Sustainability made simple

Vegan Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe

vegan corned beef and cabbage
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / anialaurman

With St. Patrick’s day around the corner, you can cook a traditional meal in a healthy and environmentally friendly way. This recipe for vegan corned beef and cabbage will satisfy everyone’s taste buds, vegan or not. Read on to learn how to feed anyone and everyone this St. Patrick’s day.

Corned beef and cabbage, a standard St. Patrick’s Day meal, actually originates from the United States. It was popular for Irish immigrants because of how affordable the meal was and quickly became a tradition. However, it was unpopular back in Gaelic Ireland because they only ate beef if a cow was dying or too old. In the spirit of less beef consumption, here is how to make the traditional St. Patrick’s day meal vegan-friendly.

How to Make Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day

Vegetables make corned beef and cabbage an easy vegan meal.
Vegetables make corned beef and cabbage an easy vegan meal. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / iphotoklick)


  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 red potatoes, peeled
  • 1.5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. of thyme
  • 4 pickles
  • 6-8 ounces of tofu (or Seitan)
  • salt and pepper
  • bottle of mustard
  • bottle of horseradish

How to Replace the Beef:

The original recipe for this dish relies on genuine animal products; however, here are some simple tricks to achieve a meat illusion.

  • Tofu vs. Seitan: Seitan has more of a meaty texture, while also containing more protein and less fat than tofu. However, seitan is made with gluten and is more expensive.
  • Vegan Broth: One trick is to create a false-beef broth by adding in soy sauce, tamari, and black pepper to a vegetable broth.
  • Spices: Spices give meat the flavor so enjoyed by most people, and are vegan friendly. Simply add paprika, chipotle powder, cumin, or garlic to your tofu and it is ready to be cooked.


  1. Cut the onions into small wedges.
  2. Cut the cabbage into wedges and set aside.
  3. Cut the carrots into 2 inch slices.
  4. Prepare a large sauce pot.
  5. Place onion wedges into the non-stick pot. Cook for about 2 minutes on medium heat, or until browned.
  6. Place carrots and potatoes into pot with the vegetable stock and thyme. Place lid on pot and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Add your tofu to the pot. Do not slice the tofu (or other meat alternatives) into slices until after cooking.
  8. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on medium heat. If you use seitan and not tofu, bring pot to a boil and then leave on low for one hour. Remove before continuing.
  9. Add in the cabbage wedges, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables and tofu are fork-tender.
  10. Remove tofu and cabbage onto plate with the broth of potatoes and vegetables.
  11. Cut tofu or seitan.
  12. Serve with a side of horseradish, pickles, and mustard for the full meal experience.

Benefits of Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage

Enjoy St. Patricks day with a healthy, vegan corned beef and cabbage.
Enjoy St. Patricks day with a healthy, vegan corned beef and cabbage. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / JillWellington)

This St. Patrick’s day, when you make a vegan corned beef and cabbage meal, you are reducing your carbon footprint by replacing meat with something more environmentally friendly. Meat consumption makes up 14.5% of all greenhouse gases, according to the UN, and reducing your consumption of meat reduces your footprint and thus reduces anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

It is important that all the ingredients for your vegan corned beef and cabbage are organic: if you replace any of the cooking ingredients with milk or add it to the stock, use plant-based milk. Plant-based milk is a safer alternative than dairy milk: according to the UN, the dairy sector has contributed 1,711.8 million tons of CO2 equivalents into the atmosphere as of 2015. Plant-based milk does not require the use of cattle, thus dramatically lowering the level of emissions and use of land.

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