A simple vegan Irish stew with tons of umami flavour, chunks of tender vegetables, textured seitan and a savoury broth with Guinness. This is as close to the traditional recipe as possible and ready in just half an hour.
I’ve seen a few vegan Irish stew recipes floating around and was not terribly impressed with some of the ingredients that we never use in Ireland.
Granted, some exceptions do need to be made though when veganizing meat-heavy dishes, but Irish stew is not actually supposed to be meat-heavy.
I’ve substituted the meat in this recipe with some protein-rich seitan and it’s definitely a winner here in our house!
People argue (even in Ireland) about what constitutes a traditional stew but the basic ingredients were usually mutton, potatoes, onions and parsley. In our house, we always had carrots in it as well.
If Irish recipes are your thing, or you’re just gearing up for St. Patrick’s day, then I’ve got you covered:
- Easy vegan Irish soda bread
- Vegan boxty (Irish potato pancakes)
- Tomato bread
- Gur cake
- Traditional Irish sage and onion vegan stuffing
- Authentic vegan St. Patrick’s Day recipes
A quick guide to Irish stew
No, I won’t bore you to bits by rambling on and on about the history of Irish stew, but a little bit of background never hurt anybody.
Mentions of Irish stew have been recorded since 1800 in Ireland, when stewing came into fashion due to mass poverty.
Some recipes for regular Irish stew recommend adding beef, but in Ireland traditionally it was always made with mutton or lamb. Mutton is a tougher cut of meat so stewing it broke down some of the tough fibres, and it was cheap to boot.
My mother also added barley but I really hate it in stew (with a passion, it’s like these slimy little bug poos) and carrots (which I love).
I’ve added celery in this recipe to bulk up the vegetables but feel free to leave it out if you’re not a fan.
To make this veganized version of traditional Irish stew, you’ll need to have the following ingredients to hand:
- A good-quality plant-based spread (can be substituted with oil if you must)
- Ground white pepper
- Dried thyme
- Bay leaves
- A vegetable stock cube
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Celery (optional)
If you feel so inclined, a half a cup of peas is also amazing in this stew recipe (although not typically traditional).
Ground white pepper is very much a thing in Irish recipes, I don’t think I actually ever saw black pepper until I was in my teens!
It sounds very simple but trust me, the above ingredients really do make magic happen (mainly the Guinness).
If you don’t have Guinness to hand don’t worry you can substitute it with any dark stout or ale, although you’ll need to check if they are vegan.
What to serve with stew
This dish is a meal in of itself, but if you’d like something alongside I warmly recommend some soda bread or traditional Irish brown bread, with lashings of vegan butter.
How to make it
This is a really easy vegan recipe, great for beginners and experienced cooks alike. Simply grab a pot and add the plant-based spread to melt over a medium heat.
Next, add the chopped onions and soften for five minutes. You don’t want them to brown a lot so keep an eye on them and stir often.
Now add the celery (if adding) and stir well, frying another five minutes. If you’re not adding celery just keep softening the onions for five more minutes. The onions should be a lovely golden colour, as in the photo below.
Next, chuck in all the other ingredients except the parsley. For the seitan, I do NOT recommend chopping it.
Instead, I make a small incision in the side with a knife, grab it and peel off a chunk to get a texture that’s more “meatier” and will absorb the flavours better. You can see what texture you should be aiming for in the photo below.
You might see some foam on the top from the Guinness, but don’t worry, it will disappear while cooking, no need to skim it off.
Make sure to crumble the vegetable stock cube when adding as well, as this is a quick stew it might not dissolve properly otherwise.
I usually cut the potatoes into rough chunks around the size of walnuts, and a few I chop small so they “dissolve” in the stew.
Make sure not to cut all your chunks very small or it will make the broth cloudy and too thick as they disintegrate and you have a bowl of mush instead of a beautiful stew with a clear brown tasty broth.
Increase the heat to high and when it boils, lower to maintain at a lively simmer for ten minutes. Test the potatoes to see if they are soft all the way through, if not, test every two minutes after.
The stew is done when the potatoes are cooked through. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle the chopped parsley over.
This vegan stew keeps beautifully in the fridge for about 5 days and also freezes very well.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.
Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian), I love seeing all your creations!
- 2 tbsp plant-based spread
- 2 large onions, chopped roughly
- 3 medium ribs of Celery, quartered and sliced (optional)
- 4 medium carrots sliced into 1/2 inch chunks (400g)
- 8 medium/large potatoes (1 kilo) cut into 6-8 chunks each
- Seitan 11-5oz (325g)
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cups water
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 2 cups of Guinness (480ml)
- 2 tbsp Chopped fresh parsley to garnish
- ½ cup peas (optional)
- Melt the plant-based spread or vegan butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fry gently for five minutes.
- Add the celery and fry five minutes more. If not adding celery, just fry the onions another five minutes, stirring often, until golden and soft.
- Add all of the other ingredients except the parsley. The seitan should be torn into chunks, not chopped. I make a small incision in it and then pull chunks off.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium-high heat to remain at a lively simmer.
- Check the potatoes with a fork after ten minutes to make sure they are cooked all the way through. If not, keep cooking and test every two minutes. When the potatoes are cooked through, the stew is done.
Serving Size1 bowl
Amount Per Serving Calories 464Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 18mgSodium 585mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 71g