If you are looking for a dish to impress – this Vegan Beef Stew is your top choice. Rich, savory aroma of wine & herbs is combined with sweetness of stewed vegetables – simply amazing.
There are few types of Beef Stews. This French classic is one of the most popular however elaborate. Veganizing it was a bit of a challenge, but the effect was well worth it.
Why you need to try this Vegan Beef Stew recipe?
- high in protein thanks to soy chunks
- great family dinner dish
- full of flavors thanks to wine and herbs
- ready in way shorter time than ‘original’ version
- hearty and filling
- even more delicious next day
Table of Contents
INGREDIENTS IN VEGAN BEEF STEW
TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein is cheap alternative to meat that best resembles it’s texture for dishes like stews. It’s neutral in taste and it easily absorbs any flavor it’s soaked in.
This is why we will be soaking our soy chunks in vegetable stock with addition of beef seasoning. If you have access to vegan beef broth than by all means use it.
Pearl onions are used in original Beef Bourguignon recipe I took inspiration from. If you cannot get them, tiny shallots will work nicely too.
Tiny championes or baby Bella mushrooms will work best in this vegan beef stew. It’s best if you only cut them in half (or in four pieces), so that they hold their form.
DRY RED WINE
The original recipe calls for good burgundy wine, but I realize that you might not have such ingredient at hand (I didn’t). I used decent quality red table wine available where I live (Cyprus). If you live in any Mediterranean country you won’t have a problem finding such wine.
Otherwise my suggestion is to use the wine that you enjoy to drink.
Wine is really important ingredient in this recipe, so don’t omit it unless you have a reason. It gives depth and enriches the stew enhancing other flavors.
With affordable ingredients, great texture and original taste this Vegan Beef Stew will soon become your favorite.
Vegan Beef Stew – a ‘la BourguignonCourse: Dinner, LunchCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
Rich flavor of wine and herbs and great texture make this vegan beef stew a dish to impress.
3 large carrots
500g / 18 oz small champignons (white mushrooms) or baby Bella mushrooms
300g / 10 oz very small onions (shallots or preferably pearl onions)
3-4 cloves garlic
- FOR THE ‘BEEF’
2 cups soy chunks
1 cube vegetable stock
2 tbsp beef seasoning
1 tbsp soy sauce
700-800ml hot water
- SPICES and CONDIMENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups red dry wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
2tsp dried thyme (3tsp fresh thyme)
1tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper
1 tbsp wheat flour with 1/4 cup water (optional)
- We will start with preparing our soy ‘beef’. In a big bowl dissolve 1 cube vegetable stock in hot water. Add 1tbsp soy sauce and beef seasoning. Toss your soy cubes inside.
You may need to cover them with a plate, so they stay submerged in stock. They like to float to the surface.
- Chop onions depending on their size. If you have tiny shallots or pearl onions cut them in two/four pieces. If you have a bit bigger onions cut them in big chunks (picture below).
- Peel your mushrooms or clean them with dry cloth. Cut them in two or four pieces. Chop carrots in half slices.
- In a pot with thick bottom heat olive oil and add bay leaves. Fry your onions until translucent – 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and after a minute carrot – cover and stew for 10 minutes.
- Toss soy chunks together with broth into the pot with veggies. Pour all the wine in. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat until part of the wine evaporates.
- Add remaining ingredients: mushrooms, tomato paste, thyme, parsley. Season with 1tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper.
- Simmer the dish covered on low/medium heat for at least 50 minutes. Mix few times, so nothing gets burned on the bottom of the pot. Your mushrooms may give a lot of juice, so last 20 minutes you may want to cook the stew uncovered.
- Wine, broth and all the juices from veggies need to reduce for the stew to become nice and creamy.
If it’s still too watery mix 1 tbsp all purpose flour with 1/4 cup water, add 2 tsp of sauce from the stew – mix well so there’s no lumps. Add this to the stew and stir in well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Try the stew and season with salt and pepper according to your liking. I added 3 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper in total.
- Do not rush with this recipe. Just like with original Beef Bourguignon the longer the stew is cooked the better and deeper the taste. In fact it is way better after heating up the next day.. or even next day.
Beef Bourguignon is traditionally served with a good quality bread or baguette. Ideal would be freshly baked – you can try this Easy Homemade Bread that always turns out great.
Other option is to serve it over creamy mashed potatoes that will perfectly combine with rich flavor and interesting texture of this stew.
Other hearty dinners you will enjoy:
PROCESS OF COOKING VEGAN BEEF STEW
SOAKING SOY CHUNKS IN STOCK AND SPICES
It’s important that we mix all the spices with veggie broth and let soy chunks sit in it for at least 15 minutes. This way not only will soy chunks soften and get proper texture. They will gain umami ‘meaty’ taste. Soy (or tamari) sauce is very helpful in this process.
It is by stewing onion and carrot until they become soft and basically carmelized we obtain deep sweet flavor that balances savory taste of wine and herbs. You can add 1 tsp of brown sugar to onion and carrot to bring out their sweetness even more.
REDUCING THE WINE
Dry red wine is very important ingredient in this vegan beef stew. Soy chunks will ‘drink’ some of it, but most of the wine will reduce and thicken, causing aromas to concentrate and intensify. If you cook the stew according to the recipe you won’t feel alcohol, just pleasantly vibrant aroma.
You may think that cooking time is a bit long for a no-meat stew, considering that carrot and soy chunks will probably be soft enough to eat after 20 minutes or so. Believe me – this dish only gets better with time, so do not rush it! You are more then welcome to stew it even longer than recommended. If you plan to serve it on a party or important dinner, prepare it one day ahead.
Questions & Answers
What can I use instead of meat in stew?
In this recipe we used soy chunks or soy curls – also known as TVP (textured vegetable protein), together with some spices to create texture and flavor resembling beef. Other plant based products you can use instead of beef include: firm tofu, seitan, jackfruit, tempeh or green lentils.
How do you thicken vegan beef stew without flour?
There are many solutions for thickening a stew if you do not want to use flour. Here are few of them:
- potato starch, cornstarch or chickpea flour mixed with cold water (can be used the same way as flour)
- add some potatoes to the stew (or mashed potatoes)
- if you add red lentils on the very beginning of cooking (together with soy chunks) they will fall apart towards the end and thicken the stew