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Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Root Vegetables (Easy and Healthy)

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By: The Real Food Dietitians Updated: 9/1/22

Here’s a deliciously healthy and hearty stew for your slow cooker (or Instant Pot)! One of the best feelings is coming home after a long day and opening the door to the aroma of an already prepared dinner. This Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe, featuring a trio of tender root vegetables, is perfect to enjoy on a cool and crisp day.

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Slow Cooker recipes are the best Kind of make-ahead meals

And we’re guessing you probably agree! Not only is the chopping, dicing, and prepping completed beforehand, but clean up is easy, and leftovers are always a win. You can’t go wrong with the heartiness and ease of this classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe. It’s a well-rounded meal-in-one that you’ll want to add to your menu asap! The variety of cool-season, fiber-rich veggies, the perfectly cooked potatoes, and the hunks of tender beef will have your taste buds singing and your family happy to dig in. A generous portion of this classic slow cooker beef stew will provide you with an adequate source of protein, fats, carbs, and fiber making this a perfectly-balanced meal all in one bowl.

Ingredients to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew

A few pantry staples, some fresh vegetables, and beef stew meat is what you need to get started making this beef stew recipe.

  • Beef stew meat – if you can’t find beef stew meat at your grocery store, you can purchase a chuck roast and cut it into chunks yourself
  • Avocado oil or olive oil
  • Root vegetables – this recipe calls for potatoes (yellow, red, or russet potatoes work great), parsnips, and carrots, but feel free to change up the root vegetables with what sounds good to you or what you have on hand. Other options include turnips, sweet potatoes, and any type of winter squash
  • Yellow onion and garlic cloves – aromatic additions for delicious flavor
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Beef broth
  • Dried thyme – may substitute 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Dried rosemary – may substitute 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Green beans – use fresh or frozen
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Cornstarch – optional for thickening; see tip below on how to make this stew a thicker consistency. For grain-free and paleo, use arrowroot or tapioca starch

How to make Crockpot Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

Follow these quick steps to get this slow cooker beef stew cooking away today:

  1. Sauté the beef cubes in a skillet. This helps to hold in the juicy flavors.
  2. Add ingredients to the slow cooker. Along with the beef, add the onion, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, garlic, diced tomatoes, broth, thyme, and rosemary to a slow cooker. Stir and cook on LOW heat for 8 hours or HIGH heat for 4 hours. We like to stir the green beans in towards the end of the cooking time so that they don’t become too soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Thicken the stew. Optional step for thickening: Remove 1 cup broth from the slow cooker and add to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the cornstarch and bring to a simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and slowly drizzle and stir the cornstarch mixture into the stew in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. 
  4. Serve and garnish with fresh herbs, if you wish

Can this beef stew be made in the Instant Pot

It sure can. We’ve included a recipe in the directions below for Instant Pot Beef Stew, or you can try our Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup recipe instead.

Why do I need to sauté the beef cubes before adding to the slow cooker

Sautéing the beef chunks before adding them to the slow cooker isn’t an absolutely necessary step. However, our team agrees that the beef cubes hold-up better and the flavors are bolder when the beef chunks are sautéed on medium heat in a bit of fat just until browned on all sides before adding to the crockpot. However, we’re all about ease here, so if time is not in your favor (we get it!), go ahead and throw the raw beef in the slow cooker, right along with the rest of the ingredients. Set the slow cooker on low and carry on with your day.

How to make Slow Cooker Beef Stew a Thicker consistency

Because this recipe is made in the slow cooker (where foods don’t typically boil) you need to bring some of the liquid to a simmer and in order to activate the cornstarch thickener. So, if you want your beef stew to be extra thick (we like it that way, too), then we recommend doing this thickening step:

Thickening step: Remove 1 cup of broth from the slow cooker and place it in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the broth to a slow simmer and whisk in the cornstarch until the liquid thickens (this typically happens within 20-30 seconds. Remove the thickened broth from the heat and slowly drizzle and stir the hot cornstarch mixture into the stew in the crockpot. Cover and cook the stew for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. 

Overhead view rustic white bowl filled with slow cooker beef stew with root vegetables

How to store crockpot Beef Stew Leftovers and how to reheat

Store leftover stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also store in a freezer-safe container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat: place individual bowls of stew in the microwave or reheat an entire batch in a pot on the stove. To reheat from frozen, place frozen soup in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, then reheat the soup gently in a pot or Dutch oven on the stovetop.

Tip!

Freeze in Individual Portions

We like to portion them into individual servings, about 2 cup portions, and have them on hand for emergency meals. Meaning those days when you’ve just got nothin’ in the fridge and zero ambition to cook-up a meal. Click here for more freezer-friendly recipes.

Perfect for dunking in Stew!

Learn how to choose quality red meat in this post!

Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes

All Slow Cooker Recipes

Overhead view rustic white bowl filled with slow cooker beef stew with root vegetables

Recipe

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

Enjoy this hearty and wholesome Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe that’s perfect for serving on a crisp, cool day. This crockpot recipe is easy to prep and features hunks of tender beef and a trio of root vegetables. 

Prep: 10 minsCook: 8 hoursTotal: 8 hours 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat 
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 12 ounces potatoes (yellow, red, or russet), scrubbed clean and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 2 ¼ cups)
  • 8 ounces parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme (may substitute 1 tablespoon fresh thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped)
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups, may use frozen)
  • Fine salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, optional for thickening*

Instructions

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the beef and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes, then flip and repeat until browned on all sides. Transfer meat to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining oil and beef.
  2. To a slow cooker add the onion, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, garlic, diced tomatoes, broth, thyme, and rosemary. Stir, place lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW heat for 8 hours or HIGH heat for 4 hours. Stir in green beans during the last 30-60 minutes of cooking time and cook until they are tender (fresh will take longer than frozen). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Optional step to thicken stew: If you prefer thicker beef stew liquid, we recommend this step. Remove 1 cup of broth from the slow cooker and place it in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the broth to a slow simmer and whisk in the cornstarch until the liquid thickens (this typically happens within 20-30 seconds). Slowly drizzle and stir the hot cornstarch mixture into the stew in the crockpot. Cover and cook the stew for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. 

Instant Pot Directions:

  1. Select ‘Saute’  on the Instant Pot. Add 2 teaspoons of oil the pot. Add half of the beef and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes, then flip and repeat until browned on all sides. Transfer meat to a plate and repeat with remaining oil and beef
  2. To the instant pot add the onion, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, garlic, diced tomatoes, broth, thyme, and rosemary. Stir, lock the lid into place, set vent valve to ‘sealing’ and select the ‘Meat/Stew’ setting (about 35 minutes, high pressure).
  3. Allow for 10 minutes of natural release before flipping the value to ‘venting’ to release any remaining pressure.
  4. Press ‘Cancel’ then select the ‘Saute’ setting. Add green beans and cook 5-6 minutes or until green beans are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
  5. Optional step to thicken stew: Make sure the Instant Pot is on the ‘Saute’ setting. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of cold water. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the hot stew to thicken. Bring the stew to a simmer to continue to thicken.

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Notes

* Thickener: use arrowroot or tapioca starch instead if you want a recipe that is grain-free and/or Paleo friendly. Refer to thickening step in the recipe directions. 

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 357
  • Fat: 12 g
  • (Sat Fat: 6 g)
  • Sodium: 560 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 13 g
  • (Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 6 g)
  • Protein: 38 g
  • Cholesterol: 107 mg

Dietary

© The Real Food Dietitians

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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

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