This post may feature affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Carne en su jugo (or meat in its own juice) is a hearty Mexican stew that is flavorful, filling, and complex. Try this plant-based version made with mushrooms and jackfruit for an equally delicious meal.
Table of Contents
Fill your belly with a healthy, tasty, and simple-to-make stew made from fresh ingredients. Heads up — you’re going to want to bookmark it for later!
What is carne en su jugo?
Carne en su jugo is a popular dish within the confines of Mexico, so you may not be familiar with it (we certainly weren’t before moving here).
Along with recipes like birria, tortas ahogadas, or pozole, carne en su jugo originated in the state of Jalisco. This savoury, tangy, and complex dish is composed of three main parts:
- Meat: Usually sirloin and bacon are used.
- Tomatillos: The broth is filled with a tomatillo-based salsa.
- Pinto beans: Hearty and creamy beans add flavor to each bite.
Once the stew is done simmering, fresh toppings like cilantro, onions, radishes, and avocado may be added. As with many other meals, carne en su jugo goes well with a side of corn tortillas.
Since we see this dish a lot where we live, we really wanted to try a plant-based option that would rival meat-based recipes. While it may not be traditional, one thing is for sure — you need to try this one!
Is carne en su jugo vegan?
Unfortunately, carne en su jugo is one of the least vegan or vegetarian-friendly recipes we’ve come across.
But, since this dish incorporates many complex flavors, we thought it would be a good challenge to come up with a plant-based version.
Instead of beef and bacon, we used jackfruit and shiitake mushrooms to emulate the meaty texture and umami flavors found in the original.
We also added Better Than Boullion “No Beef” base in order to flavor the broth and mimic a meat-based carne en su jugo.
Unlike many pre-Hispanic recipes that you may be familiar with, carne en su jugo is a relatively new dish.
Many food historians claim the stew originally came out of Guadalajara in the 1950s-1960s. Some are more specific still, claiming the exact year to be 1967.
There is even a man, Roberto de la Torre, that has been credited as the creator. He owns and operates restaurants specializing in the dish.
Regardless of the exact time and place, this Mexican stew has quickly become prized as a hangover cure. It’s eaten to jump-start the morning after a night out on the town.
Here are a few tips in order to make the most out of serving your carne en su jugo:
- This stew is best served hot right out of the pot.
- Add beans to the bowl first, then ladle on the stew.
- Garnish with onions, cilantro, radishes, and lime juice.
- Dip in freshly made corn tortillas for a filling and flavorful addition.
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
- Jackfruit: Jackfruit is an excellent meat replacement when it comes to beef or chicken. In this recipe, it emulates the texture.
- Shiitake mushrooms: We use mushroom “bacon” for the chewy texture and savoury, umami flavors found in meat. As an added bonus, shiitake mushrooms are rich in vitamin B, antioxidants, and potassium!
- Tamari: To help give the mushrooms more salty, savoury, and umami flavors.
- Better Than Bouillon “No Beef” base: This is the best vegan beef broth replacement we’ve come across, providing more intense flavors than other vegetable broths.
- Tomatillos: Although not in every recipe, our preferred version of carne en su jugo includes a tomatillo salsa, which adds tangy, zesty, and bright flavors.
- Mexican oregano, cumin: Mexican oregano adds citrus flavors and cumin adds an earthy element, both which complement the soup nicely.
- Cilantro: For a fresh, herbacous flavor in the salsa. It can be omitted if you don’t like the taste of this herb.
- Garlic, onion, jalapeño: All three are key components in the salsa and broth, giving it a spicy, fragrant, and savoury taste.
- Pinto beans: Traditionally found in carne en su jugo for texture, flavor, and extra protein. You can also use other varieties like bayo or black beans.
- Salt, pepper: To enhance the other flavors and add a little kick to the stew.
If you have questions about this vegan carne en su jugo recipe, don’t forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms to the sheet and toss with olive oil and tamari until well coated. Spread out and bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway.
Step 2: Add the jackfruit to a stockpot of water with a clove of garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to rehydrate it.
Step 3: Add tomatillos, onions, and chiles to a saucepan of water. Bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatillos just turn color.
Step 4: Transfer to a blender with the cilantro, garlic, Mexican oregano, and a pinch of salt. Mix on high until smooth, then set the salsa verde aside.
Step 5: Drain the jackfruit, then heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same stockpot. Add the jackfruit back in back in and sauté until lightly browning.
Step 6: Pour in ½ cup of Better Than Bouillon “No Beef” base and 1 teaspoon of cumin and cook it for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the tomatillo salsa and the rest of the No Beef broth.
Step 7: Cover and bring the mixture to a light boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes to bring the flavors together. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking, then remove it from heat.
