Here’s a one-pot meal that is open for adaptation. The origins of Brunswick stew is up for debate however, regardless of where is came from, this stew is a wonderful way to warm up on a cold day. One major difference from the original is the fact that this is a vegan Brunswick stew. I hope you enjoy it!
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What is Brunswick Stew?
As mentioned above there’s a big debate that can be had over where this stew originated. Some claim that this iconic Southern stew was born in Brunswick, Georgia while others will argue that Brunswick County, Virginia was the actual birthplace. There is even a Brunswick stew landmark located in Georgia, represented by a large pot with a plaque reading, “In this pot the first Brunswick Stew was made on St. Simon Isle July 2 1898.”
If you’re interested in reading more on the origins, check out this Southern Living article, entitled “The Complicated History of Brunswick Stew“.
Even the time period of its origins is inconsistent, with some accounts reporting it was created in colonial times, and others insisting it wasn’t until the sometime in the 1800’s. But I’m not here to fuss over when or who came up with it first.
I’d rather talk about what brunswick stew is made of. What makes this stew so iconic is that it was originally made with wild game, local vegetables and beans. There are accounts of using rabbit, squirrel, and even oppossum meat along with whichever vegetables were in season. Most often you see corn, okra, tomatoes, butter beans, and potatoes flavored with cayenne and salt.
This is my take on Brunswick stew. As you can see, I’ve chosen to make it vegan and used “no salt added” versions of the canned ingredients in order to cut back on the amount of sodium per serving. But as always, feel free to adjust things to your tastes and do what the originators did by using up whatever is in season (or whatever you have on hand in your fridge).
Heart Healthy Variations
I feel like this recipe, if prepared the way it was originally, is already considered fairly heart healthy. I say this simple because it used minimally processed, fresh foods. Food back then was all about nourishment, not what its become today. But that’s another debate I suppose. Let’s get back to this vegan Brunswick stew.
Beans and Health Benefits
Whether you use lima beans, butter beans, or any other beans, you’re adding protein and fiber, without the added fat. FYI, that’s one reason that plant-based protein sources are better than animal sources. Plus, beans are so essential for heart health in that they help reduce blood cholesterol levels (1). Additionally, a higher intake of beans and legumes is associated with lower risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and colorectal cancer (2).
The bottom line here is to make sure you eat 2 to 2.5 cups of beans per week to reap the health benefits.
Vegetables and Health Benefits
I think I can say with confidence that most of us are aware of the health benefits of vegetable intake. They are high in nutrients and low in substances that we should be limiting, including saturated fats and sodium.
Study after study have proven the health benefits in all areas of life and with all populations around the world. A higher intake of vegetables decreases risk of developing chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental health disorders, and overall mortality (3,4). The health promoting contributions of vegetables are all the result of complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols that they contain (3).
The bottom line here is to make sure you eat at least 5 servings a day of vegetables and fruits to reap these health benefits.
Vegan Meat Substitutes for Soups and Stews
Now, to make this stew vegan and still be able to satisfy the meat-lover in your family, you have to consider the options. Afterall, you may not have squirrel or rabbit meat available to you. I generally do not, but I will tell you, my husband does make a mean rabbit stew on occasion.
So instead, I went searching at my local market for vegan options. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much available in my area. I was looking for something other than plain tofu or soy crumbles. What I found was a vegan chorizo substitute by Morning Star Farms.
My suggestion is to be weary of most meat substitutes, which can be higher in fat and sodium. This happened to be one of them but I still gave it a go since the other ingredients I was using in the recipe were very low in fat and sodium.
As a quick guideline, try sticking with plant-based options that contain 2 grams or less of saturated fat, no added sugars, and less than 575 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Some great meat alternative options to try in this vegan Brunswick stew recipe are:
- soy burger crumbles
The option I’d like to try most is the jackfruit. Jackfruit is actually a fruit but its known to be a wonderful meat alternative and can be found in some grocers around the nation. It shreds nicely and would be a great “shredded pork-like” option for this stew.
You can even purchase it now on Amazon.com.
What To Serve With Brunswick Stew
Since this vegan Brunswick stew is a one-pot meal, you don’t NEED to serve it with anything else. But in case you do, there are a few suggestions I’d recommend.
Starchy Side Dishes to Serve with Stew
For side dishes, you can always try:
- Addicting Garlic Bread
- crusty French bread
- homemade rolls or biscuits
- corn bread
- mashed potatoes
- creamy polenta or grits
Vegetable Side Dishes to Serve with Stew
If you prefer a non-starchy side dish, try serving any of the following alongside your stew:
- roasted vegetables- Roasted Vegetable Medley
- fresh, green salad- Best Kale Salad Ever!
- mashed cauliflower
- steamed asparagus
How To Make One-Pot Spicy Vegan Brunswick Stew
Making One-Pot Spicy Vegan Brunswick Stew
- Saute the onion and garlic.
This soup couldn’t be easier. The first thing you’ll do is heat a soup pot on the stove and add your olive oil. Make sure you have the chopped onion and minced garlic ready as you’ll be adding them to the pan as well.
- Add next 7 ingredients.
After the onion is translucent, add the next seven ingredients at once (fire roasted tomatoes, lima beans, tomato paste, brown sugar, frozen corn, and cayenne pepper if using, and vegetable stock). Cover and bring to a boil.
- Add vegan crumbles and BBQ.
Add the vegan chorizo crumbles (which are already cooked) along with barbecue sauce. Stir and simmer a few more minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Now serve with a side dish of choice or alone. You can drizzle with a little sriracha however I find the chorizo crumbles and cayenne pepper add enough spice for me. Enjoy!
One-Pot Spicy Vegan Brunswick Stew
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 Tbsp garlic minced
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes no salt added
- 1 (15.25 oz) can lima beans drained
- 4 Tbsp tomato paste no salt added
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper optional
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup corn frozen
- 32 oz vegetable stock no salt added
- 1 (13.5 oz) package Morning Star Farms Veggie Chorizo Crumbles
- ½ cup barbecue sauce no sugar added
- sriracha optional for serving
- Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until onion is slightly translucent.
- Add chopped tomatoes, lima beans, tomato paste, cayenne pepper (if using), vegetable stock, and frozen corn. Cook about 5 minutes, bringing mixture to a boil.
- Add vegan chorizo crumbles and barbecue sauce and simmer a few more minutes.
- Serve with optional drizzle of sriracha and enjoy!
- Feel free to use any of the suggestions I mentioned for a vegan protein source in this recipe: tempeh, mushrooms, tofu crumbles, jackfruit, etc.
- And I highly recommend finding as many ingredients as possible that are lower in sodium or labeled as “no added salt” in order to keep the overall sodium content reasonable per serving.
- Many vegan meat alternatives can be high in sodium so try to find one that is less than 575 mg/serving if possible. FYI, all the options I just listed will definitely meet the criteria.
Share with me: Have you tried this stew recipe? Did you try any variations? Let me know by leaving a comment!
Other soups and stews to warm you up:
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Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.