This extra flavorful vegan tempeh 'beef' stew features tender vegetables and hearty cubes of tempeh slowly cooked in a savory gravy brown sauce. It makes for an amazing vegan comfort food dish that's perfect as a crowd pleaser or to serve as a Christmas or Thanksgiving main dish.
I definitively had more beef bourguignon meals than I can remember growing up. My family used to be very meat focused and cooking cubes of beef with vegetables in a gravy-like stew totally aligned with our Quebec culinary roots.
That classic comfort food might not have been a favorite of mine at the time, but I have to say that now anything gravy-ish is a hit in my house. Mushroom stroganoff? Swedish TVP meatballs? Bring.it.on.
Maybe it was actually the beef itself in the beef stew that I did not enjoy much, because really, who will say no to a bowl of rich and savory vegetables cooked in a flavorful gravy?
This vegan beef stew is simple and all made in one-pot, although will take some planning ahead as it needs to cook for a little while. The vegetables are first seared in the pot and then, keep cooking in the oven with the gravy ingredients. This allows the flavor to build up, the veggies and tempeh to tenderize and the gravy to thicken to a silky and rich stew-like broth.
Meaty beefless stew
While veganizing this traditional recipe, I did not omit completely the meaty part in an effort to keep it as hearty and filling as possible.
I swapped the beef for tempeh and it worked out so perfectly! Why? Because tempeh keeps its shape very well in a saucy dish, even if cooked for a while. Plus, it provides a fair amount of protein and its very meaty texture is so satisfying.
If you are not a fan of tempeh, then you can simply use cubed extra firm tofu. Chopped seitan would also work well. Worst case scenario, simply omit the meaty component and double the amount of mushrooms.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Amazing plant-based comfort food recipe.
- Healthy and nourishing.
- High-in-protein vegan meal.
- Very versatile and makes for amazing leftovers.
- Great crowd pleasing meal.
- Vegetables: Onions, carrots, garlic and mushrooms.
- Protein source: Tempeh. I used the tempeh from Lightlife, but any kinds will work well.
- Gravy: Coconut oil, flour and vegetable broth.
- Flavoring: Dried thyme, bay leaves, soy sauce, vegan Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and red wine.
How to make a stew without meat
Pre-heat the oven and first prep all the ingredients, meaning chopping the veggies, slicing the tempeh and measuring the liquids/spices. This will help the cooking to go faster and more smoothly.
You will have to also prepare a 'beurre manié' or kneaded butter (actually, coconut oil in this case). Beurre manié is used to thicken a broth to a gravy consistency and simply consists of a fat that's coated with flour to a paste texture. Once the paste is added to a recipe, the fat will melt gradually and slowly release the flour within the broth without allowing it to clump, thus creating a gravy that's smooth.
To prepare the paste, combine the coconut oil with the flour and use the back of a spoon to press on the coconut oil clumps. This will help incorporate the flour within the fat. You are looking to create a smooth and uniform paste.
Cook on the stove
Warm up a large oven-safe pot and add a little coconut oil if desired. Then, add the onions, carrots, and tempeh. Let them cook for about 5-7 minutes while stirring often or until slightly browned (you don't want to cook them all the way through).
Then, add the garlic and stir for 30-60 seconds before adding the red wine. Stir and let the alcohol cook off for a few minutes. Add the kneaded butter, stir to combine and then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the mushrooms.
Cook in the oven
Cover the pot and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then, take out of the oven, add the mushrooms, stir and bake for another 30 minutes (uncovered this time).
Once done, taste and adjust flavoring/thickness of the gravy (see tips below) and serve.
Watch how to make it
How to make the gravy thicker?
This vegan beef stew is meant to be a fairly thin gravy-like meal. If you are looking for a saucy dish that's thicker, something closer to a classic vegan gravy, then I recommend to add some cornstarch to thicken the broth. Here is how to do it:
- Once done baking for an hour in the oven, transfer the pot back on the stove and bring to a simmer. You can leave the broth cooking for a few extra minutes to let some extra water evaporate.
- Then, in a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch + 2 tablespoons of cold water (cornstarch slurry) and whisk well to break all the clumps. Arrowroot powder would work well too.
- Slowly pour the cornstarch slurry over the actively simmering stew while stirring constantly. The stew should thicken very quickly. You can start with half the amount of the slurry and add more as needed. You could make it quite thick depending on how you want to serve it by repeating the slurry again. Once it is thickened to your liking, remove from the heat and serve!
Important note: definitively DO NOT sprinkle the powdered cornstarch straight over the warm stew as it will clump!
- I love my dutch oven pot to make this recipe, but if you don't have one, then simply make sure to use a pot that also goes in the oven.
- Use a broth that already have lots of flavor as it is a main ingredient. You can make your own if you have the extra time (Minimalist baker's homemade vegetable broth would work great for this recipe). I'll sometimes also add 1-2 tablespoons extra of concentrated vegetable broth from Better than Bouillon for added flavor.
- Try to keep the pieces of onions large and don't try to separate the layers too much as they will cook for a while.
- It is better to add the mushrooms halfway through cooking to prevent them from overcooking and turning too soft.
