This vegan beef stew is made like a traditional British beef stew, using plant-based ingredients. It delivers the same comforting, hearty bowl of comfort food with the same deep flavour as the traditional dish. Perfect to serve up with dumplings or mashed potato on a wintery evening!
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Classic approach – we’ve stuck with classic ingredients and techniques, but with plant-based alternatives!
- Practice makes perfect – we went through quite a bit of recipe testing, feeding family and friends to get feedback until we (and they!) were 100% happy with the outcome.
- Simmer time – a long simmer time is essential for a good stew or casserole. You want the sauce to thicken, the flavours to develop and to give the veg enough cooking time. This vegan beef stew is no different and should simmer for a total of around 50 minutes.
- Comforting and warming – perfect cold weather food. It’s like a big hug in a bowl, with warming, rich flavours to cosy up with.
- Simple and easy – while it doesn’t have the shortest cook time, it’s simple and there’s not much prep. Once the veg is chopped this one is mostly simmering so you can get on with something else, aside from the odd bit of stirring and adding of ingredients!
- Protein-packed – as this stew features both vegan beef strips and green lentils, it really packs in the protein. Just like this Vegan Sausage Casserole (butter beans and vegan sausages!).So the next time you’re asked where vegans get their protein, point them in our direction.
🍽 Equipment and Products Used
The most important bit of equipment we’d recommend for this recipe is a good casserole dish with a lid. They’re usually solidly built and long-lasting, as well as versatile, so it’s a good investment. You can even use them as a Dutch oven for a bit of sourdough baking!
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Vegan beef stock – while you can use vegetable stock (and the recipe will still taste great), we do like to use a vegan beef stock for this vegan beef stew. In the UK, we’d suggest trying the Oxo cubes or you can pick up Massel beef style stock powder online (which is available in Europe and Australia too). If you’re in the US, we always hear great things about Better Than Bouillon’s no beef base.
- Vegan beef pieces – we like to use the occasional meat substitute! Whether you make some beef seitan or you want to grab a bag of your favourite shop-bought pieces, as long as it’s a standard beef-style flavour (no weird sauces or seasonings), you’re good to go! Don’t like meat subs? Beans work great in this recipe too – I personally love a butter bean (a.k.a. lima beans). Or just add double the amount of green lentils.
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce – or, its counterpart from North England, Henderson’s Relish. Worcestershire sauce has a powerful umami, sour and sweet flavour – just make sure you buy a vegan version! It traditionally has anchovies in. Henderson’s Relish has a similar flavour but is vegan as it comes (and usually cheaper).
- Red wine – we use red wine in this recipe to add a deep richness. If you don’t like to cook with wine or would prefer to keep it alcohol free, simply replace the wine with more stock. Just make sure the wine is vegan if you are using it.
You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this article.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 180c / gas mark 4. Fry onions for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until soft. Then add the garlic for 1 minute.
2. If your vegan beef pieces need browning off, do that now. Otherwise, heat them for a minute, then add the flour and stir.
3. Pour in the stock and wine, bring to a simmer.
4. Next, pop in the tomato puree and stir through, then add the Worcestershire sauce.
5. Put the carrots and potatoes in, then give everything a good stir.
6. Pop the bay leaves and sprig of thyme into the stew.
7. Put a lid on and place the stew in the oven for 30 minutes. Stir halfway through.
8. Stir in the lentils and put back into the oven with the lid on for another 20 minutes. Remove the thyme stick (the leaves should have cooked off the stick) and season to taste. Serve with crusty bread, dumplings or mashed potatoes.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Simer time – make sure to simmer the stew for the full amount of time to allow the flavours to develop and the sauce to thicken. And use a lid! It will stop your oven getting covered in splashes and the sauce from thickening too much.
- Slow cooker – while we don’t have one right now, so we can’t give exact timings, this recipe would work well in a slow cooker (or crock pot). This would make for an even easier cooking experience, so you could come home to a delicious smelling kitchen and dinner ready to be served!
- Vegan Beef Strips – there are so many vegan brands out there offering vegan beef strips right now. We have used the brand Taste & Glory, but we also recommend Fry’s and in the US, Gardein B’ef seem to be a great option. Failing that, we would recommend using TVP chunks - they can be rehydrated in stock before adding to the stew.
- Keep it wholefoods – if you don’t have vegan beef strips or would prefer to keep it as a wholefood stew, use double the amount of green lentils, or add in a tin of butter beans (lima beans) in place of the strips.
- Freezing – Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
No, vegetable stock works great in this recipe and will still be delicious.
Definitely – corn flour makes a great thickener, but other gluten-free flours would work too. If using cornflour, start with half the amount and add more if needed. Also don’t stir it in with the vegan beef pieces, but instead mix the cornflour with a splash of water to make a paste and then add it to the stew once simmering.
You can make vegan beef stew in advance to help save you time later. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days, although it’s best eaten fresh.
It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to defrost and heat thoroughly.
🍛 What to serve with it
Buttery Swede Mash by us
Vegan Sweet Potato Biscuits by A Virtual Vegan
Parsnip Mash by Eating Works
Herby British Dumplings with Suet by us
Similar recipes to try
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Hearty Vegan Beef Stew
- 1 onion – chopped
- 5 cloves garlic – crushed
- 300 g vegan beef pieces
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups vegan beef stock – or veg stock
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce – or Henderson's relish
- 300 g potatoes – peeled and chopped into bite size chunks
- 300 g carrots – peeled and chopped into bite size chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 400g green lentils – cooked, 1 tin (drained weight 265g)
- Preheat the oven to 180c / gas mark 4.
- Fry the onions until soft, around 4-5 minutes, in a large casserole dish (with a lid). Add the garlic and fry for another minute.1 onion, 5 cloves garlic
- Pop the vegan beef pieces in and brown them off, if they need it. Once browned (or heated) add the flour and stir well.300 g vegan beef pieces, 4 tbsp plain flour
- Pour in the wine and stock, then bring to a simmer.1 cup red wine, 2 cups vegan beef stock
- Stir in the tomato puree, and add the Worcestershire sauce.2 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Next add the potatoes and carrots, then give it a stir.300 g potatoes, 300 g carrots
- Drop in the bay leaves and sprig of thyme.2 bay leaves, 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Put the lid on and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Check and stir after 15 minutes.
- Stir the lentils through and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Put back in the oven with the lid on for another 20 minutes.400g green lentils
- Remove the sprig of thyme and serve! The thyme leaves should have (mostly) fallen off into the stew, so you should just be left with the stick.
- We like to use vegan beef stock, but this recipe still tastes great with a vegetable stock.
- Use your favourite vegan beef pieces, or alternatively, add one can of butter beans or double the amount of green lentils if meat substitutes aren’t your thing.
- You can use vegan Worcestershire sauce or Henderson’s Relish, depending on which you prefer or can get your hands on!
- If you don’t drink alcohol, or don’t want to use the wine, replace it with another cup of stock.
- This dish will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.