Magazine Recipes

We’ve Got Great Stews! 32 Warming Vegan Stew Recipes

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By Lora O’Brien

We all know the routine – as the evenings get colder, our food gets hotter. There’s nothing more comforting than a hearty meal to thaw the body after it’s been battling wind and rain all day long. Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, winter makes us crave heavier, more filling food. And what fits the bill more than a nice stew?

Though it may be called something else, each culture has its own kind of stewish recipe that’s passed down through the generations: the Hungarians have their goulash; Moroccans have tagines, Americans have chili; Indians have curries, and the Irish have their famous stew. But in my humble opinion, some of the best stews come from the Middle East. There, exotic ingredients like sour grapes, pomegranate seeds, cinnamon and saffron come together to do amazing things with the humble eggplant and chickpeas. I’ve included a Iraqi and Persian recipes here, but Lebanon is another nation with a great tradition of stews.

Let’s not confuse stews with soups. They’re different in that the former normally can contain flour of some kind to thicken them, are meant to be slow cooked over longer periods of time, and are designed to be served with something carby, like noodles, rice or bread. Stews also normally contain meat and vegetables, but let’s face it – take out the meat, add some veggie stock, and most recipes are fairly easy to adapt from there.

Here, I’ve found 32 deliciously filling vegan stew recipes from around the world that are like a big hug for your tummy.

1. Coconut-Mango Stew with Homemade Naan Bread

Mango in a stew? I’d never thought of that either until now, but the colour of the fruit alone is so inviting and vibrant here, and who doesn’t want to be reminded of the tropics whilst the weather outside is so Arctic? The quinoa and lentils pack this stew out with protein and the hot, crunch naan bread is also gluten free: win win!

Get the recipe here

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2. Spanish Chickpea & Sweet Potato Stew

I personally love sweet potato in stews – it not only bulks the dish out but it adds a lovely, gentle sweetness too. Chickpeas can be a little dull, so they’re been well and truly spruced up in this stew. The harissa gives it a fiery kick, whilst a touch of maple syrup adds a subtle, sweet tone. Throw in a bunch of spinach to wilt and serve with brown rice and you’ve got perfection in a bowl.

Get the recipe here

3. Persian Pomegranate & Walnut Stew

First and foremost – the colours alone in this dish are so beautiful. We eat twice; first with our eyes, second with our mouths, right? And this dish ticks both boxes. This stew has deep historical roots – in fact, it’s a vegan version of the centuries old Persian chicken dish called fesenjan, but here, tofu replaces the chicken. Serve this up with some hot Persian bread on the side.

Get the recipe here

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4. Ghanan Veggie Stew

The inspiration for this dish came straight from the African nation of Ghana itself, where onions, garlic and peanuts feature in many dishes. The veggies here need to be chopped really finely and then softened in a hot oil with chilli added. Spinach and some type of bitter green such as arugula works perfectly wilted into this stew, which I think is best served on a bed of rice.

Get the recipe here

5. Vegan Chili with Homemade Sour Cream

This is a recipe you need in your winter foods repertoire. It’s even more delicious when it’s topped with a dollop of (vegan) sour cream. Whilst most would serve this with some rice as a side dish, personally, I love my chili on a piece of buttered toast. Try it!

Get the recipe here

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6. Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with Kale

There’s just something about bright foods during autumn months that just seems so aesthetically pleasing. And this sweet potato and kale stew is just what you need on a cold autumnal day. The addition of peanut butter may seem odd, but it adds a real infusion of creaminess, whilst the other antioxidant rich ingredients will work wonders to protect your immune system over cold and flu season.

Get the recipe here

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7. Irish Stew

An absolute classic in Ireland, Irish stew is packed with all the veggies the Emerald Islanders seem to love: potatoes, parsnips, carrots and cabbage. But of course, despite the brownish colour, this version is fully vegan friendly. Serve it up with some Irish soda bread and you’ve got yourself a full, filling (or should I just say ‘fulfilling’?) meal.

Get the recipe here

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8. Vegan Chicken & Dumpling Stew

Yep, you read that right – not ‘chickpeas’. I actually wrote ‘chicken’ stew. Do I even need to mention that the ‘chicken’ itself is 100% vegan? The rosemary dumplings are tender, whilst the vegan chicken and veggies all simmer in a rich, herby broth. This is the perfect recipe for ‘meatless Monday’ where you can discover how you can still enjoy ‘meat dishes’ without the actual flesh.