- This recipe is very versatile! Swap the dried herbs for fresh herbs and use some rosemary, Italian mix or even parsley if you love these flavors. Feel free to also swap the carrots for other root vegetables (turnip, parsnip) or try adding some large chunks of celery, leeks or some frozen green peas too for a pop in color (add halfway through cooking).
A vegan beef stew is such a carb-lover! It makes for a very saucy dish, so look for something to catch all the flavorful gravy.
I love to serve this no beef stew with a side of bread. Vegan dinner rolls work great to dip in the gravy, but use any kind of crusty bread.
Can also be served over mashed potatoes or cooked short noodles such as bow tie or rotini pasta. Even brown rice would work amazingly or scoop the stew over a steamy baked potato.
Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of fresh parsley for color.
This recipe makes for great leftovers. Let it cool first, transfer to an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. The gravy will thicken during storage, but should loosen up after heated up.
To reheat, use the stove or the microwave and add a splash of water as needed for desired consistency.
Can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Although not essential, red wine adds lots of amazing deep flavor to a bourguignon style gravy. But if you prefer, simply omit it.
Yes. Swap the soy sauce for a gluten-free tamari and check to make sure your vegan Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free as well. Also, use a gluten-free flour when preparing the kneaded butter like this 1:1 gluten-free wheat flour from King Arthur or simply omit the kneaded butter and thicken your gravy using a cornstarch slurry (more info above on how to do that).
Yes: cook your vegetables using a splash of water/broth when it gets too dry and omit the kneaded butter all together and thicken the gravy using a cornstarch slurry (more info above on how to do that).
No you don't, although I find the oven to be a great (and low maintenance) way to cook the stew slowly and build up lots of flavor. If you want to skip using the oven, then simply keep cooking the stew on the stove on a slow simmer, covered (maybe on low-medium heat) for about 20-30 minutes. Then, add the mushrooms and keep cooking for another 20-30 minutes keeping the cover off this time and stirring once in a while. The stew is done when the veggies are tender and the gravy thicker.
Other 'meaty' vegan dishes
- Vegan tofu bolognese
- Meatless Swedish meatballs
- Vegan hamburger helper
- Meat-free lentil goulash
- Lentil shepherd's pie
- Vegan meatloaf
- Vegan chickpea burgers
- Marinated smoky tofu sandwich
I hope you like this easy vegan stew 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.
Vegan Tempeh 'Beef' Stew (Bourguignon Style)
- 2 x 227 g tempeh - cut in 1 inch cubes
- 2 yellow onions - chopped in large pieces
- 3 large carrots - peeled and chopped in large pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic - crushed
- ½ cup red wine
- 3 tbsp flour - all-purpose or whole wheat
- 2 tbsp refined coconut oil - solid
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp liquid smoke
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt - or to taste
- 8 oz mushrooms - sliced in half, to add halfway through cooking
- Pre-heat the oven at 350º. In a small bowl, combine the flour with the coconut oil. Use the back of a spoon to press on the coconut oil to help incorporate it into the flour. It should create a thick paste (kneaded butter). Set aside.
- Warm up a large oven-safe pot and then add the onions, carrots and tempeh. Stir and cook on medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes or until browned. Use a small coconut oil if desired to prevent the veggies from sticking to the bottom.
- Then, add the garlic and stir while cooking for about 30-60 seconds. Add the red wine and keep cooking until almost all cooked down (for a few minutes).
- Add the flour-coconut oil mixture and stir well to combine. Then, add the rest of the ingredients except for the mushrooms. Stir and cover, then transfer to the oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Then, add the mushrooms and put back in the oven to cook for 30 more minutes (without the cover this time).
- Take out of the oven and adjust flavor and thickness (see notes). Enjoy over mashed potatoes, rice, cooked pasta or with a side of bread.
- How to make the gravy thicker: Once done baking for an hour in the oven, transfer the pot back on the stove and bring to a simmer. You can let the broth cooking for a few extra minutes to let some extra water evaporate. Then, in a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch + 2 tablespoons of cold water (cornstarch slurry) and whisk well to break all the clumps. Slowly pour the cornstarch slurry over the actively simmering stew while stirring constantly. The stew should thicken very quickly. You can start with half the amount of the slurry and add more as needed. You could make it quite thick depending on how you want to serve it by repeating the slurry again. Once it is thickened to your liking, remove from the heat and serve!
- For a gluten-free recipe: Swap the soy sauce for a gluten-free tamari and check to make sure your vegan Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free. Also, use a gluten-free wheat flour (like this 1:1 from King Arthur) when preparing the kneaded butter or simply omit the kneaded butter and thicken your gravy using a cornstarch slurry.
- This recipe is very versatile: Swap the dried herbs for fresh herbs and use some rosemary, Italian mix or even parsley if you love these flavor. Feel free to also swap the carrots for other root vegetables (turnip, parsnip) or try adding some large chunks of celery, leeks or some frozen green peas too for a pop in color (add halfway through cooking).
- Storage: Keep any leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheat on the stove or use the microwave adding a splash of water to loosen up the consistency as needed. Can also be frozen for up to 3 months.