Nothing quite hits the spot on a cold winter's night like this classic vegan stew and dumplings, which are so soft and fluffy. Hearty and comforting, it only needs one pan and it’s ready in 30 minutes. Plus, if you love stews, you may like a Vegan Beef Stew too.
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Easy & one pot – this vegan dumpling stew is nice and easy, and made in one pot which saves on washing up! You’ll need a good sized stew pot with a lid, or a heavy bottomed casserole dish.
- Based on a traditional Irish stew – we’ve taken inspiration for this recipe from a traditional Irish stew, although without the meat. It’s been a recipe that we’ve tinkered with a lot over the years, so it's not strictly traditional, but it is tasty!
- Classic – in this version of vegan dumpling stew, we’ve gone with mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage and carrots because these wintery vegetables are particularly good in a stew.
- Versatile – even though we’ve picked classic vegetables, you can make your vegan dumpling stew using pretty much any veg that you like! Celery, kale and root vegetables like parsnips, swede and sweet potatoes are all really good in stews. You can also try switching up the protein source, for example rather than mushrooms you can use chickpeas, butter beans or black beans. That’s another great thing about this recipe – you can chuck in whatever veg you have lying around, so it’s a great way to minimise food waste.
- Fluffy vegan dumplings – the fluffiest, softest and most delicious vegan dumplings are made on top of this stew! The ingredients make a thick batter, rather than a dough, they then steam on top of the stew with the lid on.
- Thick gravy – the veggies are simmered on low, which allows the flavours to enhance and the gravy to thicken up beautifully. The cornflour it to become the best thickness possible (arrowroot or cornstarch can be used too).
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Potatoes – it wouldn’t be a vegan vegetable stew without potatoes! Chop them into bite sized chunks so that they cook evenly. Alternatively, sweet potatoes could be used.
- Chestnut mushrooms – We like chestnut mushrooms in particular because they are ‘meaty’ and retain their texture well when cooked. If you don’t have mushrooms, they can be replaced with chickpeas, black beans or even tofu – to help make sure the stew is lovely and filling still!
- Vegetable Stock – it helps to make sure the vegan stew and dumplings has a great umami richness to the gravy. You could also use vegan beef stew.
- Ale – a lot of bottled and canned ales are vegan, but it’s worth double checking on Barnivore, or making sure you buy an ale marked as vegan to be sure. Traditionally, ales are brewed using animal products, so be sure to check.
- Cornflour – this helps to make sure the gravy is really hearty and thick, which goes perfectly with the fluffy dumplings! If the stew is too thin after adding the cornflour, wait a few more minutes, then add a little more cornflour and water mixture.
- Oat milk – this is for the dumpling batter – just make sure to use a plant milk that is unsweetened. We like to use Oatly and like oat milk because we find it the most neutral tasting for the dumplings.
- Plain flour – make sure to sieve the flour to make the dumplings extra fluffy!
- A note on the vegan dumpling batter – for these, you’ll need a handful of ingredients; plain flour, grated vegan cheese (we like Koko), oat milk and herbs. You can omit the vegan cheese for a lighter version.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
These steps are an overview to go with the photos of each stage. Head to the recipe card below for full ingredient measurements, instructions and recipe notes.
1. Start with the dumplings. Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Set aside.
2. Fry off the onion in a splash of vegetable oil until it starts to go slightly translucent. Add garlic to the pan and sauté for around 30 seconds. Be careful not to let it burn.
3. Add the potatoes and mushrooms. Cook for around 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to release water.
4. Pop in the tomato paste and carrots. Give the whole lot a good stir.
5. Next, add in the fresh thyme. There's no need to remove the thyme leaves from the sticks – you can simply remove the whole thing before serving. Most of the leaves will fall off anyway.
6. Pour in the ale and stock, bring up to a simmer. Add the cabbage, and then put the lid on and simmer for five minutes. Remove the lid, and stir in the cornflour mixture.
7. Now it’s time to add the dumplings! Make sure the sauce isn’t bubbling too much, as this will make it harder to add the batter. For each dumpling, take roughly 2 tbsp of the dumpling mixture and spoon it onto the stew. It should float on the top. You’re looking to create 8 dumplings, 7 around the edge and one in the middle. If you find you have mixture left after creating 8 dumplings then scrape it onto each of the dumplings evenly (there shouldn't be much mixture leftover).
8. Pop the lid back on and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the dumplings to cook. Remove the whole sprigs of thyme, serve and enjoy! This stew is especially delicious with hunks of buttered bread for dipping.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Cooking with alcohol – the ale is used to add depth of flavour. You can leave it out, but we recommend replacing it with something else. Vegetable stock or vegan beef stock work really well, or you could even try an alcohol-free ale.
- Vegan dumpling batter consistency – the main thing to know is that these dumplings are made with a batter, not dough. So don’t be surprised when making them. They will work – just check the process photos above for what they should look like!
