Beef Stew hits you with a rich aroma the moment you walk in the door and follows you from room to room while it cooks. A traditional beef stew starts with a handful of basic ingredients, but the rest is a cornucopia of flavorful opportunities. Unfortunately, old habits die hard. Many of us follow classic recipes that are anything but healthy.
So how do we make a healthier beef stew? Beginning with lean beef is paramount. As the meat cooks, slowing breaking down into tender morsels, any fat it contains melts into the stew. The more fat in the meat, the more fat in your stew. As surprising as it may sound, tough, lean cuts of meat make the best stew. This recipe uses just the right amount of olive oil to brown the meat without adding extra fat. Low-sodium soy sauce and piquant hot pepper sauce bring that umami element without the all the added sodium and fat. In the interest of limiting sodium, we’ve also opted for low-sodium organic beef broth (in a pinch, you can also use water).
While carrots, potatoes, and celery make a great base for beef stew, button mushrooms amp up the meaty flavor of this stew. You can add any number of winter veggies to vary your results. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or a last-second handful of fresh baby spinach are all great ways to incorporate greens into your stew. Butternut squash, pumpkin, and red bell peppers add vibrant color. All of this getting jazzy with ingredients will, of course, alter your nutritionals a bit.
It’s easy to cook this beef stew in a slow cooker or Instapot. Simply brown the meat, then place all other ingredients into your cooker and follow the machine’s instructions for cook time.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1½ lbs. raw lean beef stew meat, boneless
- 1½ medium onions chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
- ½ to 1 cup low-sodium organic beef broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 oz. small button mushrooms cut in half
- 2 medium celery stalks cut into 1-inch slices
- 2 medium carrots sliced
- 2 medium potatoes cubed
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley (for garnish; optional)
Heat oil in large saucepot over medium-high heat.
Add beef; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beef is browned.
Add onions; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
Add tomatoes, soy sauce, hot sauce, ½ cup broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 40 minutes, adding additional broth as needed.
Add mushrooms, celery, carrots, and potatoes; cook, covered, for an additional 12 to 18 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and beef is fork tender.
Garnish evenly with parsley if desired.