The Happy Home Cook: Vegan Mechado

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Vegan Mechado (Photo courtesy of Astig Vegan)

Vegan Mechado (Photo courtesy of Astig Vegan)

Astig Vegan's Richgail Enriquez takes on the popular Filipino dish, Mechado, and provides a vegan alternative.

This recipe was originally published in 

Yes, the time has come to do a Vegan Mechado Recipe, a vegan version of the Filipino meat and potato stew also known as Mechado. But, this is not just any Mechado, this is my mom’s Mechado.

My mom would always get requests to cook this for family gatherings as no one else could cook it like her. I was lucky enough to achieve the same taste without the meat.

This vegan Mechado even has a bite because it uses wheat gluten. If you are allergic to gluten, feel free to use tofu or tempeh. Otherwise, wheat gluten will be the best option for this dish.

Serves 4-6


  • 1 block of plain, unseasoned wheat gluten (10 oz., available at Asian grocery stores), cut into chunks

  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil

  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed

  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 1 3/4 cup of tomato sauce

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted

  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. muscavado sugar

Vegan Mechado (Photo courtesy of Astig Vegan)

Vegan Mechado (Photo courtesy of Astig Vegan)


  1. Make sure the wheat gluten you’ve bought is firm and dense. Usually, the edges will be a soft and tender. If so, cut out these edges and only use the firm, middle part. Cut the firm part into big chunks and bake them with no oil at 375 degrees in the oven-this baking trick is credited to my vegan Filipina friend, Myrtle of NYC (she will have exciting news soon!). Bake for about 20 minutes or until the gluten is toasted and crunchy.

  2. Meanwhile, using a medium pan, saute the garlic in oil until fragrant. Follow with onions and tomatoes. Mix and wait until the mixture is soft and tender.

  3. Add the potatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and soy sauce. Mix well. Cover the pot and simmer for at least 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

  4. Once the potatoes are soft, drop the carrots and wheat gluten.

  5. Now it’s time to season. Pour the refined coconut oil, sprinkle the sea salt, and mix in the muscavado sugar. The traditional version does not use sugar or sea salt, but I’m using those to substitute the fish sauce or patis, which is known to give a savory, slightly sweet taste to the Mechado. Adjust any of these three (oil, salt, sugar) based on what tastes good to you. Just make sure it’s more savory than sweet. You do not want to put a lot of sugar, just a little to give a mild sweet flavor.

  6. Simmer for at least five minutes or until boiling. Add more water if the sauce dries up, just make sure to adjust the seasoning again when you add water.

  7. Turn off the heat and serve hot with rice on the side.

When you could veganize a meat and potato stew, it would be very difficult to go back to the meat version. Vegan Mechado will definitely satisfy and fill you up without the guilt.

With the help of wheat gluten for texture, tomato sauce and vegetable saute for flavor, and coco oil-salt-sugar combo for the “meat” fattiness and flavor, Vegan Mechado is truly possible and delicious. Kain na, let’s eat!