Vegan Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Tempeh

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Cozy and hearty, this vegan slow cooker pot roast with tempeh is the perfect evening meal! Let the slow cooker do the work with only 15 minutes of prep.

Juicy, cozy, and hearty Pot Roast?! Yep, you heard me. Today I’m sharing my take on one of the ultimate cold-weather comfort foods – but vegan, of course!

close up picture of tempeh and vegetables for pot roast in slow cooker before cooking

How to make Pot Roast, but Vegan:

“Traditional” Pot Roast is usually made with beef (or pork), but other than that, everything else is vegan! We’ll still use the classic combination of onion, celery, carrots and potatoes for our veggies, but add in mushrooms for some extra umami and depth of flavor.

Oh yeah, and two more key things:

  • Using vegan “beef” flavored broth really helps to bring all of the flavors together here. I purchase mine online, though you may be able to find it in some health stores. You can use regular vegetable broth here, but it won’t taste as “meaty.”
  • Adding tempeh for some plant based protein! I’ve seen a lot of Vegan Pot Roasts use mushrooms in place of beef, but let’s be honest — that won’t keep you full.

raw tempeh and whole vegetables for vegan pot roast in black serving tray on gray backgound

Tempeh is full of plant-protein, but it does lack one thing that beef has: fat. Because of this, I recommend searing the tempeh in oil before adding it to the slow cooker with all of the other vegetables. Bonus points if you can use your slow cooker pot, like mine!

If you’re strictly oil free, you can skip this step – it’ll still taste good, but will be on the “rubbery” side, and not like traditional pot roast. But, I’ll leave that up to you 🙂

white speckled bowl with 2 pieces of tempeh and vegetables from pot roast with bowl of gravy on the side

Steps to Make Vegan Pot Roast: 

The best part about this recipe is that it requires only about 15 minutes of prep time…the slow cooker does the rest of the work!

  1. Wash and chop your veggies and tempeh
  2. Prepare the marinade while you sear the tempeh in oil (optional)
  3. Toss everything into the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours

cooked vegan pot roast on black serving tray on marble background with grey linen

You can serve this vegan pot roast as-is, or you can take the leftover cooking liquid and whisk it with some arrowroot powder to form a yummy gravy. Again, totally up to you! The marinade is delicious alone, but I personally prefer my sauce to be a little thicker (and have a nice glisten to it)

Cozy and hearty, this vegan slow cooker pot roast with tempeh is the perfect evening meal! Let the slow cooker do the work with only 15 minutes of prep. #potroast #veganpotroast #tempeh #vegan #plantbased #glutenfree |

If you’re looking for more cozy vegan recipes, you’ll also love my One Pot Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff, this Slow Cooker Bean & Quinoa Chili, and this Buffalo Cauliflower & Chickpea Casserole!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂


Vegan Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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5 from 6 reviews

Cozy and hearty, this vegan slow cooker pot roast with tempeh is the perfect evening meal! Let the slow cooker do the work with only 15 minutes of prep.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American



For the marinade / gravy:

  • 1 ½ cups vegan beef-flavored vegetable broth
  • ½ cup dry red wine (I used merlot; or sub more broth)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 35 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried*)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (optional, for gravy only

For the pot roast:

  • 2 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil (optional, for searing only)
  • 2 8-ounce packages of tempeh
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1” wedges
  • 35 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise 
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped 
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes*, cut in half
  • 8 ounces (225 g) cremini mushrooms, quartered


