Lifestyle & Belief

A vegan take on a classic Brazilian stew — without the pig snouts

IMG_8228 2016-8-1.JPG

The vegan feijoada at .Org Bistro is served with beet farofa (toasted manioc flour), sautéed collard greens and rice.

Credit:

Will Carless/PRI

Brazil’s favorite dish, feijoada, is pretty gnarly.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

It’s originally Portuguese, and means something like “bean stew,” but that’s an incredible understatement. Along with a hearty base of beans, onions and garlic, it typically features a whole slew of pork offcuts — things like pig ears, feet, stomach and even tail. It's a black, gloopy and pungent stew that Brazilians traditionally cook on Fridays and Saturdays.

Many visitors to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympic games will likely try a pot of feijoada while they’re here.

It’s winter down here. Some will find the dish a welcome, warm and tasty bellyful.

But for others, the mixture of offal and spices might be too much to bear.

Feijoada, minus the meat.

Credit:

Will Carless/PRI

But, never fear! We at PRI have tracked down a version of the Brazilian classic that should please all palates: A tiny restaurant in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighborhood is serving up a vegan version of feijoada that is so delicious it has the locals hooked.

We recently visited .Org Bistro to sample chef Tatiana Lund’s vegan feijoada. It’s a delicious stew with the traditional black beans, onions, garlic and spices, but instead of snouts or tails it features pumpkin and smoked tofu.

We loved it. But does the vegan version pass muster with Brazil’s carnivores?

A sous-chef chops collard greens in the kitchen of .Org Bistro in Rio.

Credit:

Will Carless/PRI

To find out, we ordered two servings of vegan feijoada to go and took them to a local boteco — a traditional Brazilian roadside restaurant, where many customers were enjoying a Friday afternoon stew. There, we asked the chef and a couple of patrons to try the vegan version.

The verdict: They thought it was delicious.

“I’m no vegetarian, but this is great,” said Heitor Aguilar, who had come to the boteco for an afternoon beer.

“I try to make everything that is traditional here in Brazil but make it in a healthy way. That’s my thing here,” Chef Lund said. Her menu also features vegan favorites like quinoa burgers, as well as some delicious Brazilian juices.

So, if you’re visiting Rio and pig gut stew isn’t your thing, you can nevertheless get a taste for a national culinary classic. And meatless feijoada may just be here to stay. 

Below, watch Chef Tatiana Lund describe the vegan feijoada she cooks up every Friday and Saturday at .Org Bistro in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighborhood.