If you are looking for a hearty, filling, and comforting one-pot dinner, take a look at his vegan pot roast. Large portobello mushroom caps and a wide variety of veggies are stewed in a rich and flavorful red wine gravy. It is easy to make and much faster than any classic recipe.
So let’s talk about comfort food. If you need other inspiration for hearty, rich, and delicious vegan comfort food for dinner, check out vegan jackfruit stew, vegan shepherd’s pie, or vegan bean chili recipes.
Why is this the best vegan pot roast?
Classic Sunday pot roast is a very meat-heavy dish, where a large cut of beef as well as large chunks of vegetables like potatoes, onions, and carrots are slow-cooked in a wine and broth gravy. How to make it meatless? What can we add instead of beef to make it still beefy?
We kept the rich, thick, hearty sauce. And we, not only used the variety of vegetables the classic recipe called for but even added beets to make the sauce darker and richer with deeper flavors. No wonder Gordon Ramsay also chose it to make vegan beef wellington and not because there is only one letter difference between the two words.
The other important addition is large caps portobello mushrooms. They have a spongy, beefy, and tough texture, but they have quite a neutral taste, so we can make them flavorful with the right mix of seasoning. While they are not the closest alternative to meat since everyone will be able to tell that they are indeed mushrooms, they are the closest completely plant-based meat substitute.
Of course, there are other options you can try, but each has pros and cons, just like our portobello pot roast. For example:
- tempeh -> Its texture is quite tough and chewy, but soy-based, which is not welcomed by many.
- seitan -> Maybe it has the closest texture to meat, but it is not easy to make at home. It is also wheat-based, so it is not suitable for people with gluten intolerance or celiac.
- jackfruit -> They work better in a vegan beef stew, where you need smaller chunks.
- whole cauliflower head -> Cauliflower is a pretty common meat substitute. We also use its minced form to make vegan spaghetti bolognese, but still, it is not easy to get rid of its distinctive taste.
- vegan meat substitutes like Gardein, Beyond, or other brands -> We haven’t tried them since they usually have so many ingredients, and we like to know what exactly we are eating. So in most cases, we prefer simple plant-based ingredients.
So to sum up, the best vegan pot roast is portobello pot roast, right? 🙂
Meatless pot roast should be a rich one-pot meal where all the veggies and meat substitutes (if any) are cooked in a wine-broth mixture. So what do you need to make it?
- Portobello mushrooms with large caps -> Button mushrooms are actually small portobellos, so you can use those too.
- Potatoes -> Must-have. If you use young potatoes, then you don’t even need to peel them, just wash them and cut them in half.
- Carrots -> Choose young smaller carrots as they are sweeter than large, thick ones. The sweetest ones are those where you can see the fresh, soft, young carrot greens, which by the way are also edible. On the other hand, baby carrots might not be as sweet as you would hope them to be. My father-in-law (who is an expert gardener) once told me that baby carrots are actually the small parts that break off large carrots and then they are polished to look smooth and well-shaped. There is nothing “baby” about them.
- Onion -> You definitely need onion, preferably red onion. No shallots or scallions for sure.
- Beetroot -> I can give you two reasons why you need beetroot in your vegan pot roast. For one, it deepens the color of the sauce even further. And second, it is just so yummy with its earthy flavor.
- Parsnip -> It is always nice to have a good mixture of different root veggies. We love to add parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, celeriac, or kohlrabi.
- Herbs -> Sprigs of fresh rosemary, dried or fresh sage, and basil.
- Vegetable broth
- Tomato paste
- Dry red wine -> You need it to get a deep dark color and flavor, so don’t use white wine.
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce -> Yes, there are some vegan brands to use.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
The best equipment to make this vegan mushroom pot roast is an enameled Dutch oven* since it is made of thick cast iron and distributes and keeps the heat evenly. Due to its enamel coating, it is unlikely that anything is sticking to the bottom or burning down.
Preparing the ingredients
- Peel and slice onions.
- Peel and finely chop garlic.
- Wash, peel, and chop potatoes, carrots, beetroot, and parsnip (unless you have young potatoes, carrots or parsnips, then no need to peel or chop, use them in whole).
- Gently wipe the mushrooms clean with damp clothes and take the stem out. No need to slice them.
- Wash and chop fresh herbs.
- Measure all other ingredients.
Cooking the pot roast
- Heat your pot or Dutch oven to medium heat and add oil.
- Add sliced onions and saute them for 1-2 minutes.
- Add chopped garlic. Stir and cook for another minute.
