If you want to enjoy a hearty bowl of cholent without the meat, this Vegetarian Cholent is the answer. Cholent is a savory, slow-cooked Jewish meal invented because cooking is not allowed on Shabbat.
The solution was to prepare this dish the night before and slowly simmer it overnight so you can enjoy a warm meal the next day without having to cook. Trust me, it's worth the extra time to make!
Note: You can easily make this meal vegan by omitting the eggs.
Fun fact, the Yiddish word for cholent is 'Schalet'. You will also hear it pronounced as 'Tzunt' or 'Choont'.
Why this Recipe Works
While a classic cholent has meat, potatoes, and beans. This vegetarian option removes the meat but sacrifices none of the great flavor.
The method of slow cooking the stew gradually infuses the spices and bouillon, plus it cooks the eggs to the perfect hard-boiled consistency.
Soaking the beans overnight before cooking helps soften them, improving the texture and reducing the time it will take them to cook. The beans do a great job of absorbing flavor and adding bulk to this dish.
The potatoes add a starchiness that is absorbed wonderfully by the beans, yielding a great, not-watery texture.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Beans – I use a combination of red beans, navy beans, and cranberry beans but you could also use pinto beans, or white beans. I do not recommend using kidney beans as you should not cook those slowly.
Onion – Yellow or white onion will work.
Potatoes – smaller red potatoes work really well, but you could use Yukon gold.
Barley – You could also use pearl barley or farro.
Cumin, turmeric, and paprika - Use dried powdered spices. These are warming spices that release more flavor and fragrance when heated.
How to Make this Recipe
In order to prep this dish, soak all three bean types in cold water overnight with plenty of extra water in the bowl.
Anytime the next day, cook the diced onion in 2 tablespoons of flavorless oil over medium heat until they turn translucent. Then add in your spices: cumin, paprika, turmeric, and salt. Cook them with the onion until they are fragrant. This only takes about 30 seconds.
Drain the soaked beans and add them to the onions and spices. Give the whole thing a stir to incorporate. Next, add the water and bouillon. Mix to help dissolve the bouillon.
Then, add in the small whole, medium halved, or large quartered potatoes and washed whole eggs. Bring the cholent to a light simmer.
Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover the dish, and cook the cholent for a minimum of 7 hours. I like to cook it for the 7 hours, turn it off, and finish cooking it the next day.
Important note: Regularly check on the water level and add more in if you need it. Also, skim the surface to remove the foam and scum. This helps the beans cook, is thought to help with gas during digestion, and removes any potential unpleasant flavors.
After the minimum 7 hours have passed, add in the barley and cook everything for 1 more hour.
Serve a bowl with a peeled egg right on top and enjoy!
Cholent is a traditional Jewish stew usually made on Friday afternoons and cooked slowly overnight before Shabbat, as cooking is not allowed on the Sabbath.
Cholent takes a minimum of 8 hours from start to finish to cook. It's a long cook time, but worth it as cholent only gets better with time.
You should consume the cooked cholent within 2-3 days of making the dish, or you can freeze it for enjoyment at a later time.
The best thing to do is to keep the temperature very low and monitor the cholent and add water as necessary if you feel it is becoming too dry.
Cholent is usually made with beef, sausage, or beef stew meat. You need a beef that becomes more and more tender over a long cook time.
Continue to explore the variety of Jewish cooking with these delicious, classic dishes.
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- ½ cup Red beans dry
- ½ cup Navy beans dry
- 1 cup Cranberry beans dry
- 2 tablespoon oil flavorless like canola, avocado, vegetable, sunflower seed
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
- ½ Paprika
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons Vegetable bouillon
- 1 lb. Red Potatoes large ones cut in half or quartered
- 6 eggs washed with soap and water
- ½ cup Pearl barley
- Soak the beans in cold water overnight.
- Cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until translucent.
- Add the cumin, paprika, turmeric, and salt. Cook until fragrant, ~30 seconds.
- Add the drained beans. Give it a stir.
- Add the water and bouillon. Mix to dissolve.
- Add the potatoes and eggs. Bring it to a light simmer, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for a minimum of 7 hours. Half-way through, skim off the foam from the surface. Monitor the water level and add more, if necessary.
- Add the barley and cook for 1 more hour.