Vegan Beef Stew is the perfect dish for the chilly season. This recipe is as close as I could get to recreating the beef stew my dad and I used to make together when I was kid.
If you know me at all, you know that I tend to come up with recipes that are big, hearty, one-pot/dish recipes that cook slowly over a few hours. Well, this hearty vegan stew is no exception! I love to make this on a cold Sunday afternoon, beer in hand and football on the TV. (Don’t worry, you can still make this without demonstrating every male stereotype at the same time.)
What is Beef Stew?
The beef stew we know and love in America seemingly originates from both Irish stew and beef bourguignon. Traditional Irish stew is made with mutton and a variety of root vegetables. Beef bourguignon has similar ingredients, with the addition of red wine.
Like all recipes, these stews have been adapted and changed over time as they’ve passed through different cultures. This Vegan Beef Stew recipe is based off of how my dad used to make it when I was a kid.
Vegan Beef Stew vs. Vegan Pot Roast
Okay, so…what’s the difference between beef stew and pot roast? It basically boils down to how the meat is cooked. In beef stew, the meat is stewed in a gravy-like sauce with the veggies. With pot roast, a hunk of meat is roasted in the oven while sitting atop a pile of veggies.
Since the ingredients and seasonings are so similar, the end results are kind of the same. Of course, since we’re vegan, it makes the most sense to use these flavors and ingredients to make Vegan Beef Stew. But if you’re craving vegan pot roast, this recipe will definitely do the trick!
Ingredients for Vegan Beef Stew
- Olive oil to braise our vegan beef and onion.
- Onion and garlic for the base of our flavors. Always gotta have ’em.
- Beef-substitute. You can use a few different things to replace the beef in this recipe. I’ll go into more detail about all of the different options later in this post.
- Yukon gold potatoes are perfect for this recipe because they maintain their structural integrity even when stewed for a long period of time.
- Carrots, celery, mushrooms, and peas are our veggies for this dish. This is the combination I like to use because it’s reminiscent of what I ate growing up.
- Vegetable broth is the base of our sauce/gravy. You can use any vegetable broth you’d like, but this dish is best made with a beef-style broth such as Edward & Sons Not-Beef Bouillon or Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base.
- Red wine is a flavorful addition that brings depth and a little acidity. I recommend using a dry red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon. You can use Barnivore to ensure that the wine you choose is vegan-friendly.
- Fresh herbs are packed with flavor and these are going to give our Vegan Beef Stew that traditional, homestyle taste.
- Tomato paste is another ingredient that gives this dish that hearty, rich flavor.
- Cornstarch is used at the very end of the cooking process to thicken our stew.
What Kind of Vegan Beef to Use
There are a few options for beef substitutes you can use in this Vegan Beef Stew. First and foremost, if you don’t like eating vegan meat, feel free to leave this ingredient out completely. You’ll be left with a vegetable-packed, beefless stew that will still be delicious. I’d just recommend using a little bit more of all the veggies to make sure your stew isn’t too liquid.
If you’re like me and you love a good meat replacement, you can use a packaged vegan beef, soy curls, or chunks of seitan. As long as you use an appropriate amount of whatever you choose, the recipe should still work just fine.
I’ve tried this recipe with Beyond Steak, Gardein Be’f Tips, and soy curls, and all of them work just fine. The Beyond and Gardein both have flavors of their own that mesh well, whereas the soy curls are totally plain but soak up all of the flavors from the stew. Seitan should behave roughly the same as the soy curls.
No matter which option you choose, just make sure to cook them through enough at the beginning so that they won’t get mushy in the stew.
How to Make Vegan Beef Stew
- Prepare your protein of choice. For frozen vegan beef substitutes, you won’t have to do anything since you usually cook these from frozen. Seitan also usually comes ready to cook (you may need to chop it up into large chunks). If you’re using soy curls, prepare them by soaking in hot water for 10 minutes and then draining.
- Sear your protein and onion in a little bit of olive oil.
- Sprinkle on flour and toss to coat, cooking for a few extra minutes.
