If you loved the Taiwanese dish Mongolian Beef before being vegan, you will love this vegan Mongolian beef recipe! Pair with steamed rice or crispy noodles for a complete meal!
If you ordered American Chinese cuisine often before being vegan, then you have likely had Mongolian beef or at least seen it on the menu. Today, we’re going to be giving you all the flavor of the traditional recipe in this vegan Mongolian beef recipe.
While traditionally in America, you can find this listed in all major Chinese restaurants, it was actually created in Taiwan. It first appeared when Mongolian barbecue restaurants rose in popularity in Taiwan. However, Mongolian barbecue was created by a Chinese chef, thus it’s actually Chinese inspired and that’s why you find it at American Chinese restaurant.
We are not claiming for this recipe to be authentic in any way, but more inspired by the flavors that we remember when we had it before.
Mongolian beef is traditionally made with sliced beef, usually a flank steak; however, we are going to be using soy curls for this recipe to have a similar shape and texture without much work.
What are soy curls?
Soy curls are literally just non-GMO soy beans. That is the only ingredient. It has been processed and formed into meat like pieces that are dehydrated. When ready to use them, you just rehydrate them in some form of liquid (water or stock). It is a great source of protein, zero cholesterol, and completely gluten free.
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Vegan Mongolian Beef INGREDIENTS:
Below are notes about the ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make this vegetarian Mongolian beef recipe:
- Soy curls – We are using soy curls in this recipe because of their meat like texture, but also because of their neutral flavor and ability to soak up any flavor
- Vegetable Stock – many people use water to rehydrate soy curls; however, we want to immediately start getting flavor into this dish which is why we are using stock.
- Vegan Sugar – many Asian American dishes have a touch of sweetness added to them. It is meant to balance out flavors in dishes.
- Umami seasoning – umami seasoning or mushroom seasoning works to add in the flavor that you’d traditionally get from having beef in the dish without harming any animals
- Corn starch – we are using cornstarch to coat the soy curls in order to fry them
- Canola oil – used for frying and getting a crispy texture
For the Sauce:
- Fresh ginger and Garlic – We do not recommend subbing for powders or jarred/bottled products. Fresh is really best here.
- Soy Sauce – We use a low sodium here since we are adding a lot to make the base of our sauce
- Scallions – a main component of Mongolian beef is the scallions added to the dish towards the end. We are only added the green parts here. Add the white parts to a jar of water and they will regrow the green part.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS:
Red Pepper Flakes – Mongolian beef is not traditionally spicy; however, most Chinese American restaurants give the option to make spicy, so we are listing it as an option here.
- Soy curls – sub the soy for cauliflower, seitan, mushrooms, or any other main vegan component that you wish
- Vegetable Stock – we list vegetable stock because it is easy to find; however, if you can find vegan beef stock it would be even better.
- Vegan Sugar – you can omit the sugar here if desired, but we don’t recommend omitting all the sugar both here and in the sauce
- Umami seasoning – there are a variety of umami and mushroom seasonings/powders now on the market and they should be easy to find
- Corn starch – can be subbed with tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
- Canola oil – any high heat oil can be subbed. See notes below if wanting to make oil free
We don’t recommend any other substitutions for this dish.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Soy curls are the base of our dish here, but you can do the same sauce with mushrooms, chickpeas, cauliflower or broccoli, and more!
For the soy sauce, you can easily swap with coconut aminos. You can also use tamari sauce if you need something gluten free. Or a soy free soy sauce.
Yes! You can make this and reheat up to 3-5 days later. Let cool completely and then store in an air tight container in your refrigerator.
In order to reheat you can do for 30 seconds at a time in a microwave until desired temperature or you can place back into a skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until heated throughout.
We highly recommend making the recipe as written; however, you could air fry the soy curls instead. When making the sauce, replace the 2 tbsp of oil requested to be left in the skillet with more stock. Making these swaps will cause the final dish to be different in both taste and texture but if you are used to an oil free meal, then you likely won’t mind.
WHAT ARE OTHER VEGAN DINNER IDEAS I WOULD LIKE?
If you like the flavors of this dish, then you will also love our:
- Chickpea, cashew and broccoli dish in garlic sauce skillet.
- Vegan Kung Pao Cauliflower
- Vegan Walnut Meat Cheese Fries
- Vegan Sesame Tofu
- Garlic Soy Lime Tofu
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Vegan Mongolian Beef
For the Vegan Meat
- In a large bowl, add in vegetable stock, rice wine vinegar, mushroom seasoning, and vegan cane sugar. Stir together well. Add in soy curls and toss to combine. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to rehydrate soy curls, stirring 2-3 times while waiting.
- Drain any excess liquid after 15 minutes from the bowl. Add cornstarch and shake until all the pieces are well coated (can also do this in a sealable bag).
- Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high. Shake off excess cornstarch and add the curls to the oil in a single layer. Do not overcrowd pan, work in batches if needed. Cook 3-4 minutes until crispy, turning to cook each side evenly. Remove from pan, set aside.
- Remove all but 2 tbsp of oil. Reduce heat to medium. Add in ginger and garlic and saute for 15 seconds.
- Add in water, soy sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes (if adding). Let come to a boil and thicken. If you find it isn't thickening enough add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir to dissolve the cornstarch and add it to the pan.
- Add the cooked soy curls back in and stir together. Let cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Stirring often so the sauce doesn't burn.
- Add the green onions, stir to combine everything, and cook for a final 20-30 seconds.
- Remove and serve over rice or crispy rice noodles. Top with sesame seeds and more green onions if desired.