This vegan coq au vin recipe features a deep, rich and savory wine-based ragout filled with chewy mushrooms, hearty lentils, tender pearl onions and the aroma of fresh herbs. It is a plant-based version of the French classic coq au vin recipe without any compromise on flavor. Serve over mashed potatoes for a satisfying comfort food meal to cozy up over on a chilly day!
If you are looking for a hearty bowl of plant-based comfort food, then you have got to try this vegan coq au vin recipe.
We love to make these saucy vegan Swedish meatballs and this vegan tempeh stew when we crave comfort food on a cold day. And this healthy coq au vin is another must-try if you are trying to eat more vegetarian meals.
This recipe is a meatless and vegan version of coq au vin. The thick stew has an amazing savory flavor and such a rich consistency that's absolutely unbelievable.
And if serving over a big pile of creamy mashed potatoes, then you are in for a big treat.
Even though the traditional meat was replaced by hearty lentils, this vegetarian coq au vin provides the same delicious blend of deep flavor from the wine, umami mushrooms and fresh herbs.
The crumbly lentils paired with the chewy mushrooms, melt-in-your-mouth pearl onions and that rich, creamy gravy make this dish stand out and incredibly delicious.
It's like a cozy hug for your taste buds, and the best part? It is so easy to make!
This recipe is entirely made on the stove, which means you don't have to use your oven to prepare it. This can be handy if making it during the holiday season such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, where the oven is already swamped with other dishes to bake.
This recipe is perfect for a family dinner (and you can make it ahead) or to serve for guests, whether they are vegan or not!
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
What is coq au vin?
This dish is the ultimate comfort food - it is saucy, hearty, and just what you need to warm up your belly on a cold winter night.
Wine is a primary ingredient to prepare the gravy of a traditional coq au vin and different types of wine can be used to make it depending on the region in France where the dish is from. It is a slow simmering dish that can help tenderize tougher meat.
This recipe is a vegan alternative to this very meaty classic French cooking recipe. It uses vegetable broth, swaps the chicken for lentils and includes a few drops of liquid smoke to reproduce the smoky flavor from the bacon.
Why you will love this recipe
- Amazing vegan comfort food recipe to enjoy in the winter or the fall
- Perfect dish for special occasions (like a date night!) and the holiday season, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Year celebrations
- Meatless, but just as good as the traditional dish!
- Rich in savory deep flavors, thanks to the red wine and vegetables
- This is not a quick recipe, but pretty easy to make
- Healthy vegetable-loaded recipe filled with plant-based protein, fiber and vitamins
- Can be made ahead
- 100% vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and can easily be made gluten-free
Ingredients you will need (+ substitutions)
- Lentils: French Du Puy lentils are the best choice for making this stew, with black lentils (beluga lentils) being the second-best choice. If you don't have that kind of lentils, then you can use other kinds (except for the orange ones), such as brown or green. What is great about French lentils is that they really hold up their shape well even if they are simmering for a while opposed to brown or green lentils, those ones can turn mushy easier.
- Onions: browning onion adds a lot of flavor to the savory gravy. A medium shallot works too.
- Pearl onions (or baby onions): pearl onions (small onions) add more texture and flavor. They turn soft and almost creamy while simmering in the gravy, amazing! Pearl onions can be hard to find, depending on where you live. If you cannot find them fresh, then you can also use frozen pearl onions (easier to find in grocery stores).
- Carrots: I used 3 carrots to make the stew, which added color, texture and a mild sweet taste.
- Mushrooms: classic vegetables in a coq au vin for its chewy bite and umami flavor that infuses the gravy. I used cremini mushrooms, but white buttons are great too.
- Garlic: also classic in this dish, I added 5 cloves of garlic for a nice boost in taste.
- Coconut oil: used to cook the vegetables but also, to make a "beurre manié", which will help thicken the stew and create a silky rich gravy.
- Plain flour: included in the beurre manié to make the stew thick.
- Red wine: essential for making a coq au vin as it adds a huge amount of flavor to the gravy. Using a dry and full-bodied red wine that you actually like to drink (meaning NOT low quality) will make a huge difference in flavor. Burgundy wine is the traditional red wine used for coq au vin, but Merlot, Côtes du Rhône or Pinot Noir works well too.
