Vegan cooking: Now's the time for stew

Artichokes and olives add an unexpected pizzazz to cold-weather soups.

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Christmas Lima Bean Stew. Contributed / Susan Alexander

A stew is defined as a thick, chunky soup. Here are a few stews to warm you up on a cold winter evening. We like our stews served with a take-and-bake multigrain bread fresh from the oven.

Artichoke, Potato, and Fennel Stew

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Artichoke, Potato, and Fennel Stew. Contributed / Susan Alexander

This is one of my favorite stews because it contains so many of my favorite things. This recipe is adapted from “Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Vegan Feast Kitchen/21st Century Table,” found at . I’ve made a lot of Grogan’s recipes over the years. Check out her website for more gems!

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 red potatoes, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large jar, or 2 small jars, marinated artichoke heart quarters in oil, drained if desired (about 15 ounces)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or bouillon
  • 1/2 lemon, quartered
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a stew pot. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are softened. Add in herbs and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the artichoke hearts, fennel and potatoes. Sprinkle with flour, stir, then add broth and lemon slices.
Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove lemon and cook 30 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.


Christmas Lima Bean Stew

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Christmas Lima Beans before soaking. Contributed / Susan Alexander

Christmas lima beans taste like chestnuts when cooked. They can be hard to find, but are worth the search. I prefer cooking beans in a crockpot, but a pressure cooker also works well. Beans can also be soaked overnight then boiled on top of the stove for a couple hours or until tender.

  • 1 pound dried Christmas lima beans, cooked, ½ cup cooking liquid reserved
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • (1) 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes in sauce
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup bean cooking liquid or water
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Heat oil in Dutch oven or deep skillet. Add onions and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. And mushrooms and thyme and sauté 5 minutes longer. Add tomatoes, wine, bean cooking liquid, parsley, and salt and pepper. Gently stir in the cooked beans. Simmer 20 minutes.

Olive Stew

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Olive Stew. Contributed / Susan Alexander

Olives in stew? Why not?

This recipe was adapted from “The Garden of Vegan” by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. I went wild and garnished each serving of soup with a big, thick slice of an heirloom tomato before serving.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable bouillon or stock
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • (1) 14-ounce can great northern beans or other white beans
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup dry red wine or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt, if desired
  • ½ cup fresh parsley minced for garnish
  • 1 minced tomato for garnish

On medium heat, saute onions and garlic in oil in a large soup pot. When the onions are softened, add the celery and carrots and cook for about three minutes longer. Add the oregano, basil, and pepper and sauté for about 30 seconds longer to wake up the spices. Add the bouillon or stock, zucchini, green pepper, beans, tomato paste, wine, lemon juice, and olives. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Taste and add salt and more seasonings, if desired. Garnish with parsley and tomato.

Latvian Stew

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Latvian Stew. Contributed / Susan Alexander

Amor Towles, author of “A Gentleman in Moscow,” turned to his own cooking for inspiration when a character in his book was debating which entree to order on his first date. Towles states, “What dish did I know that was situated between the Scylla of those lower-priced dishes (that might suggest a penny-pinching lack of flair) and the Charybdis of delicacies (that could empty one’s pockets while painting one as pretentious)? After a few minutes of consideration, I knew it has to be Latvian Stew.” Towles discovered the recipe for Latvian Stew in Saveur Magazine. The recipe was passed down to me by my sister-in-law. The stew originally calls for pork, which is easily substituted with seitan.

  • 3 pounds chicken-flavored seitan
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and sliced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste or ketchup
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup dried apricots, quartered
  • 2 large onions, peeled, each cut into bite-sized wedges
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drain seitan. In a skillet, heat ginger, soy sauce and vegetable broth and bring to a boil for a minute. Add seitan. Let seitan absorb flavors for 30 minutes or place in a container in the refrigerator and store up to 24 hours.
Place carrots and onions in a large pot with 2 tablespoons of canola oil and sauté until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and water, then add apricots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Add prunes to stew and continue to simmer over medium-low heat.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees and bake seitan for 30 minutes, turning once halfway though. Add seitan to stew. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Vegan French Mock Lamb Stew

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Vegan French Mock Lamb Stew. Contributed / Susan Alexander


I’ve made this delicious stew many times. This recipe is adapted from “The Fat Free Vegan Blog.”

  • 14-16 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1½ inch cubes
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped into slivers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 can tomato chunks
  • 1 cup red potatoes, diced and boiled until soft
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or bouillon
  • About ¼ teaspoon of each: garlic, thyme, pepper, basil, oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup frozen green peas

Dip cubed tofu in soy sauce and dust all sides with pepper. Set on lightly oil baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes turning once to brown evenly. Set aside.
Saute onions in oil until softened. Stir in carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, broth, herbs, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Uncover and stir in peas and tofu. Cook for a minute or two more then serve piping hot.


Susan Alexander is food columnist for the Duluth News Tribune. She loves gardening, farmers markets and creating delicious meals consisting of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits.

Susan Alexander
Susan Alexander

Related Topics: FOODRECIPES
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