Slow cooker vegan Irish stew

Stew is one of those meals that’s satisfying and hearty… just not very exciting. It also isn’t something I make very often, but today Mr Thrifty was hankering after stew, and I obliged him.

The stew turned out delicious, and I will definitely be making it again.

I decided to use the slow cooker, so it could cook happily away whilst I did other things.

For the protein part of the stew, I used TVP chunks. (If you’re a TVP newbie, see my concise explanation in this recipe’s preamble.) I browned the chunks in a bit of oil first, an idea I got from Vaishali over at Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes. I also sauteed the onions and garlic to enhance their flavour, before adding them to the slow cooker.

I found vegan bacon bits at ASDA a few weeks ago, and used them to add a bit of smoky flavour. Although I could really taste the bacon flavour at the start, it kind of disappeared into the other flavours of the stew by the time it was finished. But I’m sure they added a certain… je ne sais quoi.

The cider in this recipe is what Americans will know as “hard cider” (i.e. alcoholic). I used Thatcher’s Green Goblin cider, which is medium-dry.

I used low-salt bouillon (Marigold brand), so the stew needed more salt than if I’d used regular bouillon.

Mr Thrifty had also requested dumplings, which were cooked in the stew for the last 30 minutes or so. I’m not including the dumpling recipe as they turned out a bit dense, and I’ll be tweaking it next time.

The stew was a kind of thick at the bottom, so I added a bit of water before we piggishly had seconds.

I really like the texture of the TVP chunks in this recipe. When the stew has cooked for, say, three or four hours, the texture of the TVP is still a bit sponge-like, but after a couple more hours, it becomes less spongy and more, well, meat-like I suppose. Mr Thrifty reckoned the texture was very much like lamb (an effect achieved, thankfully, without having to harm either a lamb or your karma).


Slow cooker vegan Irish stew

British American
4 teaspoons olive oil (divided) 4 teaspoons
50g dry TVP chunks generous 1 cup
120g onion, diced 1 medium
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 cloves
1 pint vegetable bouillon 2-1/3 cups
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast 1 tablespoon
100ml medium-dry cider 3/8 cup
300g potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks 10 ounces
110g carrots, peeled & cut into chunks 2 small
3 tablespoons pearl barley 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons vegan “bacon” bits 3 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground peppercorns 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaf 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaf 1/4 teaspoon
1 bay leaf 1
spring onions for garnish (optional)

1. Heat two teaspoons of  the olive oil and saute TVP chunks until lightly browned. Remove to slow cooker.

2. Heat remaining two teaspoons of olive oil and saute onion for 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and continue to saute for another minute. Remove to slow cooker.

3. Make up vegetable bouilon with boiling water. Add nutritional yeast and stir to dissolve. Add this to the slow cooker along with the cider.

4. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker: potatoes, carrots, barley, vegan “bacon” bits and seasonings. Stir well.

4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Makes two generous servings.


  1. I’d have to be piggish with this too! Sounds delicious. I’m definitely going to give this a try. I’m a cider (hard) drinker, so I always have some on hand. 🙂

  2. You can’t go wrong with stew – it’s one of my favourite winter dishes. Yours looks deeeee-liscious!

  3. looks like Barbadian soup …we prob stole the recipe from the Irish and those dumplings are spot on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *