Food

Hearty Vegan Jackfruit Beef Stew


It is a hearty and filling vegan “beef” stew recipe that is loaded with veggies and flavors. For good measure, we also added some jackfruit chunks to have something beefy to bite on. It is the perfect dinner recipe when you need a warm and steamy bowl of delicious vegan comfort food.

Red Dutch oven from above with a stew where you can see chopped potatoes, spinach leaves, carrot slices, tomatoes, and mushroom slices. Slices of bread is next to it. A hand is holding a spoon taking some from the middle

We are all about vegan gluten-free comfort food here and this recipe is no exception. When fall is here, we also make our Vegan Bean Chili with Millet, or our Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, or our Vegan Pot Pie sometimes only the stew part without the crust. And fall also means soup season, we slip in some cozy Vegan Cabbage Sausage Soup or any of these delicious Creamy Vegan Soups.

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What to expect from a jackfruit stew?

It is a rich vegetable stew recipe, which is already perfect without any beef substitutes. To be honest, we made it several times just like that, as a veggie stew. But my husband was so eager to try young green jackfruit. And it actually turned out to be a pretty delicious addition.

What is jackfruit?

Jackfruit is very trendy now in the US. The young, unripe green jackfruit is primarily used in vegan recipes as a meatless alternative to pulled pork. While the ripe, sweet yellow jackfruit is used in desserts like cakes or pies.

In this recipe, we used canned young green jackfruit in brine*. It mimics the texture of beef chunks, but without the fatty, heavy taste.

A black bowl from above with a stew where you can see chopped potatoes, spinach leaves, carrot slices, tomatoes, and mushroom slices. Slices of bread is next to it.

Other vegan beef alternatives

You can use any of the below alternatives though depending on your preference, taste or diet:

  • soy chunks, which are similar to textured vegetable protein but in beef bite size. You can prepare these the same way as we prepare TVP. -> What is TVP? Read our guide on how to use it.
  • marinated tofu fried separately and added when the stew is ready to be served ->Read more about How to marinate tofu here.
  • oyster mushroom stripes -> They are our go-to plant-based and allergy-friendly meat substitute. They have such a meaty, sturdy structure. -> Read more about how to cook with Oyster Mushrooms here.
  • store-bought vegan beef chunks

Or you might also say that you don’t care about jackfruit or beefy chunks in your stew and that is absolutely fine. This recipe is perfect as a vegetable stew as well. Let us know in the comments how do you like your stew!

Ingredients

Who doesn’t love stew? I mean just imagine a warm bowl of perfectly cooked vegetables in a thick brown sauce that smells spicy and sweet at the same time. Besides jackfruit, this vegan beef stew is loaded with 8 different vegetables:

  • onion
  • garlic
  • carrots
  • celery stalks
  • tomatoes
  • potatoes
  • button mushrooms
  • spinach leaves

But the seasoning steals the show. I love how my husband makes different spices come together in a way that is so aromatic, but just enough spicy with a teensy bit of sweet at the end.

  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • ground dried oregano
  • dried bay leaves
  • dark chocolate -> Oh yes, you are reading it correctly. You can definitely taste the difference even if it is only a little bit of chocolate.
  • sriracha (chili paste) -> You need something little bit spicy. Depending on your taste you can spike it up with freshly cut raw chili pepper.
  • smoked paprika powder -> It brings out the chili flavor a little bit more.

This jackfruit beef stew recipe is so rich and delish, not to mention unforgettable. It gets better and better as it rests, so make it today! 100% guaranteed to improve all the days that it lasts, if it lasts.

Red Dutch oven from above with a stew where you can see chopped potatoes, spinach leaves, carrot slices, tomatoes, and mushroom slices. Slices of bread is next to it.

How to make this jackfruit beef stew?

My husband cooked this vegan stew in our brand-new cast-iron Dutch oven*. Whoopee!!! Don’t worry if you don’t have one, this recipe is absolutely perfect in a stockpot too. We made it lots of times and will show you below step-by-step how to cook the best vegan jackfruit stew every time.

Preparing the ingredients

  • Peel and chop onion and garlic.
  • Wash, peel and chop potatoes, tomatoes, and celery.
  • Wash, peel and slice carrots.
  • Clean mushrooms with damp towel and slice them.
  • Wash the spinach leaves. If you use frozen spinach, don’t need to thaw them, just add it like that.
  • We used canned jackfruit which needs to be drained and chopped.

Cooking the stew

  1. Heat a stockpot or a Dutch oven to medium heat and add olive oil.
  2. Cook the chopped onion for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a few seconds.
  4. Add the sliced carrots. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes.
4 step photos to make vegan stew - adding olive oil, onion, garlic and carrots
  1. Add the canned jackfruit and season it with salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder.
  2. Stir well and add sriracha (chili paste), and dark chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted.
  3. Add the smoked paprika powder and stir until combined.
  4. Add the vegetable broth until all veggies are covered and add the herbs: fresh thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Simmer the stew covered with a lid for approx. 40 minutes.
4 step photos to make vegan stew - adding jackfruit, seasoning, sriracha, chocolate, smoked paprika, thyme and bay leaves
  1. Now, add the chopped celery.
  2. Then add the chopped potatoes and pour the remaining vegetable broth into the pot. Stir well and cook the stew covered with a lid for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and the sliced mushrooms and cook the stew covered with a lid for 5 minutes.
  4. To avoid lumps, in a separate bowl mix the corn starch with some liquid from the stew and add it back after that. Stir and bring it to boil.
4 step photos to make vegan stew - adding celery, potatoes, tomatoes, mushroom and thickening the soup with corn starch
  1. You’re almost ready. Take out the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves.
  2. Add the fresh spinach leaves. Stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted. Now, you’re ready to serve this rich and loaded jackfruit stew. Good appetite!
Last two steps to make vegan stew. Taking out thyme and bay leaves and adding spinach

How to thicken a stew

  • With STARCHAs we eat gluten-free, we usually chose to thicken the stew with starch as gluten-free flours on their own will not give you the best result. You can use boxed GF flour mixes with starch content as well though. We only tested this recipe with corn starch and tapioca starch. Read this Tapioca Flour Substitutes articles if you want to know which starches can be substituted with each other and how.
  • With FLOUR – If you don’t need the stew to be gluten-free, you can thicken it with all-purpose flour.
  • Read our Creamy Vegan Soups post to see 10 ways to thicken any soup or stew. Examples among others are potatoes, beans, or even stale bread.

In both cases, to avoid lumps, you need to use a separate bowl to mix the starch or flour with a bit of liquid from the hot stew. If it is thoroughly combined, you can add the mixture back. Stir vigorously for a couple of seconds. The starch or the flour is only activated (starts to thicken the stew) if it is heated, so bring the stew back to boil. You will see the result almost immediately. If you are not happy with the thickness, make another round.

Stockpot vs Dutch Oven

The Dutch oven is made of thick cast iron so it distributes and keeps the heat more evenly. And due to its enamel coating, it is more unlikely that anything is sticking to the bottom or burning down. While the stockpot is usually made of stainless steel or aluminium thus it is thinner. Therefore, you need to watch the heat more carefully to prevent burning if you boil all the liquid out of the pot.

Two things to pay attention to if you are making this vegan stew in a stockpot is

  1. do not let the liquid evaporate and
  2. stir more frequently.

Top tips to make perfect stew with jackfruit

  • Chop vegetables evenly – We added carrots first as they need the most time to be cooked, then celery and potatoes, then tomatoes and mushrooms, finally spinach.
  • How spicy should it be? – Depending on how hot and spicy you prefer your chili, you can go from mild chili powder to sriracha chili paste or to freshly chopped raw chili peppers.
  • Chocolate alternatives – You can use cocoa powder for a similar but fully whole foods plant-based alternative.
  • Thickening the stew – For detailed explanation see above under “How to thicken the stew”
A black bowl with a stew where you can see chopped potatoes, spinach leaves, carrot slices, tomatoes, and mushroom slices. Slices of bread is next to it. A red Dutch oven is in the background with the remaining stew

FAQs and substitutions

What to serve with it?

I would say that you have already potatoes in the stew, but it is so satisfying to dunk your bread or cornbread into this lovely stew.

How to store it?

This stew recipe is perfect for batch cooking. You can easily store it in the fridge for 3-4 days without any problem.