- Deglaze your pot with red wine and add beef-style broth.
- Add in potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic, tomato paste, and herbs.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for at least an hour.
- Once potatoes are soft, taste and season with salt and lots of black pepper.
- Make a corn starch slurry by whisking together equal parts cornstarch and water. You’ll only need a little.
- Add in corn starch slurry along with peas and cook until peas are warmed through.
Can I make this without wine?
Sure! Just use an equivalent amount of extra vegetable broth in its place. You could even try using red grape juice instead to get the same kind of tartness. (I haven’t tried this though, so I can’t personally vouch for it.)
Can I make this gluten-free?
Of course! Just make sure that the veggie broth and the protein you choose are gluten-free.
The only other replacement is the flour used to coat the protein. For that, just use a gluten-free flour such as Bob’s Red Mill or plain old white rice flour.
Storage & Reheating
This Vegan Beef Stew is super easy to store. It’ll stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days (or however long you feel comfortable eating leftovers) and you can freeze it for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply heat it on the stove over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
The potatoes might end up falling apart a little bit after being in the freezer, but it’s not going to ruin the dish or anything. Yukon gold potatoes hold up better in general than potatoes like Russets.
- Dutch-oven or pot. You’ll need something that is at least 4 quarts and is heavy enough that it will simmer steadily. If your pot is too thin, the bottom of your stew might burn.
- Wooden spoon. Aside from making you feel like a medieval knight stirring a hearty stew in a cauldron, a proper wooden spoon allows you to scrape the bottom of the pot during the deglazing step.
More Cozy Soups & Stews
- Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
- Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup
- Butternut Squash Curry
Vegan Beef Stew
- cutting board and knife
- vegetable peeler
- Dutch oven or stock pot
- wooden spoon
- wine bottle opener
- 2 tbsps olive oil or vegan butter
- 12 oz beef substitute see notes
- 1 medium white or yellow onion sliced
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes about 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 8 oz mushrooms quartered
- 1/2 cup dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon
- 3 cups beef-style broth see notes for brand recommendations
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour or rice flour if gluten-free
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
- Add oil or vegan butter to a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add in protein of choice and sear until browned, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in onions and mushrooms and sauté for 5-8 minutes, until mushrooms have shed most of their excess moisture and onions are slightly browned.
- Stir in minced garlic, then sprinkle with all-purpose flour and stir to coat. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pot with red wine, scraping up any fond that might be sticking to the bottom of your pan.
- Add in the broth, tomato paste, carrots, celery, and cubed potatoes. Add in fresh herbs, bay leaves, and black pepper. Stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low/medium-low to establish a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Add in frozen peas. Whisk together cornstarch slurry and stir it into the stew. Allow the stew to simmer until thickened to preference.
- Discard bay leaves and herb stalks. Taste and adjust salt to preference.
- This stew is delicious served over buttered noodles, steamed rice, mashed potatoes, or with a slice of hearty bread.
- Protein options: We’ve made this stew with the Beyond Steak, Gardein Beefless Tips, and with soy curls. It can also be made with a beef-style ground such as Beyond or Impossible, if you don’t mind that the beef isn’t in chunks.
- Soy curls: If using soy curls, use *half* of an 8 oz bag. Rehydrate the soy curls in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a nut milk bag, a few layers of cheesecloth, or a clean, lint-free kitchen towel and wring out as much excess liquid as possible.
- Beef-style veggie broth: Our favorite options are the Not Beef bouillon cubes by Edward and Sons, or the No Beef Base by Better Than Bouillon (which comes in a paste). If using Better Than Bouillon, double-check that it’s vegan-friendly because they make regular beef bouillon as well.
- Regular veggie broth: You can prepare this recipe using regular vegetable broth, but the result won’t be as savory, so you might consider adding in a splash of soy sauce or vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce to add some extra umami.
- No wine: If you prefer not to cook with wine, you can deglaze with additional vegetable broth.
- Dry herbs: If you can’t get your hands on fresh herbs, you can substitute in 1/2 teaspoon each dried rosemary and thyme.