The national dish of Cuba. Vegan Ropa Vieja is a richly spiced dish of shredded king oyster mushrooms, onions and bell peppers in a delicious tomato sauce.
A flavoursome and hearty Cuban dish that originated in Spain. This dish is traditionally made with shredded beef and vegetables resembling colourful shredded old clothes, which is where the dish gets its name. Ropa Vieja is Spanish for ‘old clothes’. Our recipe uses king oyster mushrooms which work perfectly to resemble the texture of the dish without losing any of the umami flavours. King oyster mushrooms shred up perfectly with a fork before cooking.
Ingredients of note
The king oyster mushrooms are the star of the dish and perfectly mimic the texture of Ropa Vieja. Depending on where in the world you are they could be called king trumpet or eryngii mushrooms. Up until quite recently, these have been quite hard to find. Only really being available to me in my local Asian market. However, they are now widely available in Tesco locally which is a major supermarket in the UK.
If you can’t find these mushrooms then you could still make Vegan Ropa Vieja with other mushrooms or a shredded vegan meat alternative. If using other mushrooms I would suggest using portobello mushrooms. Cooking them and pressing them as I do in the Vegan Bulgogi recipe. Slicing them into 1cm strips rather than the 2cm strips stated in that recipe. This would get you closest to the texture of the king oyster mushrooms.
Serving Vegan Ropa Vieja
Ropa Vieja is typically served with rice and Frijoles Negros and that’s how we ate it. Its also usually served with sweet fried plantains. However, plantains have been impossible to find where I live for the past couple of years.
After making Ropa Vieja a few times I noticed that the flavours got better when eating leftovers the following day. Consider making a double batch of it and having it in the fridge for later in the week.
Vegan Ropa Vieja with King Oyster Mushrooms
- 4 king oyster mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large Spanish sweet white onions * thinly sliced
- 3 bell peppers red and yellow, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ cup dry white wine*
- 1 cup vegetable bullion
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 2 bay leaves
- 100 g pimento stuffed olives halved
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons Parsley chopped
- Preheat an oven to 200°C (180°C Fan), line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Shred the king oyster mushrooms by pressing a fork into the thick stem of the mushrooms and running it down the side. Pull apart the created shreds of mushroom. The caps can be sliced to the same thickness as the strips.
- Add the mushrooms to the lined tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt to taste. Mix to fully coat the mushrooms.
- Roast the mushrooms for 25 minutes or until crispy around the edges, flipping halfway. Remove from the oven and set aside until later.
- Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the sliced onions and peppers with a pinch of salt. Saute until the onions and peppers are soft and starting brown, around 20 minutes.
- To the pan add the 6 cloves of minced garlic with the remaining spices, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 tablespoon paprika and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Mix to coat the vegetables and continue to cook for 1 minute.
- Now add the wine and cook until most of the liquid has cooked off. Around 5 minutes.
- Add the roast mushrooms, bullion, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves, mix to combine. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for around 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. If you want the sauce to be thicker continue to cook, the flavours will only get better.
- Finally, add the olives, and 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, parsley and check for seasoning. Remove from the heat and serve Vegan Ropa Vieja with rice and frijoles.