What else can I add?

  • I would happily add other root vegetables like parsnip, rutabaga, or celeriac.
  • Instead of spinach, you can certainly add kale or other leafy greens.
  • We don’t recommend adding broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage as they can change the taste significantly.
  • You can certainly add legumes like sweet peas, corn, chickpeas, cannellini beans or kidney beans to make the stew loaded with extra protein.
  • We don’t recommend adding sweet potato as it is too sweet and the spices listed in the recipe card will not be able to balance it like that. In that case, you need to change the seasoning as well.
Red Dutch oven from above with a stew where you can see chopped potatoes, spinach leaves, carrot slices, tomatoes, and mushroom slices. A slice of bread is place on the rim. Red white table clothes are around with slices of bread, spinach leaves and spoons

This Jackfruit Beef Stew recipe is meat-free, dairy-free and egg-free. It is also suitable for vegan, vegetarian, nut-free and gluten-free diets. It can also be WFPB-friendly (whole foods plant-based) if you cook the onion and the garlic in water or in veggie broth.

More vegan dinner recipes

You can browse through our Vegan and Gluten-free Dinner Recipes or our Quick Vegan Meals collection or check out

Red Dutch oven from above with a stew where you can see chopped potatoes, spinach leaves, carrot slices, tomatoes, and mushroom slices. Slices of bread is next to it. A hand is holding a spoon taking some from the middle

Vegan Stew with Jackfruit

My Pure Plants

Hearty and filling vegan stew recipe that is loaded with veggies and flavors. Plus jackfruit so you can turn it into a vegan beef stew.

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins

Total Time 1 hr 20 mins

Course Main Course

Servings 4 people

Calories 277

Ingredients 

 

Vegetables – in order of appearance

Seasoning – in order of appearance

Prevent your screen from going dark

Instructions 

Preparing the vegetables

  • Peel and chop onion and garlic. Wash and chop potatoes, tomatoes, and celery. Wash, peel and slice carrots. Rinse and slice mushrooms. Wash the spinach leaves. We used canned jackfruit which needs to be chopped.

Making the stew

  • Heat a stockpot* or a Dutch oven* to medium heat and add olive oil. Cook the chopped onion for 1-2 minutes, add the finely chopped garlic and cook for a few seconds.
  • Now, add the sliced carrots. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes.

  • Add the chopped jackfruit and season the stew with salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. Stir well, then add sriracha sauce and dark chocolate. Mix well until chocolate is completely melted.

  • Now, add the smoked paprika powder and stir until combined. Then, pour the vegetable broth until all veggies are covered and add the herbs: fresh thyme sprigs and dried bay leaves. Cook the stew on medium heat covered with a lid for approx. 40 minutes.

  • Add chopped celery and chopped potatoes. Pour remaining vegetable broth into the pot. Stir well, put the lid on and cook for approx. 10 minutes.

  • Add chopped tomato and sliced mushrooms. Stir well, put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes.

Thickening the stew

  • To avoid lumps, you need to use a separate bowl to mix the corn starch and a bit of liquid from the stew. If it is thoroughly combined, you can add the mixture back. Stir vigorously for a couple of seconds. The corn starch is only activated (starts to thicken the stew) if it is heated, so bring the stew back to boil. You will see the result almost immediately. If you are not happy with the thickness, make another round.

Notes

  • Chop vegetables evenly – We added carrots first as they need the most time to be cooked, then celery and potatoes, then tomatoes and mushrooms, finally spinach.
  • How spicy should it be? – Depending on how hot and spicy you prefer your chili, you can go from mild chili powder to sriracha chili paste or to freshly chopped raw chili peppers.
  • Chocolate alternatives – You can use cocoa powder for a similar but fully whole foods plant-based alternative. 
  • Thickening the stew – Start with one Tablespoon of flour or starch and repeat if needed.
  • How to store it? – This stew recipe is perfect for batch cooking. You can easily store it in the fridge for 3-4 days without any problem.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 277kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 6gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 660mgPotassium: 1054mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 10489IUVitamin C: 41mgCalcium: 131mgIron: 3mg

UPDATED: The original recipe was published in October 2019. It has been updated with more tips, faqs and substitutions in October 2021.



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