Learn how to make a vegan version of bistek Tagalog, a Filipino dish comprised of vegan beef cooked in a tangy marinade with sliced onions. It’s hearty, packed with flavor, and made with only a few simple ingredients.
Something that my mom and I have been doing to not only stay connected but to bring a sense of normalcy into our lives is having weekly cooking facetime chats. We plan out a recipe then make and enjoy it together on our call. Since I can’t be with her right now, this is the next best thing! We wanted to do something special for Mother’s Day this year and I thought what better to do than to veganize one of my mom’s favorite foods, Filipino Bistek.
My mom is from the Philippines and she, along with her sisters, make the best Filipino food in town! Since my mom and I are both now vegan, our recipe traditions have shifted a bit in the sense that we no longer eat animal products, but that doesn’t mean that we are no longer able to eat Filipino food! It has been a project of ours to veganize as many recipes as we can, and it has also been such a un project for the two of us to do together.
This recipe for today is a result of my mom and I working together to perfect it via facetime! It was one of the most interesting recipe creations we have put together since it was all done digitally but it was also so fun to do. We nailed this one and I can’t wait for you to try it out for yourself.
Filipino bistek is salty, tangy and very rich in flavor, yet it is made from very simple ingredients. It usually is made with calamansi, also known as calamondin or Philippine lime, which is a citrus fruit that is very popular in the Philippines and used in many dishes. Unfortunately, it is not accessible to me (or at least I have not yet found it) in my area, so I opted for the next best thing and more accessible fruits: lemons and oranges. Of course it is not going to taste 100% like calamansi, but I tried my best!
My mom actually tested this with calamansi since she has a tree in her garden, so I added notes to the recipe in case you want to try it.
Speaking of family, shoutout to Samsung for sponsoring today’s post with their smart Family Hub refrigerator! If you’re looking for a new fridge, look no further. This one is bad ass and gives me so much more than I would have ever expected I needed from a fridge. It has the capability of creating shopping lists, keeping track of expiration dates, giving us a digital view of our refrigerator at all times, and most importantly the ability to store our produce and food optimally.
We have a whole blog post where we talk about the best ways to store produce here. If you want to get a full tour of our vegan fridge AND learn more about the unique features of this refrigerator, check out our previous fridge tour post 🙂
If you’re looking for more vegan filipino recipes, we’ve got you covered. Check these out:
Learn how to make a vegan version of bistek Tagalog, a Filipino dish comprised of vegan beef cooked in a tangy marinade with sliced onions. It’s hearty, packed with flavor and made with only a few simple ingredients.
2 cups boiling hot water
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon lemon juice (+ more as desired) *see notes
2 tablespoons orange juice (+ more as desired) *see notes
2 1/2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rings
Cooked brown or white rice, to serve
To a large bowl, add in the boiling hot water, lemon juice, orange juice, tamari, vegan beef bouillon, black pepper and garlic powder. Stir until uniform. Add in the soy curls and mix until well combined. Marinate for 1 hour, mixing every 20 minutes or so to ensure that the soy curls marinate evenly.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the soy curls (not the marinade) to the hot pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Keep the marinade in the bowl that you used to marinate the soy curls.
Add in 1/3 of the marinade (about 1/2 cup) and continue cooking until the liquid has cooked off, being sure to stir the mixture regularly so that the marinade is evenly distributed.
Add in another 1/3 of marinade and cook that through. Add in the last bit of marinade and cook for about 1 minute, or just until it is warmed through. Transfer the soy curl mixture back into the bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, add in 1 teaspoon of cooking oil along with the sliced onions and an extra spritz of lemon juice. Cook until the onions begin to brown and soften, about 2-3 minutes.
Return the soy curl mixture along with any remaining marinade back into the pan and cook for a a minute or two more, or until the onions reach your desired consistency. Some people prefer this with crunchy onions but I like them cooked through (as pictured in the post).
Remove the pan from heat and serve warm with rice and an extra side of lemon to drizzle on top as desired.
We recommend using a cast iron skillet for this recipe if possible. We have found that it yields the best result!
The vegan beef bouillon adds a significant amount of flavor to this recipe and is recommended if you are able to access it. If you are not, vegetable bouillon will work in its place.
Calamansi has a different flavor profile then the lemon and orange juices, but this was the most accurate option that I had access to. If you are using calamansi, I would suggest using less than the lemon and orange juices–about 3 tablespoons to start. You can adjust this to taste and add more at the end if you think it needs more citrus. My mom tested this recipe with the full amount 1:1 with the lemon orange mixture and it did not come out as desired, it was too tart!
This recipe is meant to be tangy/citrusy, so feel free to adjust the citrus as desired if you think you want more or less in the dish. You can also always add a smaller amount to start and add more at the end after tasting it.
We have not tested this recipe with other vegan beef alternatives but we will update this recipe if we do.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Samsung Home Appliances but all opinions remain our own. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!
Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie