Try this hearty vegan stew on chilly days

We love hearty stews on cold days. They provide comfort, warmth, and nourishment – especially when loaded with good-for-you vegetables. We often see beef used as the base of winter stews, but we love using mushrooms for a hearty vegan stew option that’s also cleanse-approved.

Fungi for good health

We’re often told to eat the rainbow, but white and brown-colored mushrooms are very nutritious. In many cultures, mushrooms have been used medicinally for thousands of years. They’re rich in B vitamins, potassium, selenium, copper, and (with sun exposure) vitamin D. White button mushroom’s vitamin D content is unique since most dietary vitamin D comes from animal sources.

Mushrooms have also been shown to have a positive impact on heart health. Specifically, they prevent plaque build-up in artery walls. This helps promote good circulation and can help lower blood pressure to healthy levels. While mushrooms have health benefits in all forms, some nutrients are more accessible and enhanced when mushrooms are cooked. Mushrooms are a great addition to vegan stew because they can provide a meaty texture some people miss.

Get your celery fix without the juice

We love adding celery to stew for added crunch and texture. Celery is an excellent source of antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative damage. It also helps lower inflammation in the body, which can help prevent a slew of chronic illnesses like arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Celery’s anti-inflammatory properties are also beneficial for the digestive system, one reason why celery juice has picked up in popularity recently. The polysaccharides in celery have been shown to improve the gut lining and prevent stomach ulcers from forming. Celery is also high in water and fiber, both of which help keep digestion regular. The fiber in celery – about five grams per cup – also feed the good gut bacteria in the digestive tract.

Broth is comfort food

Eating broth-rich foods is an incredible way to nourish the body. It is another way to hydrate other than simply sipping on water all day and it’s comforting on colder days. For the most flavor and nutrition, we recommend making your own broth.

Instead of tossing vegetable scraps when you cook, start collecting scraps and storing them in a large bag in your freezer, so when you go to make broth you already have a stash of vegetables. You’ll get a dose of minerals and vitamins from the broth, especially when you use organic, seasonal produce. 

Ingredients:

1 lb white button mushrooms, halved (or mushroom mix of choice)

1 large sweet potato, cubed

1 small yellow onion, sliced

2-3 large carrots, sliced

2-3 celery stalks, sliced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Italian seasonings

2 tablespoons gluten-free flour

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cups vegetable broth

Optional: parsley

Directions:

Prep ingredients while heating olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add mushrooms. Cook until starting to slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion. Continue cooking until mushrooms and onions are caramelized and cooked through, about 5 more minutes. 

Add carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, garlic, and Italian seasonings. Stir and cook for 5 additional minutes.

Add balsamic vinegar, then 1/2 cup of vegetable broth to deglaze the pan. Bring to a simmer and add flour. Stir the veggies until the flour is completely dissolved. Add remaining vegetable broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until soup is thickened and cooked through.

Serve immediately or store the vegan stew in the fridge for up to a week.  

Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like Warm yourself with instant pot lentil soup