To me, fall season is the season for soups and stews. Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved hearty stews. Granted there was no fall season in the Philippines (only summer and winter), stews have been my choice of dish. My stews are now vegan but they are just as hearty and comforting as my childhood favorites. Below are 10 vegan Filipino soups and stews for fall season.
10 Vegan Filipino Soups and Stews for Fall
When veganizing Filipino dishes, you could also use beans, mung beans to be exact. Filipinos eat a lot of mung beans or “munggo“. We put them in both savory and sweet dishes like soups (Ginataang Totong), stews (Munggo Guisado), and desserts (Ice candy, Halo-halo).
Munggo Stew is probably one of the (if not the) easiest Filipino dishes to veganize because the main component of the dish is not the meat but the beans. And it traditionally has tofu! Although almost vegan, Munggo stew still has small pieces of fried pork or fish. To veganize, simply omit the meat or fish (mind-blowing, I know). The omission of meat or fish will not affect the flavor; You still have that traditional hearty stew that Filipinos love so much. Munggo stew could be enjoyed as is or with rice.
Get the vegan Munggo Stew recipe here.
Mechado is the Philippine’s meat and potato stew. (Yes, meat and potato stews are possible to veganize!) You could use your preferred vegan “meat” – seitan, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, etc. Just make sure you cut them into big chunks so they have a bite. The flavor depends on the sauce so make sure it’s savory with a hint of umami sweetness. Mechado has to be paired with rice or else it wouldn’t be a complete dish.
Get the Vegan Mechado recipe here.
This is for the chocolate lovers. Just imagine a warm bowl of liquid chocolate with a mild nutty flavor from the rice, then drizzled on top with creamy nut milk. The weather in the Philippines may be scorching hot but it won’t stop Filipinos from enjoying a warm bowl of this chocolate-y goodness.
Traditionally Champorado calls for regular milk but that’s about the only non-vegan part of the recipe. After all, this dish requires only five ingredients. The ingredients are also easy to find at the store so the recipe works for both newbie and advanced cooks alike.
Get the Vegan Champorado recipe here.
Ginataang Bilo-Bilo is sweet coconut milk soup with chewy rice balls we Filipinos call “bilo-bilo“. The chewy rice balls are made of rice flour so it’s completely (and traditionally) gluten-free. And get this, it’s traditionally vegan too!
For some people, sweet coconut milk soup may be a hard concept to grasp. But just think of how coconut milk goes well in delicious vegan ice creams and flans. Now imagine it warm and comforting in a form of soup. I think it’s the perfect dish to end a lovely meal this fall season.
Get the Ginataang Bilo Bilo recipe here.
Filipino folk legend has it that if a pregnant woman strongly craves for a particular food all the time, her child will inherit the qualities and characteristics of that food. In Tagalog we call that “pinaglihi“. For example, my mother would crave for jicama all the time when she was pregnant with my sister, which why people thought my sister has a pale skin. If the child does not have any similar physical attributes with the food, we’ll go with personality. My youngest sister was pinaglihi from grapefruit, which what made my sister a sweet person (or sour depending who you ask). My mom would always crave for Lugaw or Filipino rice porridge when she was pregnant with me. People did not know what to think of it and simply said, “No wonder she’s…shy”. If you come up with a good explanation, let me know.
Lugaw is mainly composed of rice porridge seasoned with garlic, ginger, onions, and chicken or beef broth. For the vegan version, use a good vegetable broth.
The key to a good vegan Lugaw is never skipping the sauteed seasonings and look for the best vegetable broth you could find. I prefer vegetable broth found at Asian markets because they’re usually more flavorful. You could also make your own by using equal parts of nutritional yeast and potato flour and a pinch of kala namak (black salt), onion powder, and garlic powder.
If you decide to head to the Asian market, might as well grab a package of snow fungus -a kind of mushroom that mimics the texture of tripe. Goto (“goh-toh), a kind of Lugaw, uses tripe. Snow Fungus will provide great texture minus all the bad stuff.
Get the Vegan Lugaw recipe here.
Another easily veganizable Filipino dish is Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa or Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk. In fact, if you serve a vegan version of this in the Philippines, there won’t be any qualms about it being vegan because it’s still very much traditional.
Not only it’s easy to veganize, it’s just easy to make. But the ease of its cooking process will not undermine the flavors. You will still have an enjoyable meal from an incredibly easy dish. Nothing says fall than squash and coconut milk! I highly recommended to pair it with garlic fried rice.
Get the Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk recipe here.
If you want noodles in your soup, I recommend Patola Soup with Tempeh. Traditionally, it calls for ground beef and really soft, mushy wheat noodles called misua. I find misua a little too mushy sometimes so I would use bean noodle threads instead of misua noodles. You could find these two kinds of noodles at most Asian and Filipino grocery stores. And while you’re at it, feel free to add tempeh and patola or sponge gourd to your grocery list. Most likely you’ll find them all at one place.
Get the Patola Soup with Tempeh recipe here.
Kare-kare is a widely popular Filipino dish served at special occasions especially during town fiestas. It’s a Filipino peanut stew that is creamy, nutty, savory, and hearty. Along with vegetables, it traditionally has ox tail, beef, and tripe. For the vegan version, use trumpet mushrooms and snow fungus, or simply skip adding meat substitutes and stick with just vegetables.
Kare-kare could take several steps to make so some people use peanut butter as a short cut. Personally, I prefer making the sauce the old school way -by roasting and grinding the peanuts and rice. Doing so provides a complex taste and mouthfeel. Not peanut-buttery. But if you must, use peanut butter that is mostly if not purely made of peanuts.
Get the Vegan Kare-kare recipe here.
Admittedly, I did not like Tinola growing up. Perhaps it was the essence of ginger that I didn’t like. But now that my palate has opened up to spices, even ginger, I couldn’t get enough of its taste! Traditionally, Tinola has chicken, green papaya, and malunggay leaves, seasoned with garlic, onions, ginger, and rice washing. Yes, rice washing, which gives the broth its mildly sweet and nutty flavor.
To veganize Tinola, use your favorite meat substitute. I prefer tofu and mushrooms for the texture and good vegetable broth for the flavor. Serve with a side of rice or enjoy as is if you want to keep it light.
Get the Vegan Tinola recipe here.
Pochero is also one of my favorites growing up (as you could tell I have many!). Traditionally, it has all kinds of sweet and hearty vegetables -cabbage, potatoes, saba bananas, plus the fattiness of fried pork. The vegan version still captures the essence of the dish minus the pork. Simply use seitan to replace the pork and refined coconut oil to replace the fat, and you’ll have yourself an authentic-tasting, comforting meal. Like many Filipino dishes, Pochero is also paired with rice. If you are watching your sugar intake, feel free to use quinoa instead of rice.
Get the Vegan Pochero recipe here.
I hope you give at least one if not all of them a try. If you do, I think you’ll understand why I’m such a stew kind of person. And who knows, maybe you’ll become a stew person too. In the upcoming fall, I could see it as a very convincing possibility! Kain na, let’s eat!