Vegan Sancocho: Recipe for the Flavor-Packed Dominican Root Stew

vegan sancocho
Foto: Utopia / Annie Granger

Vegan sancocho is just as comforting as its meaty counterpart. Brimming with hearty vegetables, follow our recipe for a twist on this Spanish-Caribbean classic.

If you’re looking for something comforting in a bowl, you’ll find it in sancocho, a hearty and healthy Latin American stew brimming with root vegetables and scented with cilantro, which you’ll find throughout the Spanish Caribbean.

Traditionally, sancocho is made with up to seven different meats, especially on special occasions — which is why it’s also called the 7-meat-stew. We’ve modified the recipe to replace the meat base with additional vegetables to make it vegan. Swapping to a plant-based diet wherever possible can have several health benefits. For this recipe, it’s a relatively straightforward swap of meat for mushrooms and lentils, which provide plant protein and essential amino acids. However, the combination of vegetables and herbs in this stew remains influenced by Spanish Canary Islands tradition. 

This recipe is incredibly filling and even better the next day. We suggest serving additional bread to soak up the delicious flavor, though it’s also delicious on its own or over rice. This perfect one-pot meal will help beat the autumn chill!

How to Make Vegan Sancocho

Instead of the traditional meat, we used mushrooms and lentils for this vegan sancocho.
Instead of the traditional meat, we used mushrooms and lentils for this vegan sancocho.
(Foto: Utopia / Annie Granger)

Don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients, the reward will be worth the effort. 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into large pieces
  • 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 7 cloves, or one bulb, of garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 2½ tbsp dried oregano
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1½ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup red lentils or split peas
  • 1¼ lbs. potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1¼ lbs. pumpkin or squash, peeled, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 5 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 16 cups vegetable stock or enough to cover
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 3 ears of fresh corn

Caribbean ingredients to add if you can find them:

  • 2 yucca roots, peeled and diced
  • 3 yautias, peeled and quartered
  • 2 eddeos, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 3 plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick rounds

Tip: If you are using plantains, peel and cut them now and place them in a bowl of water where they can sit while you prepare the rest of the vegan sancocho.

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Let sweat and stir occasionally for about 15 minutes.
  2. Mash together the garlic, cilantro, black pepper, oregano, cumin, paprika, and salt. Add together with the red lentils or split peas, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and any of the extra ingredients EXCEPT the plantain. Cook and stir for a few seconds.
  3. Pour enough vegetable stock over the mixture to fill the pot three-quarters full. Add chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil before simmering until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
  4. Add the corn and plantain. Cover and cook for half an hour, adding more stock when necessary.
  5. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary, then serve. 

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