Caldo de res (or Mexican vegetable beef soup) is a warming, hearty, and comforting dish that hits the spot when the weather is cool. Come see how easy it is to make a plant-based version. You won't believe how delicious it tastes!
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It's always a good idea to know a tasty soup recipe like this one. As you'll soon see, caldo de res is hearty, healthy, full of flavor, and extremely easy to veganize!
What is caldo de res?
Caldo de res is a hearty Mexican soup made from bone broth and vegetables. It's also known by a few other names like sopa de res, puchero, or cocido.
As with most recipes, there are all sorts of variations depending on where you are in the world or who is preparing it. In general, most recipes include the following:
- Beef and bones
- Fresh vegetables
- Savoury broth
Of course, if you're reading our blog, you probably know we enjoy making plant-based versions of traditionally meat-based foods.
Call us crazy, but we believe it is possible to emulate the rich and savoury flavors of beef soup without the need for meat!
In our no-beef version, we like to include a variety of hearty vegetables like corn, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and zucchini. But, this soup is great for using up leftovers or in-season vegetables.
Is caldo de res vegan?
As we said, a traditional caldo de res is made with beef. But, you wouldn't believe how quick and easy it is to make plant-based!
We swapped out the bones and beef for vegan beef chunks (for texture), and we used Better than Bouillon "No Beef" base to provide umami, "meat-like" flavors.
Caldo de res is a common meal served in Latin American countries and the Philippines — likely due to Spanish influence during colonial times.
It is similar to puchero, which traditionally comes from Spain and is essentially made up of bone, meats, and vegetables. The word "puchero" means "earthenware," which used to be in reference to a cooking vessel but now refers to the actual dish.
Another Spanish and Portuguese dish, called cocido, involves similar ingredients and cooking methods. The name cocido comes from the Spanish verb cocer, meaning "boiled" or "cooked."
As you can imagine, these types of soups are prepared in a wide variety of ways (depending on the region). Some even include ingredients like plantains, garbanzos, or sweet potatoes. The options are endless!
To serve caldo de res, distribute the vegetables evenly followed by broth. We usually add the vegan beef chunks separately because the texture changes once they have sat in the broth.
As for garnishes, keep it simple! A squeeze of lime and some hot sauce is all this sopa de res needs. But to be honest, we like it just the way it is!
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
- Vegan beef chunks: We use Plant Squad "molida sin res" for this recipe, but you can use any brand you want. Brown the "beef" chunks to add more flavor to the soup.
- Better Than Bouillon "No Beef" base: "No beef" base adds umami flavor to this vegan caldo de res. Vegetable broth also works if that's what you have available.
- Onion, garlic: Both add savoury flavors to the broth.
- Cilantro: To give an herbaceous, zesty flavor to the recipe.
- Corn: For sweetness and texture, plus it soaks up the broth extremely well.
- Potatoes: To add a creamy and hearty texture. Use white or Yukon Gold potatoes and leave the skins on.
- Carrots: For a crunchy, sweet element. Carrots contain beneficial health properties, including being high in vitamin A.
- Celery: For their savoury, earthy flavors and crisp texture.
- Cabbage: To add bulk and flavor to the sopa de res. Green cabbage is best, but you can also use red cabbage.
- Zucchini: A common vegetable found in caldo de res to add texture. You can use any summer squash variety that's available near you.
- Salt, pepper: Used to enhance the other flavors and add a subtle bite.
If you have questions about this vegan caldo de res recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Form the vegan ground beef into bite-size chunks. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add in the chunks and let them brown on each side, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a separate dish.
Note: This part can be done in your stockpot, but it's best in a non-stick pan.
Step 2: Add the broth, quartered onions, garlic cloves, and cilantro sprigs to a large stockpot and bring it to a boil.
Step 3: Lower the heat to simmer and add the corn, potatoes, carrots, celery, and cabbage. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Step 4: With about 5 minutes remaining, add in the zucchini and continue simmering until all the vegetables are tender.
