Puerto Rican food is always the winner at my home, so it was time to finally make Puerto Rican-style carne guisada, but vegan and sin carne. Also known as vegan beef stew.
Puerto Rican carne guisada is a beef stew that’s usually made with beef stew meat. It also includes potatoes, carrots, Puerto Rican seasonings, and tomato sauce.
What I love about this vegan Puerto Rican beef stew dish is that it uses fairly inexpensive ingredients and it’s pretty easy to make. It’s perfect with a side of white rice.
For this dish, we’re using the traditional ingredients but swapping out the beef for portabella mushroom caps, which makes for a great meat alternative. They are chewy, tender, and have a natural umami flavor to them.
If you’re unable to use portabella mushroom caps, common mushrooms can work too. However, their flavors and texture won’t match up with caps. But, use what you have.
Best Mushrooms To Use For Vegan “Beef” Stew
I like to use mushrooms that give off a chewier or “meaty” texture. This includes portobellos, oyster, and shittake. If I don’t have these options, I go for your common mushrooms.
Can’t find the mushroom variety you’re looking for? Visit your local Asian grocery store or market. I find that they have a wider range of mushrooms and plant-based protein.
How To Make Sofrito
To make this classic, meaty Puerto Rican dish, we’re using Puerto Rican spices and flavors. This includes a homemade sofrito recipe.
Don’t be too intimidated by sofrito, it’s pretty easy to whip up. It takes some patience, but at the end of the day, it requires one kitchen equipment: a good blender.
You’ll find a plethora of sofrito recipes on the internet with varying ingredients. Every country, region, and home will make it slightly different. For mine, I use easy-to-find ingredients packed with the traditional flavors I am used to having.
Ingredients For Sofrito
- Red Bell Pepper
- Green Bell Pepper
- Whole Garlic
- 1 Bunch Cilantro (2 ounces/ 56g)
Directions For Sofrito
- First, rinse the cilantro and roughly chop it into four parts.
- Next, cut the onion into 4 chunks.
- Roughly chop the peppers into quarters and remove the seeds.
- Peel and crush the garlic.
- Next, add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, and cilantro into a food processor or blender.
- Finally, blend everything together until chunky.
Note: add some water to the blender you get this blending going. About 1/4 cup worth.
Full recipe notes for Puerto Rican sofrito.
Ready for a carne guisada dish that reminds you of the real deal? But without the meat? Let’s get to it:
Vegan Carne Guisada (Meatless “Beef” Stew)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 mushroom of choice chopped
- 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sofrito
- 1/2 packet sazon seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon adobo
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup green Spanish olives
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots chopped, bite-sized
- 1 medium russet potato chopped, bite-sized
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 teaspoon flour optional
- In a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once oil is hot, toss in the chopped mushrooms.
- Next, evenly pour and toss reduced-sodium soy sauce to the mushrooms. Stir occasionally and cook until liquid has been cooked off and there are golden bits to the mushrooms. Set aside when done.
- In a separate pot or saucepan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the sofrito, sazon, adobo seasoning, tomato sauce, Spanish olives, and bay leaves. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cooked mushrooms, carrots and potatoes to the pot. Add enough water to cover the vegetables by an inch.
- Turn up the heat until the stew is at a boil. Once at a boil, lower temperature medium-low and allow the stew to simmer.
- Cover pot with a lid slightly ajar and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork-tender.
- Once cooked, mix in flour to thicken the stew (optional). Serve.
- I used mushrooms, specifically, portabella for a more “meaty” texture, however, you can also use your common white or brown mushrooms too.
- You can usually find adobo or sazon in the “Latin/Hispanic/ethnic” section of the grocery store, if not, you can find it on Amazon.
- If you don’t want to use adobo or sazon, use whatever salt-based seasonings you prefer and adjust accordingly.
- For my stews, I like it thicker and chunkier. Although, you can add more water if you want the stew base thinner.
- The flour helps with thickening the stew.
- Soy sauce was used to bring out more umami or savory flavor to the stew.
- It yields about 3 servings.
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Did you try out this Vegan Carne Guisada (Meatless “Beef” Stew)?