Michelle's Vegan Hamburger Soup

Michelle’s Vegan Hamburger Soup

I adapted this vegan hamburger soup from my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother’s recipe. Pennsylvania Dutch beef soups are often made by simply boiling the vegetables in beef stock made from soup bones. In this recipe, I use a high quality vegetable stock and sweat the vegetables before boiling them to better bring out their flavor.

To add a “beefy” depth to the stock, I add some optional G. Washington’s Rich Brown Seasoning. This savory seasoning is surprisingly vegan, and many vegetarians use it for similar purposes in gravy. To replace the beef, I use Yves Meatless Ground, which is a good vegan ground beef substitute that merges well with the other flavors of the soup. Like other Pennsylvania Dutch soups, I keep other seasonings (just salt, pepper, and parsley) at a minimum to allow the great ingredients to shine through.

My grandmother’s hamburger soup was especially robust because she included rivels, which are tiny Pennsylvania Dutch dumplings. Rivels are made from flour and egg (usually 1 egg per cup of flour). Some people also include salt and/or milk. The egg serves to add moisture and leavening, as rivels are supposed to swell somewhat when boiled. So I replaced the egg with a combination of oil to replace the moist, fatty yolk, and soy milk for more moisture, and baking powder for leavening (see my post on egg substitutes for more info on how to figure out the best egg substitute for a specific recipe). I don’t notice any difference in taste or texture between my vegan rivels and my grandmother’s traditional rivels. To my knowledge this is the first vegan rivel recipe!

This hearty winter soup is quick and easy to make, and it’s very forgiving if you want to use different vegetables, etc. Other vegetables common in Pennsylvania Dutch soups include cabbage and turnips, and I think they’d be great in this vegan hamburger soup too.

Vegan Hamburger Soup, with Rivels

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Vegan Hamburger Soup, with Rivels


  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 6-ounce onion, coarsley chopped
  • 1 large and 1 medium celery heart stalk, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 12-ounce package vegan ground beef (I like Yves Meatless Ground)
  • 4 cups good vegetable stock
  • 3/4 tsp. G. Washington's Rich Brown Seasoning, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 8-ounce potato, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 6-ounce tomato, seeds squeezed out, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 ounces frozen French cut green beans
  • For the Rivels
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, measured by lightly spooning into the measuring cup then leveling off with a knife
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. soy milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil


  1. Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the Yves Meatless Ground, and break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently and scraping brown bits off the bottom of the pot, until carrots are somewhat softened.
  4. Add the vegetable stock, Rich Brown seasoning (if using), and parsley. Give everything a stir, again scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  7. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and green beans.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and boil for 12 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, make the rivels. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. In a separate, small bowl, mix the soy milk with 1/2 Tbsp. oil. Add the soy milk/oil mixture to the dry ingredients. Use 2 knives to make cutting motions in opposite directions until the mixture resembles small peas and coarse crumbs.
  10. Once the soup has been boiling for 12 minutes, add the rivels to the pot.
  11. Boil for another 5 minutes, until the rivels are done and the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.