- Thyme and bay leaves: to flavor the stew. You can also use rosemary, herbes de Provence (mix of French herbs), oregano and basil. Italian mix would work too if that's all you have.
- Tomato paste: also to help deepen the umami flavor of the stew. I like using tomato paste in a tube that I keep in the fridge. That way, I can use a small amount at the time.
- Liquid smoke: an authentic coq au vin adds bacon to the thick stew. Using a small amount of liquid smoke helps recreate that mild smoky flavor.
- Worcestershire sauce: for flavor.
- Vegetable stock: use a veggie broth from concentrate or from a box. You can also make your own vegetable broth, which would make for the best-flavored stew!
How to make vegan coq au vin
This recipe should take about an hour to prepare, with more than half of that time dedicated to hands-off simmering.
Prepare the "beurre manié"
Simply combine the coconut oil with the flour in a small bowl and then, use the back of a spoon to crush the oil and mix it in with the flour. This can take a minute to do, you are looking for a super smooth paste without any lumps. Set aside for later.
Cook the vegetables
Warm up a large pot (I like using a dutch oven, but any heavy-bottomed pot is good) with a little olive oil or coconut oil and then, add the onion and carrots with a pinch of salt. Cook on medium-high heat stirring often until softened and browned.
Then, add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 3 more minutes stirring often.
Add the uncooked lentils, peeled pearl onions, broth (start with 2 cups), wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dash of liquid smoke, fresh thyme and bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Once it starts to simmer, then keep on a medium-low heat (or enough to keep a low simmer going) and cover. Keep simmering stirring once in a while for about 30 minutes.
Thicken the stew and serve
Uncover the pot, give the stew a good stir and add the beurre manié. Stir well to dissolve the paste.
Let it cook for another 5 minutes and add more broth until desired consistency (you can add ½-1 cup extra of broth). Also adjust flavors to your preference (salt, liquid smoke, etc)
Remove the stems of thyme and bay leaves if desired and serve over mashed potatoes or with a side of crusty bread.
- If the stew is too thin, then you can make more of the beurre manié (maybe half of it) and add it to the stew while it simmers. Simmering for longer uncovered will also help thicken the stew.
- If the stew is too thick, then simply add more vegetable broth to the pot.
- To add more flavor to the stew, you can also toast the flour in the oven before making the beurre manié. This will remove the raw taste of the flour, which can make the stew more complex in nutty flavors. My grandmother was always doing this! You have 2 choices to toast the flour: 1- simply add the flour to a pan (no oil, just dry flour) and warm up on medium-high heat on the stove while stirring often until slightly golden brown (about 6-10 minutes, watch carefully), OR 2- transfer the flour over a baking sheet, disperse it all over the surface and bake in the oven at preheated oven at 350º for about 5 -6 minutes. Stir or shake once in a while. Then, let the flour completely cool down before combining it with the coconut oil.
- Those pearl onions are amazing in this recipe and I highly recommend going out of your way to find them. But peeling them is such a chore! Check out this ultra-quick video (30 seconds!) to see how you can peel them super quickly: "The fastest way to peel pearl onions".
How to serve vegan coq au vin
Personally, the best way to serve coq au vin is over creamy mashed potatoes. The rich ragout slowly blending in with the silky potatoes is an absolute match you don't want to miss!
Other than mashed potatoes, coq au vin also goes great over:
- Creamy polenta
- Mashed cauliflower
- Rice or quinoa
- Small pasta
- with crusty bread (especially French baguette)
This dish is already packed with healthy veggies, but feel free to serve it with a side of green veggies (such as broccoli) to add more vibrant color to your plate.
You can also serve with a side salad to brighten up the dish. A light dijon-based dressing (such as seen in this arugula pear salad) would be perfect! And sprinkle with some fresh parsley for a nice pop of color.
Variations to the recipe
This recipe is so versatile and you can give it a little twist without significantly altering it. Here are a few suggestions:
- Jackfruit: jackfruit has a naturally very meaty consistency, making it a great addition to recipes to give them a more meaty feeling.
