This healthy slow cooker beef stew is the perfect easy weeknight dinner that you can prep ahead! Learn how to make slow cooker beef stew healthy and delicious!
It’s Fall and it’s starting to get chilly out there.
This means exactly two very important and exciting things: (1) it’s time to break out your slow cooker, and (2) it’s beef stew time! I’ve shared my Hearty Beef Stew before, which is amaze-balls good, but it does take quite a bit of time and effort from start to finish.
Enter the all-amazing slow cooker.
Using a slow cooker to do all the hard work for you is totally what I’m about right now. I’ve got things to do, people. Soccer practice to be at. Diapers to change. Spelling words to help learn. I need all the help I can get on these busy weeknights to get a healthy, delicious, and family-approved dinner on the table.
Luckily, this healthy slow cooker beef stew is just that thing. It’ll will feed you all week, is super easy, and is exactly what slow cookers and Fall were made for.
Is Slow Cooker Beef Stew Healthy?
Not all beef stews are created equal in the healthy department. Many stews contain a lot of refined flours and oils. To make this slow cooker beef stew healthy, I made the following changes:
- replaced all-purpose flour with chickpea flour to coat the beef
- replaced all-purpose flour with arrowroot starch to thicken the stew
- used a leaner cut of beef to reduce the overall fat in the stew
- used a slow cooker to cook over long period to create more flavor
So, how healthy is this slow cooker beef stew? Well, one bowl (which is all you’ll need to fill you up!) contains just 383 calories, 44 grams of protein, and 4.5 grams of fiber. That makes this meal well-balanced, filling, and easy on the waistline.
How To Thicken Beef Stew
Thick stew is a thing of beauty so it can be a big bummer if you don’t wind up with that thick, luscious stew consistency. If you find yourself with this issue, just combine a few tablespoons of beef broth or the juices from the slow cooker with 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch. Once that mixture is smooth, add it into the beef stew and it should thicken it within a minute or so. You can repeat as needed to reach your desired thickness.
Another way to thicken beef stew is to blend some of the contents into a puree. To do this, remove the meat from the slow cooker and puree about 1/3 of the cooked veggies. This will naturally thicken the broth.
Best Cuts of Beef For Beef Stew
One of the most awesome things about beef stew is that the best cuts of beef for the stew are shockingly inexpensive. That means you don’t have to spend a ton of money on the top cuts to ensure the meat is tender. Instead, you should look for lean, tough cuts of meat that will break down and become tender over time in the slow cooker.
Look for the following cuts which are the best types of meat for beef stew:
- chuck roasts
- bottom round roast
- rump roast
- top round
- pot roasts
If you’re having trouble, the butcher can also cut you special cubed stew meat from one of these cuts as well.
How To Freeze Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Since this slow cooker recipe makes quite a lot of beef stew, you’ll likely find yourself with plenty of left-overs. Good news: You can easily freeze leftover beef stew for later. Here are some tips for how to freeze slow cooker beef stew:
- Allow the soup to cool completely. Since slow cookers retain heat very well, you may want to transfer to a large bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool more quickly.
- Freeze in either gallon– or quart-sized freezer bags or freezer safe containers for easy thawing and storage.
- Leave enough space at the top of the bag to allow for expansion during freezing. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the top of the bag and seal securely.
- Place the soup-filled freezer bags in the freezer, in a single, flat layer (using a rimmed baking sheet is helpful). Allow to freeze completely. Then, stack them on top of each other or standing side by side.
- Thaw bags of frozen split pea soup in the refrigerator overnight.
So go grab your slow cooker and the necessary ingredients and make your life easier, healthier, and tastier with this slow cooker beef stew for an easy dinner tonight!
Healthy Slow Cooker Beef Stew
This healthy slow cooker beef stew is the perfect easy weeknight dinner that you can prep ahead in the crock pot!
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 3 lbs. stew meat*, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
- 2 large yukon potatoes, diced
- 1 medium sweet potato, diced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp. arrowroot, as needed, for thickening
- fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
In a large mixing bowl, add the chickpea flour, sea salt, and ground pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add the cubed meat to the chickpea flour mixture and toss to coat well.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and add the coated meat. Brown the meat on all sides, in batches. (We’re not looking to cook the meat all the way through here - just to get a golden, crispy crust which will add a ton of flavor to the stew.)
Transfer the browned meat into the slow cooker.
- In the same pan, add the diced yellow onion, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Then add the minced garlic and cook for one minute, until fragrant.
- Transfer this into the slow cooker, over the meat.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, low sodium beef broth, dried thyme, sea salt, dried rosemary, cubed yukon gold potatoes, cubed sweet potato, sliced carrots, and sliced celery.
- Stir to combine, and then add the bay leaf.
- Set the slow cooker to the Low setting for 6 to 7 hours* or on high for 3 to 4 hours, stirring about half way through. The stew is ready when the meat is tender and falls apart and the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork.
- If you’d like to make the stew a little thicker, you can combine add a little arrowroot starch with beef broth or the juices from the stew, and then stir to incorporate. The stew will thicken within about 1-2 minutes after adding the arrowroot starch.
- Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.
* Great cuts of beef for this stew include: Chuck Roasts, Bottom Round Roast, Rump Roast, Top Round, or Pot Roasts. Look for lean, tough cuts of meat that will break down and become tender over time in the slow cooker.
* While you don’t have to brown the beef before adding it into the slow cooker, it really does add a ton of flavor and thickness to the stew.
* I've found the meat to be the most tender when cooked on Low compared to the High setting.
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.
I've got your dinners covered this week
- Get my FREE 5-Day Meal Plan plus...
- Organized grocery list to save time and money
- Helpful cooking tips and tricks
- Free videos on forming better cooking skills
- Kitchen conversion and substitution charts