This rich, thick and savory vegan stew, with big hearty vegetable chunks and the most flavorful gravy is easy to make and absolutely delicious.
Back when I was a young vegetarian moving out on my own, I “borrowed” an old dog-eared cookbook from my mom. It turned out to be my introduction to both cooking in general, and real – like actually healthy – vegetarian food (not just Big Macs, hold the meat).
Unfortunately, after moving a few times, I lost track of that book.
But a few months ago, we decided as a family to cut down on meat, and I remembered a stew recipe from that book that I made on repeat back in the day. “Back in the day” was over 20 years ago though, and I couldn’t even remember the title of the book.
Anyway, long story short, thanks to my mom’s hazy recollection and some guided hypnosis (just kidding about that last one), I remembered what the cover looked like and managed to track it down.
It’s an old book from 1972 called The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas. Contrary to what you might think, almost 50 years later, it is still in print! My friends, it’s that good.
I’ll be honest, I’ve taken a lot of liberties with this recipe though, so if you’re interested in the original recipe, the book is well worth your hard-earned cash.
The most important change I made was to swap out the butter for olive oil. This is a change I’ve been making more and more for a variety of reasons, but in this case it makes the recipe not only vegetarian but vegan too!
I also love that, unlike many stew recipes, this vegan stew contains no tomatoes, and is more reminiscent of a traditional Irish stew than many American stew recipes.
So without further ado (that was a lot of ado, sorry about that!), here’s how I make this beloved classic.
How to Make Vegan Stew Step-by-Step
- In a large heavy pot or dutch oven, heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add 4 medium sliced leeks, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes).
- Add 1/2 a large onion, quartered, 4 large carrots, sliced, 3 stalks of celery, sliced, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), and 2 bay leaves. Cook until the leeks start to brown.
3. Add 1 lb of mushrooms, halved if large and 1 lb turnips, or rutabaga, cubed.
4. Pour in 1 1/2 cups dry white wine and 3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (or regular Worcestershire if not vegan). Stir and lower the heat to low.
5. Stir in 1 lb of russet potatoes, cubed. Cover the pot.
6. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly until it starts to brown. While the flour is cooking, heat 2 cups of vegetable broth in the microwave (or in a saucepan) until hot.
7. Slowly pour the hot broth into the roux, whisking constantly.
8. Add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons of molasses, 3 teaspoons of paprika, a dash of hot sauce, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Whisk until smooth.
9. Pour the sauce over the stew and stir to combine. Simmer gently, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender and the gravy is thickened, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with parsley for a little color!
I love to serve this vegan stew over creamy mashed potatoes to soak up the gravy. Yes, even though there are already potatoes in the stew! Crusty bread is also a great option.
Make it your own!
Definitely feel free to mix up the vegetables here. I opted for traditional winter root vegetables, but the original recipe included brussels sprouts, which would be great too.
You could even try stirring in some torn kale or spinach toward the end for an extra health boost.
You could also stir in some beans or chickpeas if you’re so inclined.
Vegan Stew Tips and Q & A
Sure! You can replace the wine with more vegetable stock, or even water if you like. Personally I think the wine adds great flavor, and I don’t worry too much about it even when serving kids because the stew cooks for long enough for MUCH (but not all) of the wine to cook off.
The original recipe actually calls for 2 1/2 cups of wine, and I’ve made it that way many times and loved it. However, since I do serve it to my kids, I’ve reduced it here to 1 1/2 cups.
The stew is done when all the vegetables are fork tender. Typically the potatoes will take the longest. Try spearing a potato with a fork around the 50 minute mark, and if it pierces easily, you are good to go.
The exact amount of cooking time will depend on how large your vegetable chunks were cut.
The gravy will reduce and thicken as the stew cooks and starches are released from the potatoes. It will also continue to thicken as the stew cools.
If you would like to thicken the stew, you can make a cornstarch slurry by combining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and stir this in during the final minutes of cooking. Make sure the stew is simmering to activate the cornstarch.
If you would like to thin the gravy (I often do this when reheating), stir in some additional vegetable broth until it reaches your preferred consistency.
Leftover stew is even more flavorful and delicious than the day you make it, so it’s the ultimate make ahead dish. Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
This stew does freeze well, but the potatoes in particular can get a bit mushy once thawed. If you’d like to freeze it, I would recommend cooking the potatoes separately when you thaw it and adding them while reheating it.
Or you can skip the potatoes entirely and add more of something else!
It will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for about 6 months.
To reheat from frozen, thaw first in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat thawed or refrigerated stew in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring in some vegetable broth to thin it out and loosen it up.
Stir frequently to prevent burning.
A Few Other Hearty Vegetarian Recipes You might Enjoy
Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili (amazingly delicious, and also vegan if you leave out the toppings :))
Vegetarian Black Bean Soup (again, vegan if you leave off the toppings)
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers (hearty, super easy to make and delicious! Vegan if you leave out the cheese or use vegan cheese)
This recipe fits well into the Mediterranean Diet as well, if you’re into that! Check out my flexitarian/Mediterranean Diet category for more inspiration!
- 9 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 4 leeks washed, trimmed and sliced (white part only)
- 1/2 large yellow onion quartered
- 4 large carrots sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 3 stalks of celery sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 lb white or cremini mushrooms halved if large
- 1 lb turnips or rutabaga cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 1 lb russet potatoes cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine *see note
- 3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce or regular if not vegan
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups vegetable broth hot
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons molasses*
- 3 teaspoons paprika
- dash hot sauce such as Tabasco
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped parsley (optional) for garnish
- In a large heavy pot or dutch oven, heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot, along with the garlic, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks start to brown.
- Add the mushrooms and turnips or rutabaga. Pour in the wine and Worcestershire sauce and reduce the heat to low. Stir in the potatoes and cover the pot.
- Make the roux: In a measuring cup, heat the broth in the microwave until it's hot. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the roux starts to darken, about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add the hot broth while whisking. Add the vinegar, molasses paprika and a dash of tabasco and whisk until smooth. Stir the roux into the stew.
- Simmer the stew, uncovered, until all the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. If you feel the liquid is evaporating too quickly, you can cover it for a while. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes or crusty bread and sprinkle with parsley.