- Add cornstarch and smoked sweet paprika powder. Stir continuously and cook for 1-2 minutes. This is to activate the starch and deepen the flavor of the paprika. We want the sauce to be deep, rich, and hearty. (Pay attention, not to let it burn as there is not much liquid at this moment.)
- Add vegetable broth, red wine, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Stir until combined.
- Add seasoning (basil, sage, rosemary, salt, and black pepper). Stir and bring it to a boil.
- Add all veggies (mushroom caps, potato, beetroot, carrot, and parsnip). Stir and cover it with a lid.
- Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) and place the pot with a lid on the middle rack. Cook them 1 +½ hours in the oven.
How to thicken a pot roast?
After you take your vegetarian pot roast out of the oven, and you still feel that it is not thick enough, there are 20 ways to thicken any soup, sauce, or stew. In this recipe, we show you the quickest method:
- Use a small bowl and mix cornstarch (1 Tablespoon at a time) and a bit of liquid from the gravy part.
- Use a whisk to thoroughly combine them. It is called a slurry.
- Add the slurry back and whisk the pot roast vigorously for a couple of seconds.
Cornstarch is only activated (starts to thicken) if it is heated over 200 Fahrenheit (ca. 93 °C). Since you just took the portobello pot roast out of a 375 Fahrenheit (ca. 191 °C) oven, its temperature would be more than enough to activate it. You will see the result almost immediately. If you are not happy with the thickness, make another round.
Top tips to make a perfect dish
- Don’t chop veggies too small! -> If you chop veggies too small, they will be too soft or might even be too mushy at the end. If I were to make a stew, I would dice all veggies, but since it is a pot roast I want the vegetables to stand out.
- Why in the oven? -> You can certainly finish it on the stovetop. But why did we choose the oven? Well, because it kind of turns the Dutch Oven into a slow cooker or pressure cooker (especially since the lid is so heavy it will not be moved by steam easily). All sides as well as the top radiate the heat. It will cook the vegetables slower, leaving enough time for the gravy to really be absorbed by them. I dare to say this portobello pot roast is even better the next day when it has even more time to spend in the thick sauce.
How to store it?
You can easily store it in the fridge for 3-4 days without any problem. However, whether you can freeze it or not depends on what kind of potato you use. It happened to me several times, that when I freeze and thaw a dish that contains potatoes, the texture turns weird and mushy.
This Portobello Pot Roast recipe is meat-free, dairy-free and egg-free.
- Vegan – All ingredients are supposed to be vegan.
- Nut-free – All ingredients are supposed to be nut-free, but check packaging info for cross-contamination all the time especially if you choose your Worcestershire sauce.
- WFPB-friendly (whole foods plant-based) – It is only compliant if you cook veggies directly in vegetable broth sauce without sautéing them first in oil.
- Gluten-free – The only ingredient you should look out for is worcestershire sauce since that it not gluten-free by default. All other ingredients are supposed to be gluten-free, but always check the packaging for cross-contamination info.
- Soy-free – Soy sauce is usually one of the ingredients of Worcestershire sauce. If you cannot find a soy-free brand, just use coconut aminos. All other ingredients are supposed to be soy-free.
More vegan portobello recipes
We collected 20+ delicious vegan portobello mushroom recipes, or check out one of the below ones:
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Portobello Pot Roast (Vegan)
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
Preparing the vegetables
- Peel and slice onion. Peel, and finely chop garlic. Wash, peel and chop potatoes, carrots, beetroot, and parsnip (unless you have young carrots and parsnips, then no need to peel or chop, use them in whole). Gently clean the mushrooms with a damp clothes and take the stem out.
Making the pot roast
- Heat your enameled Dutch oven to medium heat and add olive oil. Cook sliced onion for 1-2 minutes, then add chopped garlic. Stir and cook for another minute.
- Add corn starch and smoked sweet paprika powder. Stir continuously and cook for 1-2 minutes. This is to activate the starch and deepen the flavor of the paprika. We want the gravy part to be deep, rich and hearty. (Pay attention, not to let it burn as there is not much liquid at the moment. If it burns, it will be bitter.)
- Add veggie broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Stir until combined.
- Add seasoning (basil, sage, rosemary, salt, and black pepper). Stir and bring it to boil.
- Add all veggies (mushroom caps, potato, beetroot, carrot and parsnip). Stir and cover it with a lid.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) and cook the veggies in the pot with a lid on for 1 + ½ hours or until veggies are cooked and soft.
UPDATED: This recipe was originally posted in Nov 2020. More tips, info, and details were added and it was republished in Oct 2022.