Step 5: Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Remove from heat and divide vegetables, broth, and vegan beef chunks between serving bowls.
Step 6: Top your sopa de res with hot sauce, lime wedges, and serve with a side of warm corn tortillas. Happy eating!
Not only is this plant-based cocido easy to make, but it's also the type of recipe that stores well. Your meal prep just got a little bit easier.
Note: Before storing this caldo de res, make sure it's completely cooled.
Once cooled, this vegan caldo de res should last in the fridge for up to 5 days as long as it's in an airtight container. We prefer glass containers since the flavors are best preserved in them.
You can store the beef chunks in the soup, but the texture will change quite a bit. We prefer keeping them separate and adding them on an individual basis.
Add single portions to freezer-safe bags or containers and your soup will last for 5-6 months in the freezer. When you're ready to eat it again, thaw it in the fridge overnight.
Transfer your cold cocido to a pot and heat it over medium-low, stirring frequently, until it's warmed all the way through. You can also heat it in a microwave in 2-minute bursts until hot (careful for hot spots).
💭 Tips & variations
We'd like to share some tips and variations we learned while experimenting with this vegan sopa de res:
- Keep the vegetables chunky. For a more rustic texture, we reccomend using larger chunks of vegetables. Plus, they will hold up better.
- Switch the vegetables. There's no rule on which vegetables you need to use, so choose your favorites.
- Use other meat replacements. Try using shiitake mushrooms, jackfruit, tempeh, chickpeas, or tofu to replace the beef chunks.
- Make it in advance. Since this recipe stores so well, it's a great option to meal prep ahead of a busy week.
- Make it spicy. If you'd prefer your cocido to be extra spicy, add in serrano or jalapeño peppers. You can also serve it with your favorite hot sauce.
🍴 Tasting notes
This plant-based caldo de res is one of the tastiest soups we've had the privilege of trying! It's:
If you try this vegan cocido recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Vegan Caldo de Res
- Knife & cutting board
- Large stockpot
- 1-2 tablespoons oil ($0.11)
- 12 ounces vegan ground beef ($5.60)
- 8 cups Better Than Bouillon "No Beef" base ($1.32)
- ½ small white onion, quartered ($0.12)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled ($0.12)
- 1 small handful cilantro ($0.05)
- 2 ears of corn, sliced into quarters ($1.70)
- 1 large white or Yukon gold potato, roughly cubed ($0.21)
- 2 large carrots, roughly chopped ($0.28)
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped ($0.10)
- ¼ small cabbage, roughly chopped ($0.05)
- 2 small zucchinis, roughly chopped ($0.30)
- Salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)
- Hot sauce
- Lime wedges
- Corn tortillas
- Form the vegan ground beef into bite-size chunks. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add in the chunks and let them brown on each side, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a separate dish.
- Add the broth, onions, garlic, and cilantro to a large stockpot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and add chopped corn, potatoes, carrots, celery, and cabbage. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- With about 5 minutes remaining, add in the zucchini and continue simmering until all the vegetables are tender.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Remove from heat and divide vegetables, broth, and vegan beef chunks between serving bowls. Top with hot sauce, lime wedges, and a side of warm corn tortillas. Happy eating!
- The brand we use for the vegan ground beef is Plant Squad, but you can use whatever brand you like.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty soups and stews like this sopa de res, check out our:
- Pozole verde to try a very traditional stew made with tender hominy and jackfruit "chicken" served in a green broth.
- Birria ramen for a fusion of Japanese and Mexican cuisine, combining the best components of ramen and birria to form one incredible recipe.
- Caldo de albóndigas to sink your teeth into plant-based meatballs covered in a rich, savoury broth.
Typically, caldo de res is gluten-free. However, the vegan beef chunks we use have gluten in them. If you want a vegan and gluten-free recipe, try tempeh, tofu, or another plant-based alternative without gluten.
Typical vegetables you'll find in caldo de res include potatoes, cabbage, zucchini, chayote, carrots, corn, onion, and garlic. But, feel free to use your favorite vegetables.