Not My Mama's Beef Stew


One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to take traditional recipes made with meat and make them vegetarian. If you've been to the Our Story part of the site you'll know that I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years. For me the choice to not eat meat is multi faceted. That's a story for another time. I have a pet peeve when I go to restaurants. I ask for their vegetarian entree and end up with a plate of steamed vegetables that are under seasoned or a halfhearted version of veggie lasagna. I'd love for that to change. Vegetarian food can be comfort food. It is possible to get the same warm and fuzzy feeling from our food minus the cruelty.

Growing up this meal was a staple. I remember walking in the door after school, seeing my mom's pot on the stove, smelling the onions and knowing we were in for a good dinner. When I had children I knew I wanted to give them that same feeling. I hope that I've successfully done that over the years. Only time will tell. Maybe someday one of my kids will be talking or writing about their memories of the meals we shared. Food is family. Food is tradition. It's sense memories.

I changed the original recipe by replacing the beef with Gardein Beefless Tips. The product is easy to use and it's non GMO and certified vegan. Gardein products can be found in the freezer section of many grocery stores.

Mom always served this with a loaf of fresh made bread or rolls and in her words from the recipe she gave me, "cottage cheese, with a little mayo of course." Thanks Mom for all the times this filled me up, in every way.

  • 2 bags Gardein Beefless Tips
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Water or Not-Beef broth (I use Edward & Sons brand but any brand will work)
  • A splash of Kitchen Bouquet (you could substitute Soy Sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 3 or 4 Carrots sliced
  • 2-3 Potatoes, peeled and cubed.
  • 1/4 cup of Red Wine
  • 1/2 cup Barley

Always feel free to add or subtract ingredients. This recipe is very forgiving.  Put the onions and garlic in a large stock pot with the oil. Cook for a few minutes over med-low heat until transparent. Add the Beefless Tips and cook until they are a bit browned on the outside. Cover with water and/or broth. Depending on the size of your pot you'll use 6-8 cups. Add all the seasonings: Salt and Pepper, Kitchen Bouquet, Herbs de Provence, and Bay leaves. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add potatoes, carrots, barley and red wine. The barley will thicken the stew but you can always make a slurry of flour/cornstarch and water to thicken as desired. Cook until potatoes are tender and the barley is cooked through. Taste to make sure it's seasoned the way you like it and enjoy! Love and blessings from my kitchen to yours.