  1. Prepare the marinade: Whisk the broth, wine, paprika, and black pepper together in a large glass bowl; set aside.
  2. Prep the vegetables and tempeh: Wash and prep all vegetables according to the instructions above. Cut each block of tempeh into thirds, then cut each third into triangles (you should have 12 total). Carefully use a fork to pierce each piece of tempeh a few times — this will help the marinade soak in later!
  3. Sear the tempeh (optional): Bring your slow cooker base (if removable) or a large pot to medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil starts to ripple, add the tempeh and sear for 2 minutes on each side, until golden; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
  4. Prep the slow cooker: add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, potatoes, and mushrooms to the pot; mix well. Place the sprigs of thyme and tempeh over top of the vegetables, then pour the marinade on top. Close the slow cooker and cook for 7-8 hours over low heat, until the vegetables are nice and tender.
  5. Serve (and maybe make some gravy): you can serve the pot roast as-is, or place the liquid from the roast in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove 1/2 cup of the liquid and mix it with the arrowroot powder to form a slurry; return this mixture to the pot and whisk well. Continue to cook until the gravy becomes glossy and has thickened to your liking, about 3-5 minutes.


  • Substitutions: I would strongly recommend making the recipe as-is for the best flavor. However, you can use vegetable broth in place of vegan “beef” broth, replace the wine with more broth, and use larger gold or red potatoes in place of smaller ones – just make sure to chop them more! If you choose to use dried thyme instead of fresh, add it in to the marinade with the smoked paprika.
  • High Heat vs. Low Heat: I tested this recipe using both high heat and low heat, and found the low heat method to be much more flavorful. If you are short on time, you can choose to cook the pot roast on high heat for 3 to 4 hours.

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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    1. You could try using super-firm (pre-pressed) tofu, but I think it might get a little too mushy.

  1. This came together very quickly and easily. I did make some substitutions based solely on what I already had. I used low salt vegetable broth which worked just fine. I used small round potatoes and did not peel them (bonus!) though I cut them in half. I used one (8 oz.) package of tempeh and one (8oz.) package of seitan. Both worked fine and were very good, each with it’s own texture. I also substituted cornstarch for the arrow root powder. The only addition was a teaspoon for Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable flavor which added some saltiness and additional depth which I might have been missing due to not using the beef-flavored vegetable broth. This is a hearty dish with a very good depth of (unami) flavor (thank you mushrooms!) much like you would find in “real” pot roast. It will definitely fulfill a any craving for it though, as with all vegan “substitutes”, it’s NOT pot roast so don’t expect it to be exactly the same. But it is every bit as delicious and all in a wonderfully sustainable, do-no-harm form of food! Thank you for this excellent recipe!!

      1. Hi Danae! I recommend searing the tempeh in oil before adding it to the slow cooker with all of the other vegetables since it lacks in fat. If you’re strictly oil free, you can skip this step – it’ll still taste good, but will be on the “rubbery” side.

  2. I made this for dinner last night…AMAZING! I don’t have a slow cooker, so I just used a large pot on my stove top and it came out fine. I made a few substitutions based on what I personally prefer (added turnips, cut down on potatoes, did not use mushrooms, used marjoram and summer savory instead of thyme, used just veggie broth and a little wine) and it was still super easy and delicious. Thanks for coming up with this…I never would have thought of cooking tempeh this way!

  3. I made this and oh my goodness tempeh never tasted so good! It reminds me of when I was younger and my mom would slow cook pot roast

    1. Rice refrigerates just fine! Refrigerate it soon after cooking (within 2 hours) and when you reheat it you can add a little water to help keep it from drying out.

  4. Hey! I was wondering if I could make this in an instant pot? I don’t have a slow cooker, but this recipe looks amazing! 😀

    1. Yes! You could use the slow cooker function on your instant pot and follow the recipe instructions 🙂

  5. I made this without the wine and I used dried time and it was still really really really good and easy! If it make it again, I think I’d do 1/2 the amount of potatoes and up the other veggies.

    1. You could use cornstarch! It’s a little different to work with than arrowroot so I would add half the amount it calls for and then slowly mix it in until you get the consistency you’re wanting.

  6. I haven’t tried this yet with the beef-flavored stock and red wine but I made it with all veggie stock since it was what I had on hand and it turned out great!! Easy, flavorful, filling, and ideal for a college student budget 🙂 I do want to try it next time with the
    beef-flavored stock and red wine but it is still tasty without it!