Sancocho without meat!? Is that even possible!?
The answer to your question is simple, Si se puede!!! Vegan sancocho is just as tasty and even more nutritious than a traditional Dominican beef sancocho. I do have to admit when I was finishing up this recipe, I did call my mom to make sure I got all of the small details correct. Of course, she started with, “start by cooking the meat…” When I stopped her to mention, “That’s ok ma, I’m not adding meat.”
OMG! I wish I recorded her to share it with you HAHA! It went a little something like ” QUEEEEE nooo that’s not sancocho that’s vegetable soup”. Needless to say, she was shocked!
However, It is quite possible. By removing the meat and adding some non-traditional ingredients, I have managed to make a vegan sancocho recipe that will have you back for seconds! Maybe even thirds as you won’t be so full or bloated with a vegan recipe!
What is sancocho?
Sancocho is a traditional stew that is best known to be from the Dominican Republic. My mom will not be very happy with this next comment HAHA, but here it goes! Although we tend to think sancocho originated from the Dominican Republic, it actually originated in the Canary Islands. It was brought along during the colonial period however, Dominicans definitely perfected it! That last bit is all me and my bias, but am I wrong? Traditionally Dominican sancocho is made with beef and a ton of veggies. Or it’s made with 7 different types of meats and again a ton of veggies. Both are equally as traditional. You’ll find that most Latin American or Caribbean countries have also adopted their own version of this popular dish. If you’ve been following my recipes, you’ll notice that borrowing recipes and making them your own, in the Hispanic culture, is quite common.
Although this dish is quite hearty and full of ingredients that we (Americans) associate with the fall, sancocho is actually eaten all year long. That is because these ingredients are readily available year long in Latin America and the Caribbean. Sancocho is also known as the remedy to cure all illnesses, especially a hangover after a night out. So next time you find yourself needing some comfort food, or a remedy after a night out try sancocho!
Traditionally sancocho is a full day task. Braising the meat until it’s tender, takes the most time. However, because we eliminated the meat, this sancocho can be made in just ONE hour!!!
How did I do it, what is different?
The secret to a good sancocho is the base. The meat in a traditional sancocho is what gives the base its fat and starts the flavor building process. So If I was leaving the meat out, I definitely had to get a little creative with a vegan sancocho.
To reach the umami flavor profile of a traditional sancocho, I used: a bit more vegetable oil than usual for the fat, dark soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and liquid smoke. I know, not very traditional at all, but they work!
It’s essential to use premium dark soy sauce. Light soy sauce will not work. Dark soy sauce will help the sancocho achieve the color we are looking for, and also help with building the flavor profile.
Nutritional yeast is a fantastic ingredient found in most plant-based pantries. It is used to help develop flavors that are usually associated with dairy or meat. It gives a “cheesy”, nutty, and or savory component to vegan dishes. As its name suggests, it is quite nutritious and full of protein, fiber, and vitamins.
Liquid smoke is exactly what it sounds like. It gives your dishes a hint of smoke, making it seem as if you’ve been in the kitchen all day. A little goes a long way, so don’t get carried away, a teaspoon really is enough.
The combination of all three of these ingredients is what helps this vegan sancocho compare to a traditional sancocho. Without these ingredients, as my mom mentioned, it would just be vegetable soup.
What can I have sancocho with?
Sancocho is usually served with a side of white rice and some avocado. I love to serve it with some garlic tostones as well for that extra crunch! If you’ve never made tostones, no worries!! I got you! Check out my tostones recipe HERE which can be made in just under 10 minutes.
When I made this sancocho, hubby topped it with my homemade vegan garlic sauce and I must admit, it was fabulous! So if you love garlic, definitely give it a try.
Looking for some more vegan recipes? Give these Latin classics with a vegan twist a try, then let me know how it went!!
This recipe also includes my HOMEMADE ADOBO as one of the ingredients, do definitely make sure you check it out.
Vegan Sancocho- Traditional Dominican stew minus the meat
- Large pot and cover
- 1 Large Spanish onion (Yellow onion)
- 1 Bulb of garlic
- ¼ CUP vegetable oil (Substitute with any high smoke point oil)
- ½ TBSP Onion powder
- ½ TBSP Granulated garlic
- ½ TBSP Oregano
- ½ TBSP Adobo
- 1 TSP Celery salt
- ½ TSP Coriander powder
- ½ TSP Cumin
- 1 TSP Smoked paprika
- 1 TBSP Tomato paste
- 1 TSP Liquid smoke
- 2 TBSP Dark soy sauce
- 1 TBSP Nutritional yeast
- 1 Cassava (Yuca) (658g)
- 2 Green plantains
- 1 Large potato OR 2 medium potatoes (442g)
- 2 Medium carrots (122g)
- 3 Cobs of corn
- 2 Medium small sweet potatoes (265g)
- ½ Auyama (486g) Dominican pumpkin
- 1 Medium batata (352g) Dominican sweet potato
- 1 Butternut squash (925g)
- 1 Yellow plantain
- 2 LITERS (8 cups) Vegetable stock (substitute for 2 liters of water plus 2 vegetable stock cubes)
- 2 Lime (juice of 2 fresh limes)
- 1 Bunch of cilantro (chopped)
- Prep the vegetables:Mince onion and garlic. Feel free to use an electric device for ease if needed. Peel and cut the vegetables into similar sized pieces, making sure to remove all seeds from auyama/pumpkin and butternut squash. Only chop one green plantain and half of the second. Save the remaining half green plantain for later.
- Add oil to the pot and saute the onions and garlic on medium heat until translucent. About 5 minutes
- Add in the tomato paste and dry spices and warm for about 2 minutes. (onion powder, granulated garlic, oregano, adobo, celery salt, coriander powder, cumin, and smoked paprika,)
- Add the liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce to the pot and mix well.
- Add the first batch of vegetables to the pot, stir, season with salt and pepper, and saute for about 2 minutes to soak in more flavor. (Yuca/cassava, carrots, batata, green plantains)
- Add the vegetable stock to the pot, mix, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Mix the pot well to prevent sticking on the bottom. Toss in the corn, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Mix well, then add the second batch of vegetables to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. (Butternut squash, yellow plantain, auyama, sweet potato, and potato)
- With the side of a spoon, grate in the leftover green plantain we saved from earlier. Mix well, being cautious not to break up the vegetable too much. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Check to see if the last batch of vegetables are tender. If not, simmer for a couple more minutes.
- Once the vegetables are tender, stir vigorously breaking up SOME of the vegetables. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- To finish, toss in the chopped cilantro and lime juice. Mix well. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed...AND DONE!! Serve with a side of white rice.
- Try and cut the vegetables to similar sizes to allow them to cook evenly.
- To help with oxidization place a wet tea towel (paper towels work well too) over the second batch of vegetables while they wait to be added to the pot.
- In the beginning, be careful when mixing. You don't want to break up the vegetables too early.
- Use what you can find. For example, if you cant find auyama use any pumpkin or squash available.
- Spillage... It will happen, so don't worry. It's just the process of making sancocho, and somehow no pot is ever big enough. keep the heat at medium and try to wipe any liquid that may spill.
- DON'T FORGET THE LIME! The lime truly ties the dish together. Without it, it's not sancocho. Try your best to not substitute with lemon.