Get the recipe here

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9.White Bean & Cabbage Stew

Sweet and simple! This is basically a super-dense minestrone soup, but without the pasta. I think that a nice drizzle of olive oil and a few squeezes of lemon wouldn’t go amiss with this recipe, which I would serve with a hot toasted baguette.

Get the recipe here

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10. Cashew Cannellini Bean Spinach

I love any recipe that has cashews in it. They’re by far my favourite nut and are so, so versatile. And they taste even better toasted! Tomato passata (liquid tomato puree) makes up the base of this stew and is mixed with a bit of cashew butter to make it creamier. Spinach is thrown in for nutrients and cannellini beans give it an extra protein hit. Then it’s topped with toasted cashews. Lots of cashews, in my case!

Get the recipe here

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11. Fennel & Chickpea Provencal

A taste of the Med in a pot! Sweet fennel, tangy tomatoes, protein rich garbanzo beans and bold olives go into this tangy stew, which actually reminds me a bit of Moroccan tagine. For that reason, I’d serve this up with lashings of olive oil, over a bed of couscous.

Get the recipe here

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12. Smoky Cabbage Stew

Cabbage is a bit of a love/hate vegetable, am I right? But trust me, this recipe will restore any lost faith you may have in cabbage. Based on a traditional Romanian cabbage stew which uses bacon, this recipe trades the meat for smoked tofu and paprika, which both add a perfect smoky flavour!

Get the recipe here

13. Sweet & Savory Maple Syrup Adzuki Bean Stew

In Japan, Adzuki beans are often used in dessert recipes, so it makes perfect sense that this stew uses the sweetness of maple syrup to compliment the beans. This recipe has chopped carrots in it, but if you don’t have any on hand, pumpkin will do.

Get the recipe here

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14. Kimchi Stew with Tofu & Shiitake

A Korean classic, kimchi itself is bursting with powerful flavour, but somehow, it’s even further enhanced by mushrooms. There are so many different textures here, from the crispy tofu, the chewy shiitake mushrooms and the crunchy kimchi. This stew feels really exotic, but is actually so simple to put together.

Get the recipe here

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15. Peanut Lentil Stew

This stew is high in protein, but be careful – it’s also high in calories. The peanuts add a nice crunch to contrast the softly cooked veggies, whilst the red lentils bulk up the dish. So sure, it’s high in calories, but a little dab will do ya – this is a seriously filling stew!

Get the recipe here

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16. Spicy Bean Stew

The perfect part of this stew is that you can make it as spicy or mild as you like. You can simply add more chilli powder or fresh chilies to suit your preference. And if you have friends coming over, you can literally throw the ingredients into a pot and let this simmer away as you get yourself dolled up. A meal that pratically cooks itself? Hell, yeah!

Get the recipe here

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17. Iranian Eggplant & Chickpea Stew

Dang, but those Persians know how to make a good stew! Here, the soft eggplant and chickpeas work perfectly together to offset the sticky, sweet dates and apricots. This all blends with the fragrant perfumes of cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and turmeric. Crunchy roasted cashews are scattered over the top to finish it off. Serve this over some basmati rice, and you’re in heaven!

Get the recipe here

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18. Smoky White Bean Potato Stew

If you love smoky flavours, then this is the stew for you. It’s made with simple, easy to find ingredients and even the most culinary challenged of us could whip this up, no problem. The hardest parts are soaking the beans overnight and broiling the peppers – the rest is just throwing it all into a pot and waiting patiently.

Get the recipe here

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19. Moroccan Tagine

There’s really no need for a vegan version of this perfumed Moroccan stew, as it is normally vegan anyway. I was pretty surprised to see ‘vegan versions’ with weird things like tofu and seitan in it – that’s just wrong! The basis for a good, traditional Moroccan tagine is root veggies and chickpeas, as are both featured here. Serve with some couscous and fresh mint sprinkled onto and it’s a perfect winter meal.

Get the recipe here. 

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20. Gingery Coconut Stew with Brussels & Rutabaga

Ruta-what?! Rutabaga may sound like a made up word but it’s actually a type of swede. If you can’t get your hands on one you can easily use parsnips or turnips instead. Rutabaga is traditionally used in European cooking but it’s had a makeover in this Asian themed recipe. This dish is naturally sweet from the coconut and carrots, with a little zing from the lime and spiced with ginger.

