A hearty plant-based twist on a classic Japanese “hashed beef” stew. Gluten-free, vegan comfort food ready in under an hour!
Traditionally, hayashi rice is made of thin strips of beef, onions, and mushrooms stewed in a demi-glace sauce. Hayashi rice is very popular in Japanese home cooking, and with the boxed roux widely available these days, hayashi rice can be made at home very quickly and easily. Some boxed roux do contain animal products though, amongst other additives. While a traditional demi-glace sauce can take hours to prepare, here I’m sharing my shortcut version to make vegan hayashi rice at home in under an hour! It’s hearty, comforting, and so satisfying — perfect for the colder weather in the fall and winter.
There are a few different components to this vegan hayashi rice. First the roux:
Then the shortcut “demi-glace” sauce:
And finally the additional seasonings and ingredients to complete the hayashi rice:
- soy curls
- balsamic vinegar
- coconut sugar
- bay leaf
- Japanese Worcestershire sauce
- soy sauce
TIPS & TRICKS
- Make sure to stir the roux constantly and don’t turn the heat up too high (medium low heat is best) as roux burns very easily. This is a time-consuming step but essential to build a rich flavor.
- Do NOT use metal to stir the roux as it will get very hot. Use a wooden spoon to stir and a silicone spatula if needed to scrape the pot.
- The roux changes color as it cooks, from white to blond to brown. Darker roux has better flavor but doesn’t have as much thickening power. For hayashi rice, cook the roux to a light brown color (~15 minutes).
- The roux will be quite runny when you take it off the heat, but it firms up as it cools. It will also be very hot, so be careful not to burn yourself.
- While I usually just add the roux into the pot and let the heat dissolve it, if you want to ensure even blending of the roux you can take some of the liquid from the pot out into a bowl and mix the roux into the liquid, then add the roux mixture back to the pot.
- Soak the soy curls in vegetable broth instead of water for more flavor. Reserve the strained liquid to use in the stew.
- Make sure to squeeze out as much water from the rehydrated soy curls as you can. This way they will soak up more flavor from the stew, otherwise they will taste very watery.
For best results please follow the recipe as written, but here are my suggestions for ingredients that can be substituted:
- gluten-free all purpose flour: sub with regular all purpose flour if not gluten-free
- olive oil: sub vegan butter or refined coconut oil
- balsamic vinegar: sub red wine
- coconut sugar: sub organic cane sugar
- Japanese Worcestershire sauce: sub with any vegan Worcestershire sauce and add more sugar to taste
- soy curls: these mimic the look and texture of the beef slices typical of hayashi rice, but frozen tofu would a great substitution — just make sure to press the tofu so it’s not watery
- A large pot: I use a Staub Cast Iron Cocotte for all my soups and stews. I was gifted this for Christmas last year and it quickly became my favorite pot for cooking. It heats evenly and is the perfect size for making big batches of soup, curry, chili, or stew.
- Wooden Spoon for stirring
- Silicone Spatula for scraping the roux, if needed
- Blender: I love my Vitamix, but any high powered blender will work.
- Steamer Basket: not necessary but it does make steaming veggies easier
Be sure to check out these other hearty Japanese dishes!
If you try out this Shortcut Vegan Hayashi Rice, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking and/or leave a comment down below and let me know how you liked it! I love seeing you recreate my recipes 🙂 Happy cooking!
Shortcut Vegan Hayashi Rice
- 3 oz soy curls
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth divided
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided
- 3 tbsp gluten-free all purpose flour
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 ribs of celery chopped
- ¼ onion chopped
- ¾ cup tomato sauce
- ½ onion sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or red wine
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp Japanese Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb mushrooms sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 cup of vegetable broth in a pot on the stove. Once it starts boiling, turn off the heat and add soy curls to the pot. Let the soy curls rehydrate in the vegetable broth for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the roux: heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium low heat. Once hot, add the flour and stir constantly until the roux turns a light brown color, about 10-15 minutes. Take the roux off the heat and transfer to a bowl.
- Strain the soy curls over a bowl, gently pressing on them to remove excess liquid. Be careful not to break them. Reserve the liquid to use in the next step.
- Steam carrots, celery, and ¼ onion. Add to a blender along with the tomato sauce, vegetable broth, and leftover vegetable broth from straining the soy curls. Blend on high until smooth.
- Heat remaining tbsp olive oil and add onion slices. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.
- Add vegetable puree, balsamic vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Mix until well combined, then add bay leaf, mushrooms, and rehydrated soy curls. Bring to a boil then lower to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Taste and add salt/pepper as desired. Serve with steamed rice.
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