Vegan Kitchen
Welsh Vegan Cawl | Recipe And Tutorial

How to make Cowl. A traditional Welsh Recipe. Enjoy one of my favourite traditional Welsh dishes on a plant-based diet with this comforting Vegan Cawl recipe.

What is Cawl?

Cawl is a popular Welsh stew made from bacon, Welsh lamb or beef, cabbage, and leeks, although using cheaper cuts of meat is also traditional.

Traditional Welsh recipes for cawl vary from region to region, even season to season.

My little eco warrior son had to make a traditional Welsh dish for his Eisteddfod in school (The National Eisteddfod is a celebration of the culture and language in Wales.)

He decided on a bowl of Welsh cawl for his main dish, with a dragon shaped bread loaf to go with it and some Welsh cakes for dessert. They were all simple vegetarian cowl recipes and the three dishes took us a little over 2 hours in total.

Mother of Grom - Vegan Cowl, Welsh Bread and Welsh Cakes
Mother of Grom - Celebrating Eisteddford with Vegan Welsh Cowl, Welsh Dragon Bread and Vegan Welsh Cakes.
Cawl - So much more than a stew. Traditional Welsh Dishes don't come more comforting.

This Welsh cawl recipe is from a gorgeous vegan chef Sarah Philpott and her book The Occasional Vegan. It's super tasty, nutritious and comforting - Perfect for returning back to from those chilly Spring walks.


For the tofu

  • 1 x 400g block firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp Marmite
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder – 100ml boiling water

For the cawl

  • 50g pearl barley
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 large potatoes, quartered (or 2-3 baby new potatoes, halved) – 1 large leek, finely sliced
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 small swede, peeled and chopped into medium-sized chunks – 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper

Mother of Grom - Vegan Cowl Veg Prep
Mother of Grom - Vegan Cowl Veg Prep !


1. Take the tofu and use kitchen roll or a clean tea towel to blot and absorb all its water. Take two heavy wooden chopping boards and place on either side of the block to ‘press’ it and absorb excess moisture. If you can, put something heavy, like a hardback book, on top of the chopping board to weigh it down further. Leave for at least 30 minutes then slice into medium-sized chunks.

2. Now, make your marinade by mixing together the Marmite, stock powder and water. Pour into a large dish, then coat both sides of the tofu strips with the mixture and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or longer if you can.

3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan over a medium heat and fry the onions for five minutes. Add all the other ingredients apart from the tofu and leeks and pour over the hot stock. Season with salt and pepper, then bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. While the soup is still simmering, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the tofu for 10 minutes, until brown, turning every so often.

5. Pour the leftover marinade into the pot with the cawl and when it’s been cooking for 25 minutes, add the fried tofu and leeks and cook for another 15-20 minutes and add more stock if needed. When it’s cooked, remove the bay leaves and thyme and serve with crusty bread.

Mother of Grom - Vegan Cowl
Mother of Grom - Vegan Cowl Served and Ready to Eat !

So there you have Cawl. The traditional dish. So easy to do meat free (lamb cowl is so yesterday ;-) The vegan cowl was a hit. It is wonderfully comforting and best made the day before serving (in my opinion anyway!)

Mother of Grom - Vegan Cowl Served and Ready to Eat !
Mother of Grom - Vegan Welsh Cowl Served and Ready to Eat !

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Mother of Grom - Blog - Author
MoG x
Mother. Blogger. Maker. Baker.

Queen of the Sandals and Breaker of Paper Chains.