soy milk stew in a bowl

Soy Milk Cream Stew (Vegan)

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Japanese cream stew made plant-based with soy milk and chickpeas! This is an easy and delicious one-pot comfort meal.

bowl of vegan cream stew

What is Cream Stew?

Cream stew (sometimes also called “white stew”) is a type of yoshoku 洋食 (Western-influenced dish) in Japanese cuisine. It’s a stew made with hearty vegetables, chicken, and a cream-based bechamel sauce. Served with rice or bread, it’s a classic winter comfort food for many families in Japan. Similar to curry, boxed roux is conveniently available in stores all over Japan. You just cook some veggies and chicken and add in the roux, and dinner is served in no time! Unfortunately, boxed roux usually contains dairy, so it’s been a while since I’ve had it. But cream stew is actually really easy to make from scratch! I use soy milk and chickpeas to keep it plant-based. It’s such a cozy and delicious one-pot meal!

vegan cream stew ingredients

Key Ingredients

  • Unsweetened Soy Milk ⟶ Use a creamy, flavorful soy milk ideally made with just 2 ingredients – soybeans and water.
  • Vegan Butter ⟶ While you can use olive oil or another oil, butter adds a bit of flavor and enhances the richness of the stew.
  • Root Vegetables ⟶ Onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, and potatoes are all good choices! Mix and match as you like.
  • Protein ⟶ I used chickpeas but you could also try white beans, soy curls, vegan chicken, or even baked tofu.
vegan cream stew with peas and chickpeas

Vegan Cream Stew FAQ

How can I make this gluten-free?
I haven’t tested a gluten-free option yet, but you could try using a gluten-free all purpose flour blend, or skip the flour and add a starch slurry at the end to thicken the stew. Note this may change the flavor slightly, as toasting the flour does add a bit of flavor, but as long as you use a good soy milk the stew should still be tasty!

Tips for Success

Use a tasty, creamy soy milk ⟶ The soy milk creates the luscious, creamy texture and flavor that makes this cream stew so comforting. Make sure your soy milk is plain, unsweetened, and ideally made with just 2 ingredients: soybeans and water! I usually use Japanese Marusan or Kikkoman unsweetened (muchousei 無調整) soy milk.

Add half the soy milk near the end of cooking ⟶ Boiling soy milk for too long can lead to separation and flavor deterioration, so it should be added near the end of cooking at a gentle simmer. However, the water alone isn’t enough to cook the veggies (step 5 in the recipe card), but we don’t want to add more water as it will dilute the stew. So we add half the soy milk with the water so there’s enough liquid to cook the veggies.

Stir frequently ⟶ The stew thickens a lot so be sure to keep an eye on it and stir frequently to prevent sticking/burning on the bottom.

Switch up the veggies ⟶ Feel free to mix and match your favorite stew veggies like onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, kabocha, cabbage, green beans, or peas. (In the photo above I used some cabbage and peas instead of broccoli.)

More Japanese Comfort Meals!

soy milk cream stew overhead close up

If you try out this soy milk cream stew, don’t forget to leave a comment/rating down below and tag me in your photos on instagram I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

Soy Milk Cream Stew (Vegan)

Japanese cream stew made plant-based with soy milk and chickpeas! This is an easy and delicious one-pot comfort meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4


  • 20 grams (1 ½ tbsp) vegan butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 celery, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 30 grams (¼ cup) all purpose flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 350 ml water
  • 500 ml unsweetened soy milk**
  • 200 grams (2 cups) broccoli
  • 100 grams shimeji mushrooms (or another mushroom)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast* or (vegan) Parmesan


  • Prep broccoli: Separate the stem from the head. Peel the stem then cut into bite size pieces. Cut the broccoli head into florets.
  • Cook: Heat butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and broccoli stems. Cook until onions and celery start to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Stir occasionally so the veggies don't burn.
  • Add carrots: Add carrots and cook another 5 minutes.
  • Add flour: Sprinkle flour over the veggies and stir for 2 minutes to lightly cook the flour.
  • Simmer: Stir in bay leaf, bouillon, water, and 250ml of soy milk. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently as the liquid will thicken and start to stick to the bottom of the pot. If your liquid is evaporating too quickly, reduce the heat and add a little water as needed. The liquid should be thick but there should be enough to cook the veggies.
  • Add remaining ingredients (except nutritional yeast): Stir in remaining soy milk, broccoli, mushrooms, and chickpeas. Mix well, then cover and gently simmer for another 10-15 minutes until all the veggies are cooked. Stir occasionally.
  • Add nutritional yeast: Once all the veggies are cooked, stir in nutritional yeast. Taste and add salt/pepper as desired. If you like your stew thinner, add more soy milk. Remove from heat and serve warm with rice or bread.


Soy Milk: For best flavor, use soy milk that’s made with just soybeans and water

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