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Vegan Creamed Beef And Barley Stew

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Vegan creamed beef and barley stew is so easy and quick to prepare in one pot. This stew will quickly become a go-to meal as its a guaranteed winner with all the family.

Packed with plant-based nourishment as well as creamy, savoury tastiness, this stew is perfect for everyday meals, or for impressing guests over the holiday season.

Not a fan of meat-free pieces? Simply sub these out for a can of your favourite beans or some thick sliced juicy mushrooms. So tasty!

A white bowl of vegan creamed beef and barley stew with parsley, plate with bread to side, featured image.

Quick Origins of Beef And Barley

Here in Scotland barley has been a common crop and ingredient for at least hundreds of years.

One of Scotland’s most popular soups is Scotch broth which features barley simmered with meat. We have a delicious vegan version of Scotch broth on our blog, do pop over and check it out, a bowl is perfect for autumnal and winter lunches.

Combining beef and barley into soups, stews and pottages goes further back as barley was first cultivated in Eurasia 10,000 years ago.

The ancient Roman gladiators were sustained on barley and were often known as ‘barley men’!

In early American history barley was transported along with the new settlers and was used to prepare meat and barley soups.

Vegan Creamed Beef And Barley Stew

Preparing this creamed beef and barley stew is so simple and quick. This stew can be easily adapted to whatever veggies you happen to have to hand, as well as easily prepared as gluten-free.

First select your best non-stick pot and cook the thick sliced parsnips, carrots, celery and onion in either one tablespoon of olive oil or half a cup of veggie stock. Next the dried herbs and garlic are cooked for a further two minutes.

image of a taste and glory meat-free pieces package
These are the Taste & Glory vegan meat-free roasted tender strips (not an ad) that are used for this recipe. However, these can be subbed out for a different vegan pieces or simply use a can of beans or mushrooms.

Barley and meat-free pieces are next to go in the pot, followed by hot veggie stock and a tablespoon of vegan Worcester sauce. I used 2 meat free beef oxo cubes to prepare the hot stock, but any other vegan beef flavoured stock can be added. Or if you only have vegetable stock just use this.

After some seasoning of salt and black cracked pepper, the stew is brought to the boil, and simmered for thirty minutes, and given an occasional stir.

If any sides are being served along with the stew now is a good time to get these going.

Large pan with wooden thick handles full of creamed barley stew sitting on a wire rack, white background.

After thirty minutes shredded cabbage is mixed through, along with canned coconut milk and white wine vinegar. The stew is gently simmered for a further fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes the seasoning is checked and the coconut milk stock given a good mix, as it can look separated at this stage. However just mix well and it will come back together again.

My family love this creamed barley stew served over fluffy mashed potatoes, with a slice of crusty bread to mop up the tasty creamy stew juices. I like a sprinkle of fresh parsley while my son prefers the tomato ketchup bottle!

If needing a gluten-free version, substitutions or serving suggestions then do check out the recipe notes and FAQs.

close up of creamed beef and barley vegan stew with grey ladle.

How to prepare vegan creamed beef and barley stew

creamed vegan beef and barley stew served on white plate with mashed potatoes, white wooden background.
Serve with fluffy mashed potatoes for a bowl of yummy comfort. A sprinkle of chopped parsley is a delicious addition.

Recipe Notes And FAQS

How do I store leftover creamed barley stew?

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, within a covered container.

Or frozen for up to 4 months.

How do I reheat leftover barley stew?

Place the barley stew into a non-stick pan and reheat for 3-5 minutes or until piping hot. A little extra liquid may be required if the stew has become very thick, although as the stock heats it will become looser.

Is vegan creamed beef and barley stew gluten-free?

Yes with a few considerations this stew can be prepared as gluten-free.

As barley is not a gluten-free ingredient this will have to be replaced. Rice is the best replacement but be sure and adjust the cooking times depending on how long your chosen rice takes to cook.

Also make sure that your vegan stock and vegan Worcester sauce is gluten-free. The Worcester sauce can be subbed for gluten-free Tamari (soy sauce).

Lastly choose gluten-free meat-free pieces or sub out for a can of your favourite beans or the same weight in mushrooms.

Can I make any substitutions?

Of course. A few ideas:

* sub out parsnip for potatoes, turnip, swede or celeriac

* instead of canned coconut milk use the same amount of soaked and blended cashew nuts and water. Have a look at our creamy cashew Moroccan stew post for an easy method.

* replace vegan Worcester sauce with Tamari soy sauce or regular soy sauce

* dried herbs can be replaced with a small bunch of fresh herbs

* or replace the dried thyme and sage with mixed dried herbs or Italian dried herbs

* any type of cabbage can be used, including savoy, white, green cabbage or spring greens.

Red cabbage is fine but will add extra colour to the creamy stock.

Other greens can also be used such as kale, collards, Calvo Nero, cauliflower or turnip greens.

* not a fan of meat-free pieces? sub these out for a can of your favourite beans, or the same weight in juicy, thick sliced mushrooms. Any variety of mushrooms is fine.

What can I serve with creamed barley stew?

* vegan Irish soda bread (100% wheaten)

* quick dinner rolls ( 3 ingredient recipe)

* a wedge of your favourite crusty bread

* slices of vegan garlic bread

* traditional Scottish oatcakes (recipes for vegan oil-free plain and cheesy oatcakes also available on the blog)

* saltine crackers

* American biscuits, cornbread

* mashed potatoes, potato wedges, boiled or steamed potatoes especially new potatoes

* vegan champ ( a traditional mash of potatoes, turnip and cabbage)

* steamed or boiled peas and sweetcorn

* corn-on-the-cob

* any steamed or roasted veggies, steamed green beans or roast asparagus are especially tasty with this stew

* pickled red cabbage, beetroot, onions, cucumbers, gherkins

* thick noodles

* your favourite rice

* polenta mash, grits

A white bowl of vegan creamed beef and barley stew with parsley, plate with bread to side, featured image.

Vegan Creamed Beef And Barley Stew

Print Recipe
So warming, comforting and nourishing!
Delicious creamy savoury flavours that the whole family will love.
Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a scoop of tasty mashed potatoes and a chunk of crusty bread. So good!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine British
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 4
Calories 428
Author Jacq


  • Large non-stick pot


To sauté the veggies

  • 1 tbsp olive oil or 125ml/½ cup veggie stock

Stew ingredients:

  • 220 grams meat-free beef chunks my package came in 220g weight but more chunks can be added to the stew if preferred. Or replace with a can of butter beans or thick chopped mushrooms.
  • 200 grams carrot 1 large, thick sliced
  • 200 grams parsnip 2 small-medium, thick sliced
  • 150 grams onion 1 large, sliced
  • 150 grams celery 2 ribs, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced, use more if preferred
  • 150 grams cabbage sliced, I used white cabbage but any variety is fine
  • 100 grams pearl barley washed and drained
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce use a vegan variety
  • 2 tsp dried sage replace with dried mixed herbs if necessary
  • 2 tsp dried thyme or use fresh herbs if available
  • 1250 ml vegetable stock hot, use a vegan beef flavour if available. I used 2 meat-free oxo beef cubes.
  • 400 ml lite coconut milk canned, use full fat if preferred for extra creaminess and richness
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

To serve

  • 8 grams parsley chopped, alternatively use chives, dill or fine chopped spring/green onions


  • Sauté onion, carrot, parsnip, and celery in either 1 tbsp of olive oil or ½ cup of veggie stock for 8 minutes over a medium heat,
  • Mix through garlic and herbs, cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the barley and meat-free pieces, stir,
  • Pour in the hot vegetable stock and Worcester sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Tip in the shredded cabbage and pour in the coconut milk and white wine vinegar. Mix.
  • Simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the cabbage and barley is cooked. It may look like the coconut milk has separated but just stir until its combined with the stew again.
  • Check seasoning.
    Sprinkle each serving with parsley if liked.


  • Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
  • Store leftovers in a covered container within the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Or freeze for up to 4 months.
  • Reheat by placing in a non-stick pot and bring to a simmer, cook and stir for 3-5 minutes until piping hot. Add a little extra plant milk, stock or water if necessary.
  • Use a lite/reduced-fat canned coconut milk if preferred to reduce fat and calories
  • Using a vegan ‘beef’ flavoured stock improves the flavour but simply use vegetable stock if preferred.
  • The beef pieces can be replaced with a can of your favourite creamy beans such as butterbeans, cannellini or borlotti. Or replace with thick sliced mushrooms which would be incredibly tasty.
  • Instead of dried herbs sub for fresh if available.


Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 1458mg | Potassium: 987mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 9424IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 8mg

More family cosy, warming meals to enjoy:

Slow cooker vegan beef stew and fluffy dumplings

Vegan chicken stew and dumplings

Vegan traditional Irish stew

Traditional vegan Scottish stovies (with mashed neeps (swede/turnip/rutabaga)

Vegan sausage casserole (with sweet potato and red peppers)

Prepared one of our family recipes?

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Happy cooking!

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