This easy slow cooker vegan Italian beef recipe combines shredded young jackfruit and thinly sliced seitan with a super savory au jus loaded with red miso, reduced sodium soy sauce, onions, garlic, and Italian herbs and spices. Slow cooked in a crock pot for hours, it makes such a delicious plant based filling for vegan Italian beef sandwiches!
So, what’s Italian beef? A Chicago classic, a U.S. Midwestern favorite. Scraps of meat are slow simmered in au jus, served in a hearty roll, and topped with hot giardiniera, a Chicago-style relish of spicy peppers and pickled vegetables.
A few notes about topping your sandwich...
- ・Hot giadiniera is not easy to find everywhere. If you’re dead set on it, order it online or make your own from scratch.
- ・ Mild giardiniera is much easier to find at most grocery stores in the U.S. It isn’t Chicago-style, and it isn’t the same as the hot stuff, but it is still good.
- ・I prefer giadiniera packed in oil, rather than packed in water and vinegar. Nevertheless, either variety will work.
- ・Not into giardiniera? Some people like Italian beef topped with pepperoncini. Other people don’t top it with anything at all and just dip it in the au jus.
Let’s get cooking! And then, get ready to load up soft, chewy rolls with vegan seitan Italian beef, add an extra bit of the rich broth, top it generously with giardiniera (or not!), and most of all, enjoy!
Check out more UVK recipes, like Broccoli Pasta Salad with Fresh Italian Herb Dressing, Seitan Beef Stew, Zucchini and Tofu Ricotta Calzones, Italian Tempeh with Peppers, Onions and Herbed Farro or Vegan Green Bean Casserole.
Slow Cooker Vegan Italian Beef
1 medium onion, thinly sliced into crescents
10 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil (OR 2 Tbsp oil from the giardiniera)
¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
3 cups water
1 ½ Tbsp red miso
14 ounce can of young jackfruit packed in water, drained and shredded (I used Native Forest Young Jackfruit)
1 lb of thinly sliced seitan (OR two 8 ounce packages of seitan, thinly sliced – I like Upton’s Naturals Traditional Seitan or make your own seitan and slice it thinly)
16 ounce jar of giardiniera (hot or mild) packed in oil, to top (see note above)
8 hoagie buns
1. You’re going to start by making delicious vegan Italian beef au jus. In a large, heavy pot or dutch oven, add onions, garlic, black pepper, and oil. Sauté over medium-low heat until the onions are translucent or for ~7 minutes.
2. Add reduced sodium soy sauce, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and onion powder. Sauté for another 3 minutes.
3. Add water and red miso. Simmer for 3 minutes, and then, taste the vegan Italian beef au jus. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Maybe more red pepper flakes? Maybe a little more soy sauce?
4. Add jackfruit and seitan to the slow cooker. Pour the entire contents of the pot or dutch oven over the jackfruit/seitan. Combine. Secure the lid on the slow cooker, and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours. Serve vegan Italian beef on soft, chewy rolls, drizzle with some au jus and top with giardiniera.