TK_Plant Based Stew with Variation_Lesson1_620 x 315
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Base Plant-Based Stew Recipe

While often regarded as an appetizer, a balanced soup can easily make a simple, complete meal. There’s nothing more soothing on a cold night, or weekend dinner with friends than a comforting stew.
(Serves 4)


Base liquid: (4 to 6 cups total liquid)*
(Choose your favorite, or a combination that complements your ingredients)

  • Water
  • Vegetable broth
  • Non-dairy milk, unsweetened (such as coconut milk (canned) plus vegetable broth or water)
  • Diced or crushed tomatoes, with juice (plus vegetable broth or water)
  • * If you’re using whole grains, you’ll need more liquid than if you’re using starchy vegetables, as grains absorb liquid during cooking.

Whole grains and/or starchy vegetables:
(Choose your favorite, or use what you have on-hand)

Whole grains (1 cup uncooked)

  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Millet
  • Quinoa

Starchy vegetables (1 cup raw)

  • Sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • Squash, peeled and cubed

(Choose your favorite, or use what you have on-hand)

  • 15 oz./425 g firm, organic tofu, cubed
  • 15 oz./425 g organic tempeh, sliced
  • 2 cups beans of any type, cooked (or canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 cups lentils, yellow or red (dry)

Vegetables (About 2 cups, raw):
(Choose what’s in season, or what you have on-hand)

  • Hard vegetables
  • Yellow onions, chopped
  • Carrot, thinly sliced
  • Celery, diced
  • Cauliflower, cut or broken into bite-size florets
  • Broccoli, cut or broken into bite-size florets
  • Tender vegetables and greens
  • Cabbage (any variety), sliced or shredded
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Bell peppers (any color), cut into strips
  • Tomatoes, fresh chopped
  • Eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Snap peas
  • Kale, collard greens, arugula or spinach

Other essential ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil (for sautéing)

Seasoning, to taste :

  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Chili powder
  • Chili flakes
  • Paprika
  • Bay leaf (remove before serving)
  • Garlic, minced
  • Any other herb or spice you like!

General Instructions:

You can make a stew in a slow cooker, or on the stovetop—each method has its advantages! Slow cookers let you come home to a meal at the end of a long day; they take longer, but save energy and can be left unattended while you’re away at work. The stovetop works just as well if you don’t own a slow cooker, or decide too late in the day what you’re making for dinner to make use of one.

Stovetop Instructions:

  1. Use a large pot or stock pot with a lid. If you’re using onions, sauté them until translucent in a small amount of oil. Add garlic (if using) and sauté after the onions have had a couple minutes head-start.
  2. If you’re using firm vegetables (like carrots and celery), add these to the pot with the onions and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add whole grains or starchy vegetables to your pot, and add your liquid. Also add your protein, and dried seasonings (such as bay leaves or chili powder), or woody herbs (such as rosemary), if using. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add remaining vegetables and fresh herbs (if using). Simmer for about 15 more minutes, or until your whole grains are fully cooked, or starchy vegetables are tender, and your other vegetables have reached desired doneness.
  5. Taste, adjust seasoning as required, and serve hot.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  1. Add whole grains or starchy vegetables, protein, onion and garlic (if using), dried seasonings or woody herbs, hard vegetables (e.g., carrots and celery), and liquid base to your slow cooked. Cover with the lid and set on high for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. In last 30 minutes of cooking, add remaining tender vegetables and fresh herbs. Cook until all vegetables have reached desired doneness.
  3. Taste, adjust seasoning as required, and serve hot.
  4. Optional: Serve stew with a slice of sprouted whole grain bread, or sprinkle nutritional yeast on top.

I asked holistic chef Peggy Kotsopoulos to take this simple base stew recipe and create a unique combination. Enjoy this take on a classic bean and potato stew.

Slow Cooker Pinto Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Contributed by Peggy Kotsopoulos
(Serves 6)


Base liquid:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (6 oz / 398 mL size)

Whole grains or starchy vegetables:

  • 2 cups sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes


  • 1 1/2 cups pinto beans, cooked (or two 16 oz / 398 mL cans, rinsed and drained)


  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped

Other essential ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoning, to taste:
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan
  2. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes
  3. Place mixture, along with other ingredients in your slow cooker*
  4. Set your slow-cooker to low and cook for 8 hours

* If you do not have a slow cooker, you can still make this recipe in a large pot on the stovetop. After step two, add all remaining ingredients to the pot, and bring to a light simmer over medium heat. Reduce to medium low and cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender (about 45 minutes to one hour).

Peggy Kotsopoulos is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who’s energy and passion for her work is infectious.  She is the host of television show Peggy K’s Kitchen Cures on Veria Living TV, and author of Kitchen Cures (Penguin). She is also a returning guest on NBC’s Today Show, The Talk on CBS and resident nutritionist on The Steven and Chris show, airing on CBC and ABC’s Live Well network. And as a spokesperson, she’s a huge lover of Vega! Her press coverage, lectures and recipes have spanned across the globe inspiring and educating others on how to live a healthier, happier and more vibrant life.