A rich tasting low carb beef stew featuring meltingly tender beef chuck and perfectly cooked vegetables. You’ll never believe this is a low carb stew recipe. Your ketogenic diet just got better.
I’m a big fan of stew. Place a steaming bowl of this comfort food fave in front of me and watch it disappear. I’m an equal opportunity stew eater, fabulously happy with any good bowl of Thai or Indian coconut milk curry, New Mexico green chili verde, carne guisada, Moroccan chicken tagine, Cioppino, chowder, chili, and my favorite – good old American beef stew.
Traditional Beef Stew
Most traditional American style beef stews are thickened with flour or cornstarch and are often overly-thick and gloppy. Except for celery, traditional stew vegetables are starchy and sweet: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, and peas. Root vegetables feature heavily which is why we see stew recipes in the Fall.
Low Carb Beef Stew
This Gluten-free stew recipe is perfect for those on a low carb ketogenic or Whole30 diet. Making beef stew without flour or thickeners reduces carbs while intensifying overall flavor. To make it truly low carb, choosing low carb vegetables is a must (see a complete list of low carb foods here). But properly cooking the stew is equally important. The ideal low carb stew should feature fork tender beef and tender (not mushy) vegetables in a meaty tasting broth.
Low Carb Vegetables for Beef Stew (keto beef stew)
The best low carb vegetables for beef stew are: celery, mushrooms, green beans, celery root, turnips, rutabaga, and radishes. Some people like to add zucchini and summer squash.
When making low carb beef stew:
- choose low carb vegetables
- replace potatoes with less starchy root vegetables
- use onions and garlic judiciously
- small amounts of colorful vegetables add visual appeal
- add the vegetables at the last 40-60 minutes of cook time
Food should be appealing, so I include one medium (3 oz) carrot. “Rolling” the carrot while slicing, produces small irregular-shaped chips which provide a pop of color throughout. Green beans are a great sub for peas and add color and variation in shape. Replacing starchy potatoes with less starchy root vegetables like radish, turnip, rutabaga, and celery root (celeriac) is a great low carb trick. I used celery root in this stew recipe, that I cut to mimic the shape of potatoes.
TIP: To have the vegetables look and taste their best before serving, add them to the stew at the last 40 – 60 minutes of cooking. They will soften and cook-through but keep their integrity. To me, that’s the hallmark of a perfect low carb beef stew.
How to Make Stew Meat Tender?
We’ve all experienced eating stews with tough chewy bites of beef and others where the beef was fall apart tender. Wanna to know how to make stew meat tender? Use the right cut of beef.
- use a chuck roast (trim and cube it yourself)
- let it come to room temperature for 30 mins. before cooking
- brown well in batches
- cover the pot with a lid and simmer in broth until fork-tender
BUY THE RIGHT CUT: I used to buy “stew meat” from the grocery store as a convenience. Then, I wondered why it was tough. Now, I buy a chuck roast or pot roast. It has the best beefy flavor, it’s affordable, and it becomes meltingly tender when cooked. It only takes a few minutes to trim off any excess fat and cut it into chunks.
DON’T SHOCK THE MEAT:Let the chuck come to temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Searing cold meat shocks it, causing it to pull together and toughen. Mix a little oil into the beef pieces.
DON’T CROWD THE PAN: Brown the chuck in batches to ensure good caramelization on the exterior of the beef and in the bottom of the pan.
USE A LITTLE ACID AND THE RIGHT COOKING METHOD: Add a little acid in the form of wine or tomato paste to help lift the fond (brown bits) from the bottom of the pan. It also helps break down connective tissues in the meat. Add enough broth or stock to just cover the meat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Pierce with a fork to check for tenderness. When there is just slight resistance, it’s time to add the vegetables and gently simmer uncovered for 40 minutes to an hour more.
Gluten Free Low Carb Beef Stew is 6 net carbs per serving and yields 6 servings.
Low Carb Beef Stew (Gluten-free, Keto, Whole30)
- 1 1/4 pound trimmed beef chuck roast, cubed (1 inch)
- 8 ounces whole mushrooms, quartered
- 6 ounces celery root, peeled and cubed into 3/4 inch pieces (or sub turnips or radishes)
- 4 ounces pearl onions, trimmed and peeled (or regular onion, large dice)
- 2-3 ribs celery, sliced
- 3 ounces carrot, roll-cut (or sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil, avocado oil, or bacon grease
- 5 cups beef broth (I used Kettle and Fire bone broth)
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
Optional Flavorings to change it up:
- marjoram, winter savory, oregano, summer savory, juniper berries, clove, orange peel, red wine, balsamic vinegar
- Remove the chuck roast from the refrigerator to come to temperature. Quarter the mushrooms and set aside. Wash and chop the vegetables, including the garlic, putting them together in a bowl for later. Trim the excess fat off of the chuck roast (pot roast) and cut into 1-inch cubes. (I used 1 1/4 pounds of meat, but you may use more if you wish.) Thoroughly mix two teaspoons of oil into the beef.
- Place a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot on the stove over medium heat. When hot, add the rest of the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat. Do not disturb them for 2 minutes. Stir and let them cook for two minutes more. Remove the mushrooms from the pot and add them to the other vegetables.
- Brown the beef in the pot in batches, adding more oil as needed. Place all of the beef into the pot and stir in the bay leaf, thyme, and tomato paste making sure to coat the beef. Let it cook for less than a minute, then slowly add 1 cup of broth while scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the broth and bring the stew up to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to low-ish and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours.
- Insert a fork into a piece of meat to check for tenderness, it should meet little to no resistence. If tough, let it cook another 20 minutes. When tender, add the vegetables and turn up the heat until it simmers. Turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes to an hour or until the vegetables and meat are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Makes 11 cups with approximately 1 3/4 cups per serving.