Amazing vegan soy stew with soy granules or chunks and lots of vegetables. In this vegan stew, soy chunks or granules are served in a rich and aromatic sauce full of vegetables.
This is one of my favorite vegan meals. Really! I made this recipe for more than 10 years ago for the first time and it has become a staple in my cooking ever since.
Generally, the only recipes I cook on repeat are some I inherited from my grandmother, things like the Chicken Dumpling Soup or the Romanian Pea and Chicken Stew. Or dishes that my mother-in-law used to cook for her children all the time and that my husband wishes me to cook now from time to time, for instance, German Beef Soup or Eggs in Mustard Sauce. Or dishes that my kids love more than anything, like the Baked Chicken Thighs or crepes.
But this soy chunk stew is something I cook again and again just because I love it soooo much myself. Not that anybody else in the house is complaining; this is one of those vegetable dishes that even the children are eating without complaining.
OK, they might try and remove any trace of the eggplant they might spot, but otherwise, no stress there, they will gladly lick their plates clean.
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What is textured soy protein (TSP)?
Or textured vegetable protein (TVP) or soy meat, soy chunks, or soy granules?
TSP is a by-product of extracting soybean oil. It is often used as a meat replacement and sometimes as a meat extender and has a protein content comparable to certain meats. It is considered a low-cost healthy food, especially if combined with vegetables, like in this recipe.
Textured soy protein is a processed product and its consumption meets with controversy these days where clean eating is more important than ever. However, I don't worry much about that, we eat textured soy protein just like we eat meat and that is: in moderation.
And we don't even eat it because we are trying to replace or mimic meat; we just like its taste and structure, the endless possibilities you have when cooking it. Maybe you would like to try this Vegan Pasta Sauce or this Vegetarian Stir Fry.
I am not sure how popular soy chunks or granules are around the world. In my search for recipes using them, I stumbled upon many Indian dishes, but otherwise, not so much.
However, they are quite popular in Romania as a meat substitute during the fasting periods, you can buy them just about anywhere and if you are Romanian, you will find lots of recipes in Romanian language online.
How to make it?
I don't even remember where I found the original recipe for this vegan soy stew... It is such a long time ago (a long-lost Romanian magazine, probably), but I scribbled down the recipe in one of my recipe notebooks, and I cooked it shortly afterward.
I have to say, though, that never once, not even the first time I cooked this stew, I followed the original recipe exactly. I changed that from the beginning and made it my way ever since. And I like it so much, just the way it was, that I was never tempted to change anything again.
Textured soy protein:
- I use either soy granules or soy chunks, it really doesn't matter, the taste is exactly the same only the consistency of the sauce is a bit different, the soy granules are finer so the sauce will be more suitable to be eaten with noodles for instance (a bit like bolognese).
- Take care to read the packet's instructions, because the soaking time the soy needs is different, the chunks will need a bit longer.
- According to the packet's instructions for products I have, you should soak the soy granules for about 15-20 minutes and the soy chunks for about 30 minutes.
- If children are eating, I recommend using the granules. At least my kids like the dish better when cooked with granules.
- Make sure you drain and squeeze the soy very well before frying in the pan, this way it will be able to brown nicely and even get a nice crust.
- You can change the vegetables according to the season and your personal taste, I am sure that pretty much anything would do, but this is really such a good combination you should try it at least once. 🙂
- I use onions, garlic, eggplants, carrots, bell peppers and mushrooms.
- The mushrooms can be fresh or canned, I use canned most of the times.
Spices: cumin, sweet paprika powder, marjoram.
How to serve?
- You can serve the soy stew with just about anything: bread, potatoes in any form, noodles, rice, polenta, dumplings, millet, quinoa, and so on.
- Our favorite sides are the German bread dumplings (Semmelknödel) or polenta, but we have had this with every single one of those other sides over the years, and they are all good.
- If you like soy chunks or if you are willing to give them a try, do make this recipe, I am so sure you will love it.
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Vegan Soy Stew
- 150 g/ 5.3 dry soy granules or soy chunks See note
- 500 ml/ 1 pint/ 2 cups good quality vegetable broth
- 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz/ ¼ cup red wine optional – it can be replaced with more vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions
- 1 medium eggplant
- 3 small carrots
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 small can sliced mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoons marjoram
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch optional for a thicker sauce
- fine sea salt and pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley or chives
- Place the soy granules or chunks in a large heat proof bowl. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil and pour it over the soy. Stir well and add the red wine if using. Let stand for about 30 minutes if you are using chunks and about 15-20 minutes if using granules. Read the packet's instructions to make sure you soak the soy appropriately.
- In the meantime prepare the vegetables, but keep them separate. Chop the onions finely and set aside.
- Cut the eggplant into small cubes, slice the carrots and chop the peppers, place these three items together in a bowl.
- Deseed and chop the tomatoes, drain the mushrooms, grate the garlic. You can place these three ingredients together in another bowl.
- Drain the soy granules/chunks and reserve the soaking liquid. Squeeze the soy well to remove as much liquid as possible. To do this I place the soy in the fine sieve and press it with a large spoon.
- Heat the oil in a large cast iron or non-stick pot. Add the soy and fry for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until it starts to get some color.
- Add the onions and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, about 3 more minutes.
- Add the eggplant, carrots and peppers and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring well a few times in between.
- Add the tomato paste and the flour and stir well to coat. Cook for one minute while stirring, then add the soaking liquid, tomatoes, drained mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the cumin, marjoram and paprika powder as well.
- Stir well, cover leaving a crack open, turn the heat down and cook gently for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the lid and cook on a higher heat for another 5 minutes or so until the sauce thickens slightly.
- If you like a thicker sauce, you can thicken it with 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with a little water to form a paste. Stir this mixture into the cooking sauce while whisking all the time and let bubble once or twice.
- Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle the stew with chopped herbs and serve with polenta, bread dumplings, rice, noodles, potatoes, quinoa, millet etc.