Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Cholent is a slow cooked, hearty stew enjoyed by Jews on Shabbat afternoon. It is traditionally made with beans, barley, potatoes, onions and fatty meat. Due to the prohibition against cooking or warming up food on the Sabbath, this thick stew is made in a crock pot* before sundown on Friday evening and cooked for 18-20 hours. That way there is a hearty, hot lunch waiting to be enjoyed on Shabbat!
In this vegan version, I of course leave out the fatty meat. But with all those other good things in this bean and barley stew who needs meat? Not us!
1 cup dry kidney beans (or bean of choice - pinto works well too), soaked overnight
1 large onion, chopped
8-10 ounces trumpet mushrooms (also called king oyster mushrooms), cubed
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dry barley, rinsed
4 medium potatoes (any kind - white, yellow, or sweet)
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder (or yellow mustard)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable broth seasoning (I like Seitenbacher)
5-6 cups water
All bean package directions that I have ever seen recommend that you soak the kidney beans overnight then drain and rinse before using so that is what I recommend here.
Heat a fry pan over medium heat. When hot, add onions and cook, stirring fequently, until beginning to brown. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until onions and mushrooms have browned - about 10 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup water to deglaze the pan.
Pour the onion and mushrooms into a crock pot of at least 4 quarts. Add all other ingredients (beans through broth seasoning) to the pot. Pour in just enough water to cover all the ingredients (a 4 quart pot should take about 5 cups of water). Place crock pot into the heating element and cover. Set to medium and cook for 18-20 hours (you must be certain your electrical wiring is in safe working order in order to leave the crock pot on overnight).
On Shabbat, remove the crockpot insert from the heating element before you open it, and serve.
*You must be certain your electrical wiring is in safe working order in order to leave the crock pot on overnight. If you don't have a crock pot I have read that this can be slow cooked in an oven, but can't specifically recommend that as I have not tried it myself. However, if you are not preparing this for Shabbat you can cook it on a stovetop by bringing it to a boil and then simmering it on the stove, covered, for 2 hours.