- Steaming the dumplings – make sure that the vegetables aren’t bubbling too much in the gravy, and make sure that the cabbage and all other vegetables are mostly beneath the liquid. So, wilting the cabbage down first makes a big difference.
- Thyme – there's no need to remove the thyme leaves off each sprig of thyme. Instead, you can place them in whole. The leaves will naturally fall off. Just don't forget to remove the sprigs before serving!
- Make ahead – this stew works well if you make it in advance. It keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days. However, if you’re making it in advance, we recommend to only make the stew in advance, rather than the dumplings too. They’re best served fresh, even though they do keep well. Stop after adding the cornflour mix, and then just before serving, make the dumpling batter and steam them on top of the stew with the lid on.
- Freezing – while stew is a great freezer meal, we don’t think mushrooms freeze well. If you’re freezing the dish, be aware that mushrooms go leathery after freezing. Alternatively, leave out the mushrooms if you’re freezing it. You can replace them with another vegetable.
Any combinations of vegetables go in stew! Often, you can use up whatever you have leftover but we like to use mushrooms, potatoes, carrots and cabbage. This is a classic selection but use what you have! Even vegetables like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips and peas go well.
The best way to thicken stew is with cornflour. It can either be sprinkled onto the onions during the frying stage, or mixed with a little water to create a thick liquid and poured into the stew midway through, like in this recipe.
Yes, you can make the vegan vegetable stew ahead of time. We’d recommend making the dumplings on the day that you want to eat them, though. Just stop after adding the cornflour mix, and then when you’re ready to serve the stew, reheat and finish by making the dumplings.
We usually go for a golden ale, but any ale is fine provided that it’s vegan and not flavoured (like the elderflower or coffee flavoured ales that you can sometimes get). You could even try using a stout like Guiness, although we think that Guiness gives a slightly sour flavour that we don’t really like as much.
🍛 What to serve with it
🥔 Similar recipes you might like
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Hearty Vegan Stew and Dumplings
For the stew:
- 1 onion - chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - crushed
- 500 g chestnut mushrooms - chopped into chunks
- 350 g carrots - peeled and chopped (~ 3 carrots)
- 400 g potatoes - peeled and chopped (~ 2 potatoes)
- 350 g savoy cabbage - sliced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups veg stock
- 500 ml ale - check it’s vegan
- 2 tbsp thyme - dried or fresh
- 1 tbsp cornflour - mixed with 2-3 tbsp water to make a paste
For the dumplings:
- 1 cup plain flour
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp chives - chopped
- ½ cup grated vegan cheese - optional but recommended
- 1 cup oat milk - unsweetened
- ½ tsp salt
- Mix all of the dumpling ingredients together in a bowl. Make sure to sieve the flour so that you get extra fluffy dumplings. Set aside once all the ingredients are mixed together well.1 cup plain flour, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp rapeseed oil, 2 tbsp chives, ½ cup grated vegan cheese, 1 cup oat milk, ½ tsp salt
- Fry the chopped onion in a splash of veg oil until translucent.1 onion
- Next add the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn it.3 cloves garlic
- Add in the chopped potatoes, mushrooms and thyme. Cook for about 5 mins, until the mushrooms start to release water.500 g chestnut mushrooms, 400 g potatoes, 2 tbsp thyme
- Pop in the tomato paste and carrots, then stir well.2 tbsp tomato paste, 350 g carrots
- Pour in the ale and the veggie stock, and bring up to a simmer.500 ml ale, 2 cups veg stock
- Next add the cabbage, then allow to simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on. The cabbage will start to wilt down.350 g savoy cabbage
- Pour in the cornflour mix and stir well, again.1 tbsp cornflour
- Take lid off, then carefully spoon 2 tablespoons at a time of the dumpling mix onto the stew, around the edges. They will float on the top. Go the whole way around the pan and then put one in the middle. It should make 8 dumplings, 7 around the edge and 1 in the middle. Scrape any leftover mixture onto the dumplings evenly.
- Put the lid back on and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the lid and the dumplings will be perfectly risen and fluffy. Serve and enjoy!
- You can omit the vegan cheese from the dumpling mix for a lighter result, if you like.
- The dumpling batter should be a thick liquid, rather than a dough. The thickness should be a lot thicker than a pancake batter but still pourable. It should be gloopy. Make sure the stew isn’t bubbling too much when you add the batter, this will make it difficult. Also, make sure all the vegetables are mostly underneath the gravy.
- Try it with your favourite vegetables! Parsnips, swede and other root vegetables would all work well.
- This recipe does freeze well, for three months. However, we don’t think mushrooms freeze well, so a word of warning. They tend to go leathery when defrosted and reheated.
- Keep leftovers in the fridge for three days.