Step 8: Serve your stew overtop pinto beans with a topping of mushroom “bacon,” cilantro, onions, radishes, lime wedges, and a side of warm corn tortillas. Happy eating!
If you like recipes that make great leftovers, you’ll enjoy making carne en su jugo. Follow these storage tips to keep everything fresh.
To store, make sure the stew cools completely before transferring it into an airtight container (we always recommend glass containers). It should last like this for about 4-5 days in the fridge.
Note: Make sure the beans and garnishes are stored separately from the soup.
Again, make sure your carne en su jugo recipe has cooled completely, then freeze it in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 6 months.
If it’s frozen, thaw your stew overnight in the fridge. Then, add it to a pot on the stovetop and heat it over medium-low until it’s warmed all the way through.
In the meantime, cut more fresh garnishes so they’ll be ready when the stew is finished.
💭 Tips & variations
We’d like to share some tips and variations we learned while experimenting with this making a vegan carne en su jugo recipe:
- Skip the jackfruit. If you don’t like jackfruit (or don’t have access to it), try other vegan meat replacements like seitan, tofu, tempeh, etc.
- Use vegetable broth. Although you won’t achieve the exact flavor, vegetable broth also works in this recipe.
- Omit the salsa. Carne en su jugo can be served with or without the tomatillo salsa. Skip it if you don’t have the ingredients or don’t like the flavors.
- Use black beans. If you prefer to use another bean, try bayo, black beans, or even chickpeas instead of pinto.
- Don’t forget the garnishes. The garnishes are what really take this dish to another level. We suggest you don’t skimp out on them!
🍴 Tasting notes
We really enjoyed making and eating this plant-based version of carne en su jugo, and we have a feeling you will too! It’s:
If you try making this vegan carne en su jugo 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 Carne en su Jugo
- Baking sheet
- Large stockpot
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced ($0.91)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided ($0.22)
- 1 ½ tablespoons tamari ($0.24)
- 3 ½ ounces dehydrated jackfruit ($2.24)
- 1 clove garlic ($0.04)
- 5 cups Better Than Bouillon "No Beef" base ($1.65)
- 1 teaspoon cumin ($0.01)
- Salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)
- 8 tomatillos, husks removed ($0.90)
- 1 small white onion, quartered ($0.24)
- 1 jalapeño or serrano chile ($0.04)
- ½ cup cilantro, tightly packed ($0.10)
- 3 cloves garlic ($0.08)
- ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano ($0.01)
- Salt to taste ($0.01)
For serving optional
- Cooked pinto or bayo beans
- Chopped cilantro
- Diced white onions
- Sliced radishes
- lime wedges
- Corn tortillas
Mushrooms & Jackfruit
- Preheat your oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms to the sheet and toss with olive oil and tamari until well coated. Spread out and bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Add the jackfruit to a stockpot of water with a clove of garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to rehydrate it.
- Add tomatillos, onions, and chiles to a saucepan of water. Bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatillos just turn color.
- Transfer to a blender with the cilantro, garlic, Mexican oregano, and a pinch of salt. Mix on high until smooth. Set aside.
- Drain the jackfruit, then heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same stockpot. Add the jackfruit back in back in and sauté until lightly browning. Pour in ½ cup Better Than Bouillon "No Beef" base and 1 teaspoon of cumin, cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the tomatillo salsa and the rest of the No Beef base. Cover and bring the mixture to a light boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes to bring the flavors together. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking, then remove from heat.
- Serve your stew overtop pinto beans with a garnish of mushroom “bacon," cilantro, diced onions, radishes, lime wedges, and a side of warm corn tortillas. Happy eating!
- The weight of the rehydrated jackfruit is 700 grams for reference if you use canned or fresh jackfruit.
- 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 Mexican soup and stew recipes, check out some of our favorites like:
- Lentejas for a hearty, healthy, and tasty Mexican lentil soup that’s filled with plant-based protein.
- Fava bean soup to try fiber-rich fava beans surrounded by fresh vegetables and a zesty broth.
- Caldo de albóndigas for a plant-based version of Mexican meatball soup made with black beans instead.
- Pozole verde to try this classic Mexican soup made with jackfruit, hominy, and a tangy green broth. Just don’t forget the toppings!
Yes, if you don’t have dehydrated jackfruit, you can use canned or fresh. Just make sure it’s young green jackfruit. Once rehydrated, the total weight of jackfruit in this recipe equals about 700 grams.
This version of carne en su jugo is not very spicy. However, there are many variations of this recipe that can be made mild or hot. It’s a personal preference!
Typically, carne en su jugo does not contain gluten. In our recipe, we use tamari, which is considered gluten-free. But, if you replace it with soy sauce or other products, just check the labels.