Tastes of Brazil:  Moqueca Stew, Vegan Style

Ahh, Brazil!

I love so many things about it.

But not surprisingly, one of my favorite things about spending time in Brazil is eating.

Brazilian cuisine is famously rich, hearty and flavorful.

There are so many delectable dishes to explore.

We loved strolling the magical, cobble-stoned streets of Salvador, Bahia– following our

noses into colorful cafes in search of tasty bites.

Tastes of Brazil: Moqueca Stew, Vegan Style

Of course, we couldn’t leave Bahia, Brazil without sitting down to a sizzling hot bowl of moqueca.

Moqueca is a Brazilian recipe based on salt water fish stew in coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, garlic,

coriander and some palm oil (dendê) which is slowly cooked in a terra cotta casserole.

Brazilians have been making moqueca for several centuries.

Originally from the states of Bahia in the Northeast–also coming from Espírito Santo in the Southeast

of Brazil–moqueca is now generally prepared in two distinct styles: moqueca bahiana from Bahia

and moqueca capixaba from Espírito Santo.

Traditionally served as a fish stew typical of Bahia, this vegan adaptation is prepared with coconut

milk and coconut or olive oil, instead of the traditional palm oil.

For my vegan adaptation, I replaced the fish with chunky, chewy portabello mushrooms, carrots,

potatoes and celery.

When we ordered it in Bahia, our moqueca was served with rice, farofa de dendê, and fried plantains.

I’d swear Bahians put farofa on everything–but it has been an acquired taste for me.

When preparing moqueca, palm oil (dende oil) adds an authentic flavor to this dish.

If you wish to use palm oil, you can find palm oil at Brazilian markets and online.

Brazilian Moqueca Stew, Vegan Style

Tastes of Brazil: Moqueca Stew, Vegan Style


1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
3 large portabella mushrooms – washed and sliced into chunks
5 carrots – washed and sliced into chunks
5 potatoes – washed and sliced into chunks
4 ribs celery – washed and sliced into smaller chunks
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 green pepper, sliced thinly
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 tomatoes, sliced thinly
4-5 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 – 1 teaspoon chile pepper (or to taste)
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
3 tablespoons coconut or olive oil — or palm oil, if desired

Tastes of Brazil:  Moqueca Stew, Vegan Style


Add the lime juice, salt, ground pepper, and minced garlic together.

Marinate mushrooms in this mixture for 1 to 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan.

Layer 1/2 of the peppers, tomatoes, and onions over the bottom of the pan.

Cover the vegetables with the portabello mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, celery as well as

the marinade.

Layer the rest of the peppers, onions and tomatoes on top.

Sprinkle with the chopped green onions and half of the chopped cilantro.

Whisk the paprika, coriander and chile pepper into the coconut milk, and pour this

mixture over the vegetables.

Drizzle the vegetables with the palm oil, if desired.

Bring this mixture to a boil, and simmer gently, covered, for 15 minutes.

Uncover and simmer for 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the stew.

To be true to Brazilian tradition, serve this rich, hearty, spicy stew served with rice,

farofa de dende, which is toasted manioc meal to us, as well as fried plantains.

Tastes of Brazil:  Moqueca Stew, Vegan Style

I chose to pair my delicious moqueca stew with whole grain brown rice at home

and sprinkled it with lightly toasted sesame seeds.


What are your favorite Brazilian dishes?

Have you adapted them to suit your plant-based diet.

Share you thoughts and comments with us.

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