Bistec a la Mexicana or Mexican style steak is a flavorful dish perfect for a quick weeknight meal. This easy recipe is traditionally made with beef, and cooked in a tomato sauce with green chiles, onion, and spices. Let me show you how to make it vegan!
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What is Bistec a la Mexicana?
Bistec a la Mexicana, also known as Mexican-style steak, is a classic dish that combines tender beef with a flavorful blend of jalapeños or serrano peppers, onions and tomatoes.
The word “bistec” means steak in Spanish. The phrase “a la Mexicana” means Mexican style.
A la Mexicana also refers to the use of traditional Mexican ingredients that represent the three colors of the Mexican flag; green, white, and red.
This hearty meal, guisado or stew, is commonly served all over Mexico, just ask any Mexican and they’ll tell you that it reminds them of home…it’s comfort food.
It was one of my favorite dishes growing up when I still ate meat. Sometimes my mom would also serve potatoes with it and it was just heaven for me.
This mouthwatering dish is a staple in Mexican cuisine, known for its bold flavors and vibrant colors. It’s also one of those traditional Mexican meat-based recipes that’s incredibly easy to veganize!
The traditional ingredients used in this simple recipe aren’t many and are all staples in most homes.
- Traditionally for the “bistec de res” or beef steak, cuts like sirloin or flank steak are used. We are going to be using mushrooms – more on this below.
- Ripe roma tomatoes
- White onions
- Jalapeño peppers or serrano chile for a spicier dish.
- Cumin powder
- Maggi sauce*
- Olive oil or vegetable oil of choice
I love making this dish with mushrooms, but if available to you, you could use any type of vegan beef, like Beyond Steak. Another option is seitan steak, just prep it by thinly slicing.
Maggi sauce, you can find it in most grocery stores, Amazon, and in Hispanic food stores it may be called “jugo Maggi”.
Try to get the Mexican bottles because those are made with soy protein, whereas the others are based on wheat.
In a pinch if you can’t find this liquid seasoning you could swap it for soy sauce – just don’t use something like Worcestershire sauce because that’s a completely different flavor that isn’t used in Mexican cooking.
Additionally Worcestershire sauce isn’t vegan, though there are vegan brands available.
Vegan Bistec a la Mexicana: A Plant-Based Twist
As mentioned above, instead of beef, oyster mushrooms or portobello mushrooms will be used as a delicious and satisfying alternative for the beef strips. Both mushrooms are delicious and work excellent.
Since we are making vegan bistec a la Mexicana we are going to also be using some Maggi sauce to add more of a “beefy” and umami flavor to the dish.
Oyster Mushrooms as a Substitute for Beef
Oyster mushrooms are a fantastic option for creating a vegan version of bistec a la Mexicana and countless other Mexican meat dishes.
You may have noticed I’m a big fan of them and use them often in my veganized Mexican recipes.
Oyster mushrooms have a mild flavor and a texture that is remarkably similar to meat when cooked. They have a “meaty” bite to them and take on the seasonings used, quite well.
- Tacos de Bistec or Mexican Steak Tacos (Made Vegan)
- Vegan Birria Tacos
- Birria Tamales
- Vegan Tamales Rojos
- Tamales Verdes Recipe
- Vegan Pozole Verde Recipe
- Menudo Made Vegan
- Easy Mexican Mushroom Recipe: Champiñones a la Mexicana
- Easy Vegan Mushroom Shawarma Recipe
- Easy Vegan Fajitas Recipe
- Braised Oyster Mushrooms and Potatoes in Red Salsa
- Vegan Fried Chicken
- Torta de Milanesa de Pollo
Portobello Mushrooms as a Substitute for Beef
Another excellent option for vegans is to use portobello mushrooms as a substitute for beef.
Portobello mushrooms have a rich and meaty flavor, making them an ideal choice for recreating the savory taste of traditional steak.
I love making fajitas, carne asada, vegan steaks and vegan burgers with portobello mushrooms.
How to Make Bistec a la Mexicana
Amigos this recipe is so incredibly easy to make, you don’t need to put a lot of time or effort into it. It is a delicious “meaty” dish in a flavorful, rich tomato sauce that’s perfect for a weeknight meal.
- Step 1: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Once hot arrange the mushrooms on it and season with the spices and Maggi sauce or Jugo Maggi.
- Step 2: Cook the mushrooms until golden brown and a little crispy. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Step 3: Add a little oil to the pan and then sauté the onion until soft. Then add the chile peppers, minced garlic, and chopped tomato. Cook until the tomato breaks down. You can add a 1/4 cup of water or unsalted vegetable broth to help make the tomato mixture more saucy.
- Step 4: While the vegetables are cooking, roughly chop or slice the cooked mushrooms.
- Step 5: Add the chopped tomatoes back to the pan and cook another few minutes. Taste and if desired adjust the seasonings.
- Step 6: Serve and enjoy!
Can I use other types of mushrooms as a substitute for beef in Bistec a la Mexicana?
I really feel that oyster mushrooms and portobello mushrooms are the best choices, because they provide a meaty texture and enhance the flavor of this dish.
Can I make Bistec a la Mexicana without jalapeños for a milder version?
Absolutely! If you prefer a milder taste, you can swap the jalapeños for bell pepper. The flavors will be different but still delicious.
How to Serve
This veganized delicious recipe of a classic of comida mexicana, can be served with refried frijoles refritos, warm tortillas or homemade flour tortillas, and avocado slices.
You could also sprinkle with some chopped cilantro, and you want to eat with rice, then I suggest my arroz blanco recipe.
Additionally you can serve this dish as a taco or filling for burritos, wraps or quesadillas. It’s even delicious on rice bowls or with quinoa.
How to Store
Allow any leftovers to cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container.
Vegan bistec a la Mexicana will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days when made with mushrooms. If you’re using vegan steak or seitan steak it can be 4 to 5 days.
How to Reheat
Reheat leftovers on the stove in a pan over medium heat until warmed through.
If you’re using mushrooms you can also reheat by microwaving it. If using seitan steak or other vegan steak, microwaving may yield a rubbery texture.
Bistec a la Mexican Recipe
Bistec a la Mexicana is a truly delightful dish that brings the vibrant flavors of Mexico to your plate. This vegan version of the classic recipe that will satisfy your cravings. So, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy an incredibly flavorful meal that’s ready in about 30 minutes.
Easy Bistec a la Mexicana: Mexican Style Steak Made Vegan
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 lb oyster mushrooms or portobello mushrooms*
- 1.5 Tablespoons soy sauce or Maggi sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 small white onion sliced
- 1 serrano pepper or 1 jalapeño chile, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 medium roma tomato chopped
- Heat 1.5 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or pan. Once hot arrange the oyster mushroom sliced on it. Drizzle the soy sauce or Maggi sauce over the mushrooms. Then sprinkle the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the cumin over the mushrooms.
- Cook about 8 minutes or until golden and a little crispy on both sides. Use a spatula to push down on the mushrooms and help cook brown them. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add 1.5 tablespoons of oil to the pan then add the onion and sauté until soft. Then add the chile pepper, minced garlic, and tomato and cook until the tomato has broken down. If your tomatoes aren't juicy you can add 1/4 cup of water or unsalted broth to help make the tomato saucier.
- While the vegetables are cooking you can slice or chop the cooked mushrooms.
- Once the tomato has broken down to your desired texture, you can add the mushrooms back in. Mix and cook another 8 minutes or so.
- Serve with refried beans, avocado slices, and warm tortillas of your choice. Enjoy!
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…