use water is you don't have this)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon parsley (chopped, for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional, but nice)
- Immerse the TVP chunks in a bowl of hot water for 20 minutes. Drain, then add half the herbs, salt, flour and half the pepper. Toss to mix well.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a dutch oven or large pot and when hot, add the TVP chunks in batches and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- 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).
- Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic along with some salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened and are translucent, about 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Add the wine to the pot along with the remaining herbs, and continue cooking until the wine has mostly evaporated.
- Add the potatoes, stir to mix, then add 3 cups of vegetable stock and let it all come to a boil.
- Add the TVP chunks back to the pot. Mix well and once the stew comes back to a boil, add the soy sauce, then cover the pot and let it cook over low heat for 20 minutes so all the flavors meld together and the veggie are thoroughly cooked. If the stew is too thick, you can add more vegetable stock.
- Check seasoning before you turn off the heat and add more salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the vegan butter, if using.
- Garnish with some parsley, if desired, and serve hot.
- Roasting the soy chunks before adding them to the stew improves the texture, making this stew meatier. Browning also adds more flavor to the chunks, which are bland on their own.