- Vegetables: you can add more vegetables to this stew depending on what you have. Adjust cooking time accordingly and add them midway through cooking the stew if they are more tender so they don't get mushy. Other ideas include: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, celery, potatoes, parsnip and zucchini.
- Brandy: coq au vin often also includes a touch of brandy (or even cognac, about ¼ cup)) for a boost in flavor. Feel free to add some if you have any!
- Flavoring ingredients: you can experiment and play around with the flavoring ingredients. Try other herbs (such as rosemary or herbes de Provence), add a splash of high-quality balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar or even include some vegan poultry seasoning if you have some. A little bit of soy sauce can also help deepen the flavor more and a splash of maple syrup can balance the overall flavor if needed.
- Protein: to boost this recipe with more plant-based protein, but also a more meaty texture, try adding cubed tempeh, tofu or seitan.
This recipe is amazing for meal prep as it stores well for a few days. Keep the leftover vegan coq au vin in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can also freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat, you can use the microwave or a small saucepan on the stove. The stew tends to thicken as it rests, so add more broth or water and stir before reheating.
Yes, you can! There is actually a classic version of coq au vin made using a "vin jaune", which is a French type of white wine. Using white wine would give that dish an even more elegant look! If using white wine, then look for a dry white wine that you like to drink (good quality), aim for white button mushrooms for color and I would suggest not using tomato paste for a better pairing in flavor.
To make this recipe gf, then use a certified GF flour (we like this gluten-free flour from Bob's Red Mill.
I would recommend against it since the deep and rich flavors from the stew highly rely on the taste coming from cooking the wine. If you are worried about the alcohol content, then know that the actual alcohol evaporates in minutes or even seconds once it starts to simmer. You are then left with the concentrated and unique wine flavor, which is crucial for the character of this dish.
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- Tempeh stew
- Wild rice mushroom soup
- Vegan lentil pot pie
I hope you like this vegan coq au vin recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Coq au Vin
- 1 small yellow onion - finely diced
- 3 large carrots - chopped in large chunks
- 8 oz mushrooms - white or cremini, halved or sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic - crushed
- ½ cup uncooked French Du Puy lentils - black lentils work well too. See notes
- 1 cup pearl onions - peeled (keep them whole), see notes
- 2-3 cups vegetable broth
- 1½ cups dry red wine - Burgundy, Côtes du Rhône, Merlot and Pinot Noir all work well
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 dash of liquid smoke - optional, can swap for some smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt to taste
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp coconut oil - plus more for cooking
- In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil with the flour and use the back of a spoon to crush the oil within the flour until it creates a uniform paste (without any clumps of flour). This can take a minute to do. Set aside.
- Warm up a large pot (dutch oven pots are great for that) on medium-high heat with a little olive oil or coconut oil and then add the diced onion and carrots. Cook on medium-high heat until slightly browned while stirring often, about 4-5 minutes. Then, add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes stirring often.
- Add the uncooked lentils, peeled pearl onions, vegetable broth (start with 2 cups), red wine, tomato paste, vegan Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Once it is simmering, turn down the heat to medium, cover and let it cook for about 30 minutes. Stir once in a while and make sure it is not sticking to the bottom.
- Then, uncover and add the coconut-flour mixture, stir to combine and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes uncovered. The stew is ready when the lentils are tender and it has reached desired consistency. You can add extra broth if the stew gets too thick (I added ½ cup extra of broth).
- Serve warm over mashed potatoes or polenta. Enjoy!
- Storage: keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Can also be frozen (thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating). To reheat, warm up in a small saucepan on the stove or use the microwave. The stew tends to thicken while resting, so add more broth or water before reheating.
- French lentils (Du Puy) are the best kind of lentils for this stew since they hold well onto their shape even after simmering for a while. Black lentils are a great second choice. Brown or green lentils work too, although they will likely lose their shape.
- Pearl onions are such a classic in this French dish and make a big difference in the overall texture. If you cannot find fresh pearl onions, then look in the frozen section of your grocery store. If using fresh pearl onions, then have a peek at this quick video (30-sec) "Fastest way to peel pearl onions", you will save a lot of time and hassle!
- Other ingredients you can include are celery, fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, brandy, tempeh, herbes de Provence, etc. Check out the blog post for more ideas!