Comments 16

Carbonade flamande or Flemish stew à la vegan

Carbonade flamande or Flemish stew (Vlaamse stoverij) is a traditional Flemish dish. It is commonly sold at ‘frietkoten’ (fast food places selling fries, hamburgers, ..) and is often served as a ‘plat du jour’ at bistros or traditional restaurants. In 2015, Flemish stew with fries was chosen as the most traditional Flemish dish by viewers of the popular TV-cooking show ‘Dagelijkse Kost‘ (roughly translates as ‘Everyday Meals‘) and March 1, was proclaimed as ‘Flemish stew day‘. Not surprisingly of course, the dish is not vegan, as it traditionally made with cow (beef) or sometimes with pig. See also our post about Belgium’s culinary tradition here.

Flemish stew, à la vegan

Flemish stew, à la vegan

This is our vegan version of Vlaamse Stoverij, with seitan. We’ve given it our own touch, as most often it does not come with mushrooms, nor carrots. What is typical though is the use of (dark) beer, and bread smeared with mustard.
This is for 4 persons (we usually make this portion for the two of us and then freeze the remaining for later).
Sometimes we use storebought seitan, but most often we use homemade seitan from gluten powder.

Ingredients Vegan Flemish stew

Ingredients Vegan Flemish stew

Ingredients Carbonade flamande or Flemish stew à la vegan

  • 1 tbs vegan butter
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 to 4 carrots, cut in bite size pieces (long shaped size or cubed)
  • 1 tray of mushrooms (250g), halved or quartered
  • 3 thick slices of white vegan bread (crust removed),
  • musterd, about 1tbs (enough to smear the bread slices)
  • 1 small bottle (25cl) or a bit more brown beer of your choice (eg Petrus oud bruin or Rodenbach – see to check whether your beer of choice is vegan)
  • pinches of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 600 to 800g medium firm seitan, roughly cut in bite seize pieces (amounts to about 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock (bouillon) – or a bit more
  • optional: some red port or shoyu
Bread smeared with mustard

Bread smeared with mustard


Prepare the fries: wash and slice the potatoes and cut fries. Sometimes we just cut them by hand the old fashioned way, or sometimes we pass them through the cutter (see photo).
Prebake for a couple of minutes at 150° in frying pot. Remove from frying pan and keep aside.
By the way, although commonly referred to as French fries, Belgians invented them and they are considered a national dish! So let’s call them Belgian fries 😉 Bruges even has a frietmuseum!

Cutting the potatoes

Cutting the potatoes – thick fries

or maybe you prefer thinner fries!

or maybe you prefer thinner fries!

  • Heat the vegan butter in a large pot. Bake the onions.
  • Add the vegetable stock.
  • Smear the bread slices with mustard, and add to the pot. While stirring occasionally, bring to a boil, but don’t overcook.
  • Meanwhile steam the carrots till medium soft (or put them a couple of minutes in the microwave).
  • Add the steamed carrots and the mushrooms to the pan.
  • Add pinches of pepper and salt, thyme and rosemary.
  • Mingle well and let simmer for a minute.
  • Add beer.
  • Add the seitan and let simmer til the mushrooms and carrots are soft. If there’s not enough liquid, add vegetable stock, or more beer. (If you like it more sweet, add a small glass of red port, if you want it darker, add some shoyu – but beware this makes it more salty!).

Meanwhile: bake the fries for second time at 180°.

Serve the fries, the stew, with salad of your choice on the side.

Et voilà!

Carbonara Flamande

Carbonade Flamande or Flemish stew à la vegan, with chicory salad

key ingredients: brown beer, mustard and onion (we like to add carrots and mushrooms)

key ingredients: brown beer, mustard on white bread and onion (we like to add carrots and mushrooms)


  1. Peter Schreiner says

    Belgian fries. I’ll remember that, and refer to them as that.

    Actually, a few years back, there was a movement in the USA — maybe it came after Sept. 11 — to start calling them American Fries / Freedom Fries. But it never caught on.

    Anyway, your dish looks quite tasty.

    • I certainly didn’t want to feed any nationalistic rhetoric with that comment Peter. It was rather meant tongue in cheek 😛
      Fries are a very popular dish here though, and what is peculiar is that they are traditionally eaten with mayonaise (veganaise of course for us).

  2. Kristen says

    Thanks so much Trudi! I can’t wait to try this. One question: which kind of mustard is best?

    • You’re welcome Kristen!
      Not the sweet kind mustard, but the strong sharp kind. The ones that makes your eyes and nostrils tear 😉

  3. I love your vegan sitar stoveij way much more then the normal meat one! MMMMMM, delicious with home-made fries, of course! 🙂 xxx

  4. I’ve made this recipe already a few times with different beers and it’s always a hit 🙂

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  8. Mark says

    Hi Trudi, thank you for this recipe, we have made it a number of times now and really enjoy it. I had my first vegan flemish stew in the De Plaats in Bruges. made by the lovely Frow. Unfortunately, she no longer runs it. Though i go for a St Bernadus 12 as the beer in the stew. I’m a huge fan of Belgium beer, the country and now this stew. 🙂
    I am in fact making this today with a nice bottle of Grotten, to aid the cooking process…

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