Slow Cooker Vegan Italian Beef

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 giadiniera.

This vegan Italian beef recipe combines shredded young jackfruit and thinly sliced seitan to create an unforgettable texture. Together, they are magical. The au jus is loaded with red miso, reduced sodium soy sauce, onions, garlic, and Italian herbs and spices. I’m psyched for you to try it loaded up on a hoagie bun or roll!

On the U.S.’s West Coast, I have had a hard time finding hot giardiniera. If push comes to shove, I would recommend going online to order it, or making your own from scratch.

You can also opt for mild giardiniera. It is much easier to find at most grocery stores in the U.S., regardless of coast. It isn’t Chicago-style, and it isn’t the same as the hot stuff, but it is still good.

Whether using hot or mild giardiniera, I prefer it packed in oil, rather than packed in water and vinegar. Nevertheless, either variety will work for this vegan Italian beef recipe.

If you aren’t into giardiniera, you can still make this recipe. Some people like Italian beef topped with pepperoncini. Other people don’t top it with anything at all. It’s all a matter of preference, but I am of the school that the condiment adds something to the mix.

So, load up a hoagie bun with vegan Italian beef, add an extra bit of broth, top it generously with giardiniera, and enjoy!

Vegan Italian Beef Sandwiches
Can’t wait for you to try this vegan Italian beef sandwich recipe

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 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

Vegetarian Italian Beef Recipe

1. 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. Add reduced sodium soy sauce, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and onion powder. Sauté for another 3 minutes.

Vegan Italian Beef Au Jus

2. Add water and red miso. Simmer for 3 minutes, and then, taste. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Maybe more red pepper flakes? Maybe a little more soy sauce?

Vegan Italian Beef Chicago

3. Add jackfruit and seitan to the slow cooker. Pour of 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 on hoagie buns, and top with giardiniera.

Vegan Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe
It might just be the best vegan Italian beef recipe!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Brittany says:

    We have only green miso powder (with seaweed) where I am. Can I use that? If not, anything else I can use in place of it? Also, can I use Bragg’s aminos in place of soy sauce?

    1. Ugly Vegan Kitchen says:

      No matter what, if you make any substitution, it will not taste the same as the recipe listed above. You will end up with something different. Having not tested these substitutions myself, it might taste good or it might taste bad. Keep this in mind while reading my best guesses below…
      I am unfamiliar with green miso powder with seaweed, so I hesitate to tell you if it will work. I would recommend using fake beef bouillon. If you are located in the U.S., Edward and Sons Bouillon Cubes or Better Than Bouillon are both good varieties. I would add 1 1/2 tsp bouillon, instead of the 1 1/2 Tbsp for red miso. If it doesn’t taste strong enough, add a little bit more. Bouillon can be quite salty and concentrated, so you’ll want to use it less liberally than you would red miso. If you can’t find miso or fake beef bouillon, my third choice is vegetable bouillon. I don’t think it would be as good as the original recipe. I don’t think it would be as good as fake beef bouillon, but it might still taste ok. Bragg’s aminos don’t taste the same as reduced sodium soy sauce. Using them will change the way the flavors work together, but it might not be bad, per se.
      You’ll have to report back on how these adjustments impacted the overall dish, because it is a departure from the original recipe. Good luck!

      1. Brittany says:

        I did complete this recipe and I must say, it was fantastic. It was a little on the saltier side because I had to adjust the flavors due to no green miso, so I will adjust next time using less veggie boullion. I may leave out the seitan as well as I like the jackfruit texture and natural ingredients better. Thank you for this recipe! It was FABULOUS!

      2. Thanks for sharing how it went. I’m so glad to hear that it worked out well for you! 🙂

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