Get the recipe here

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21. Vegan Gumbo

This is an easy take on that most famous of recipes from Louisiana, gumbo. Gumbo normally contains a whole damn zoo’s worth of animals: crab, bacon, beef, fish, shrimp…often all in one pot! This version still uses the whole array of spices that go into gumbo, but none of the meat. What’s most essential here is okra, a truly southern American veggie. If you can’t find it locally, sub in tiny corgettes instead.

Get the recipe here.

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22. Soul Food Stew

Southern American soul food usually conjures up thoughts of heavy, fried dishes, but food history actually informs us that it comes from more nourishing foundations, based on healthy ingredients such as dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes. So this recipe really kicks southern food back to its more traditional roots and we’re left with a stew that is bursting with an abundance of both colour and flavour.

Get the recipe here.

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23. Chipotle & Black Bean Stew

This recipe is so easy to make due to the fact you throw everything into a crock pot and let it do its thing, and the bonus is that your house will smell insanely good whilst it cooks. Quinoa, chipotle, diced tomatoes and the cilantro garnish add some Latin flair.

Get the recipe here.

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24. Butter Bean & Root Vegetable Stew with  Dumplings

Stew’s are delicious but they go to the next level when there’s dumplings involved. These doughy balls go soft and gooey when mixed with the stew and they’re just oh so delicious. This recipe makes the most of seasonal, autumnal veggies and it’s pretty cheap to make as potatoes, carrots and parsnips are so readily available. So whether it’s wet and cold outside or just plain cold, warm yourself up with this vegan take on a traditional winter dish.

Get the recipe here.

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25. Korean Mushroom & Tofu Stew

Combine both your love of stew and tofu together with this Korean infusion. Also, if you’re afraid that Korean food may set your mouth on fire, never fear – this recipe is only slightly spicy, so it’s perfect if you’re not able to hand too much heat (I’m with you, don’t worry)!

Get the recipe here.

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26. Mushroom Bourguignon Stew

Beef bourguignon has been renowned for years as a hearty, warming meal, but it traditionally features braised beef. Today, that popular French dish has finally had a veggie make-over and now features mushrooms instead. Mushrooms are great because they have a meat-like texture when cooked. Serve with thick chunks of fresh sourdough to truly soak up all the delicious juices!

Get the recipe here.

27. The ‘Anything Goes’ Savory Tomato & Bean Stew

Another recipe that’s great for clearing out the cupboards. The best thing about most stew recipes is that you can basically throw any veggies you have on hand into them, and this recipe more than proves that. Just raid that fridge and get creative!

Get the recipe here.

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28. Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Stew

This dish may look like something you’ve seen before, but don’t let first impressions fool you. It’s full of delicious aromas from the variety of spices; turmeric (great for keeping colds at bay), cinnamon, cumin and paprika. These give it a real warm, and earthy taste. Everything about this dish is satisfying and will leave you warm from the inside out.

Get the recipe here.

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29. Iraqi Inspired Seitan & Eggplant Stew

Bring a little bit of the exotic Middle East into your kitchen with this innovative recipe. This stew is highly aromatic with its perfume of warm spices and will fill you up with its chunks of seitan that act as a meat-substitute.

Get the recipe here.

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30. Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

A tangy, ‘creamy’ sauce smothering chunks of earthy mushrooms? Bring it on! This is another dish that’s kind of is, and kind of isn’t a stew. But how could I leave it out? Stroganoff is the ultimate mix of comfort and warming food – best served over a bed of thick noodles. Yum!

Get the recipe here.

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31. Vegan Hungarian Goulash

Goulash is usually a pretty simple, cheap meal to make. Traditionally, it’s basically just beef and potatoes slow cooked and thrown over some wide noodles, maybe with some sour cream on top. This vegan version has dumplings instead of potatoes, but frankly…the potatoes are probably healthier. I selected this recipe mainly because of all the vegan goulashes I found, this one came closest to the original recipes I knew – not least for its inclusion of that Hungarian favourites, caraway seeds and paprika!

Get the recipe here.

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You didn’t think I was going to leave you without dessert, did you? Veggies are not the only things that can be stewed – fruit is also amazing when it’s cooked slowly. Lovely Jamie Oliver suggests you add some powdered sugar ‘to taste’ but to make this healthier, why not nix the sugar altogether? After all, fruit is pretty sweet anyway, right? Serve this up many ways: on pancakes or waffles, with cereal, or best of all, with a scoop of  vegan ice cream.

Get the recipe here.

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