Homemade Vegan (or is it?) Beef Stew

Eddie Bauer Sweater

First thing’s first.  Do you love my new sweater?  Because I do.  I love it hard.  Not only is it cozy, beautiful, comfortable, and hippie-professory, but it was $19 at Eddie Bauer. Originally $129.95.  YEA.  I know.  I bought this sweater like 2 weeks ago and thank goodness I have several different circles of people in my life (work, church, running, “other”) because I have been wearing it everywhere.  I’m not joking.  In fact, I’m wearing it right now. It’s that awesome.

Do you know what else is awesome? My Crock Pot.  Until recently, we have used our Crock Pot slash slow cooker for two things: The Thode Super Secret Superbowl Dip & The Thode Super Secret Chili (we will probably tell you both recipes if you ask, but it sounds much cooler to put SECRET in the title).  I always wanted to be one of those people I read about that fills their Crock Pot with meaty, saucy goodness in the morning only to return with the perfectly cooked meal just waiting to be scooped onto a plate.  I never was one of those people because I was terrified that I would burn the house down.

Vegan Beef Stew

{Obviously I’m a professional photog, because you can see my reflection in the spoon.}

Well it is a NEW YEAR kids, and Megan is getting craaaaaaazy up in hur.

Last week I had a craving for my childhood fave, Dinty Moore Beef Stew.  Being that I’m a vegetarian, and I’m pretty sure that stuff is a heart attack in a can, I figured I could make it myself.  I used seitan in place of beef, and it turned out rich and hearty.

Vegan Beef Stew 2

I Crocked. I Potted.  And my Homemade Vegan Beef Stew was delicious.  If I wouldn’t have known it was vegan, I really would not have been able to tell.  But just for kicks, I put the exact same ingredients in another slow cooker and swapped the seitan for real beef.  Except for some slight texture differences with the seitan vs. beef, Husband said they tasted exactly the same.  And he’s my biggest critic, so that’s saying something.

Westsoy Seitan

For those of you that don’t know, seitan (also called wheat gluten or wheat meat) has the look and texture of meat when cooked.  I’ve only used seitan in soups or stews, and it has always impressed me.  Seitan is the base for a lot of Tofurky brand items, and is used in restaurants that offer a “fake meat” option.  Derived from cooked wheat gluten, seitan is high in protein and low in carbs, which is great for a vegetarian / vegan diet where carbs are always more accessible (dang you, Tostitos lime chips!)

Have at it, kids!


Vegan Beef Stew 3


(adapted from Once a Week Vegan)



1 lb. seitan, cut into bite sized chunks (or 1lb beef cut into chunks)

2 Tbs. olive oil

3/4 cup wheat flour

Put the flour into a sealable bag, dump in the seitan chunks and give it all a good shake until coated.

In a pan, bring the olive oil to frying temperature.  Brown the seitan until it resembles beef that’s been lightly fried.


Put the seitan in the Crock Pot and add the following:

4 large carrots, cut into 3/4″ pieces

4 large potatoes, cut into 3/4″ pieces

1/2 large onion, sliced thin so it will disintegrate into the gravy this recipe automatically produces (can use whole onion, I’m just not a big fan)

1 large bay leaf

1 garlic clove, minced


In a large measuring cup place:

1 1/2 cups of hot vegetable or no-beef broth

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbs. Kitchen Bouquet (in the BBQ sauce aisle; it adds a great beefy taste)

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. sugar

Big pinch of cloves (don’t leave this out; it’s what gives this stew it’s hearty taste)

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of hearty red wine (I use Trader Joe’s Nouveau)

Stir the liquid to distribute everything evenly, then pour it over the seitan and vegetables. Cover the pot, set cooker to low and cook for 6-8 hours or until the vegetables are fork tender.

Serves 4 and can easily be doubled.

**I prepped everything the night before, keeping the liquid separate from the veggies. Then I threw it all in the cooker in the morning!


Have you tried seitan? What is your favorite meat alternative?

What was your favorite food to eat as a kid?