Got No Beef Stew


Got no beef? That's ok, because I am going to show you how to make something that looks like beef stew, eats like beef stew, and kinda sorta tastes like beef stew without having to use any beef. And whether you're making this because beef is just too expensive, or you are trying to cut down on the amount of beef you eat, or you just enjoy bad grammar – no matter the reason, I really do think you're going to enjoy this! Serve with buttered bread.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins

Got No Beef Stew – Where's the Beef? Not Here

I like to joke about not knowing current food prices, since I have a corporate expense account, but as inflation continues to rage, people aren't finding that type of humor as funny as they used to. Maybe they never did, but the point is even a kept man such as myself realizes that the price of meat at the market these days is very high, and that was the inspiration for this beefless beef stew.

I love a nice chunk of succulent, tender beef as much as the next guy, but that's not the only reason I love a good stew. For me, the potatoes and gravy are almost as enjoyable, which is why this low-budget alternative was still a wonderful thing to eat, especially if you splurge, and get a high-quality beef bouillon base, and/or beef bone broth. I used the "Better Than Bouillon" brand, which does a very nice job.

Besides using top-quality, non-beef ingredients, we'll also need to brown our mushrooms and onions very well if we want a nice deep flavor, as well as an authentic looking stew-like color. That might be just as important as anything else, since no matter how great yours tastes, no one want to sit down to eat a bowl of beige stew. I enjoy a very basic array of ingredients in these types of dishes, but anything you like in your regular beef stew will work here. But no matter what additions you decide to include, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 pound brown mushrooms, halved

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 7 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons yellow miso paste

  • 2 tablespoons beef base (such as Better than Bouillon®)

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley (Optional)


  1. Combine butter and vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat and allow butter to melt. Toss in mushrooms and season salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are nicely browned, 5 to 6 minutes.

  2. Add onions and lower heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until onions have softened and are translucent and the bottom of the pot has turned brown, about 5 minutes. The browned bits on the bottom of the pot will add flavor and color. Add tomato paste and flour to thicken the stew. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Pour in water, increase temperature to high, and bring to a simmer. While you're waiting for stew to come to a simmer, mix in miso paste, beef paste, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, and cayenne; stir to combine.

  4. Once stew is bubbling, add carrots, and celery and reduce heat to medium-low to keep stew at a steady simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Add potatoes and simmer until potatoes are very tender and creamy inside and stew has reduced and thickened, about 30 more minutes. Potatoes can be stirred in and broken up a bit to make the stew thicker.

  5. Turn off the heat and stir in freshly chopped Italian parsley if desired.

    Got No Beef Stew
    Chef John

Cook's Notes:

A high quality beef base is key. I used "Better Than Bouillon." Beef bone broth can be used instead of the beef bouillon base. You can also use fresh herbs instead of dried - use 1 teaspoon each of finely chopped fresh thyme and fresh rosemary.

Make sure to sauté the mushrooms until well-browned before adding the onions. Deep browning on the bottom of pan is encouraged, as it build flavor and give the stew its beefy color.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

408 Calories
15g Fat
60g Carbs
13g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 408
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 2541mg 110%
Total Carbohydrate 60g 22%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Protein 13g
Potassium 1765mg 38%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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