Paleo & Whole30 Beef Stew with Fall Spices

This Paleo & Whole30 Beef Stew with Fall Spices is a hearty bowl of comfort.

Tender beef and root vegetables are cooked with warm fall spices like cinnamon and ginger for a cozy dinner.

Plus it can be made on the stove, the slow cooker or – my favorite way – in an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker).

And like most beef stews, it’s naturally gluten-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!

beef stew with root vegetables in a white bowl on a wooden table next to a floral napkin, an Instant Pot and a sprig of fresh thyme

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Paleo & Whole30 Beef Stew with Fall Spices

Beef stews are one of my favorite cold weather dishes – they’re hearty, filling, stick-to-your-ribs food that are also pure comfort food.

I also love root vegetables of all kinds, like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots and parsnips.

AND I also love fall flavors like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

So when I came across this recipe for Tzimmes (a beef stew without wine) from Saveur, I had to make it. Tzimmes uses root vegetables like carrots and ingredients like dried fruit and honey. It’s traditionally a Jewish recipe served around Rosh Hashanah, when even savory dishes have sweet elements added.

You might think those spices make the stew sweet. After all, aren’t they what we use in sweet things like pumpkin pie and pumpkin lattes?

But they also work great in savory dishes, too. There’s just enough to warm you up without overpowering the dish.

This stew was so good I kept making it, over and over, for years. Only I started changing it, making it easier and faster, using less or more ingredients as I saw fit (and omitting the honey entirely to make it less sweet).

Plus I started making it my favorite way: in my Instant Pot!

So I hope you’ll try this recipe too. I included instructions for the stovetop, the slow cooker and the Instant Pot so you can find your favorite way to make it.

 

What you need for this Paleo & Whole30 Beef Stew with Fall Spices

Ingredients:

  • 2 12-3 pounds beef stew meat, excess fat trimmed, cut into 112” cubes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 12 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12 tsp. ground ginger
  • 14 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • beef broth, either 3 cups (for Instant Pot and slow cooker) or 4 cups (for stovetop)
  • 2 12-3 pounds of your favorite root vegetables – I like a combination of sweet potatoes, carrots and/or parsnips
  • 8 oz. prunes – I know these seem like a weird addition, but try not to skip them – they melt into the stew and add a wonderfully subtle sweetness and depth of flavor
  • avocado oil or olive oil
  • fine sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • fresh thyme

Equipment:

 

How to make this Paleo & Whole30 Beef Stew with Fall Spices

Instant Pot:

In a large mixing bowl, toss the meat with 1.5 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.

Add 3 tablespoons oil to the insert of the IP. Set it to Sauté and let the oil warm up.

Meanwhile, peel and quarter the onion, then slice thinly crosswise.

chopped onions

Add the onion, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to the oil, along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Sauteed onions in an Instant Pot

Add 1 cup broth and use a spatula to scrape up all the brown bits at the bottom of the insert, then add the beef and 2 cups of broth. Press Cancel/Keep Warm. Lock on the lid and make sure the release knob is in the seal position. Cook for 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the root vegetables into 1″ cubes. Chop the prunes in half.

chopped sweet potatoes, carrots and prunes

When the beef is done, immediately release the pressure. Hit Cancel/Keep Warm. Unlock and remove the lid. Add the vegetables prunes, then lock on the lid again, make sure the release knob is in the seal position, and cook for 2 minutes.

Immediately release the pressure. Hit Cancel/Keep Warm.

Taste and add more salt or pepper, if necessary. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Stovetop:

Follow steps 1-4 above, using a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add 1 cup broth and use a spatula to scrape up all the brown bits at the bottom of the insert, then add the beef and 3 cups of broth. Reduce the heat so the stew maintains a simmer, cover partially and let it cook for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the root vegetables into 1″ cubes. Chop the prunes in half.

Add the veggies and prunes to the pot and let it all cook together, uncovered, for another hour.

Taste and add more salt or pepper, if necessary. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Slow Cooker

Follow steps 1-4 above, using a medium frying pan.

Add the spiced onion from the frying pan and the seasoned beef to your slow cooker insert.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the root vegetables into 1″ cubes. Chop the prunes in half. Add all of this plus 3 cups broth to the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4.

Taste and add more salt or pepper, if necessary. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

 

Make ahead

The stew can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Some fat might rise to the surface. You can either heat it up with the rest of the stew or skim it off.

The stew can also be frozen in airtight container or baggie for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Reheat the stew in a saucepan over low heat on the stove.

 

Substitutions and variations

You can use other kind of peeled, cubed root vegetables, such as butternut squash, pumpkin or acorn squash. I wouldn’t use potatoes, however, as they wouldn’t be quite right with the spices.

You can omit the prunes or substitute raisins or chopped dried apricots.

You can garnish with fresh parsley instead of thyme.

 

Other recipes you might like

  1. Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs (Paleo, Whole30)
  2. Spiced Coconut Milk Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)
  3. Smoky Bacon Chili (Paleo, Whole30)
  4. Cocoa & Sweet Potato Chili (Paleo, Whole30)

a root vegetable stew with chunks of beef in a white bowl on a white wooden table next to an Instant Pot and a sprig of fresh thyme

beef stew with root vegetables in a white bowl on a wooden table next to a floral napkin, an Instant Pot and a sprig of fresh thyme
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Paleo & Whole30 Beef Stew with Fall Spices

This hearty beef stew features tender chunks of beef and root vegetables with warm spices for the perfect bowl of cozy comfort. Plus it's naturally gluten-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef stew, fall food, paleo, whole30
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 2½-3 pounds beef chuck stew meat, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1½" cubes
  • teaspoons fine sea salt, plus ½ teaspoon, divided, and more if necessary
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus ¼ teaspoon divided, and more if necessary
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • beef broth - 3 cups (for the Instant Pot and slow cooker) or 4 cups (for the stovetop)
  • 2½-3 pounds root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and/or parsnips
  • 8 oz. prunes
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Instructions

Instant Pot:

  • In a large mixing bowl, toss the meat with 1½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper.
  • Add 3 tablespoons oil to the insert of the IP. Set it to Sauté and let the oil warm up.
  • Meanwhile, peel and quarter the onion, then slice thinly crosswise.
  • Add the onion, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to the oil, along with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup broth and use a spatula to scrape up all the brown bits at the bottom of the insert, then add the beef and 2 cups broth. Press Cancel/Keep Warm. Lock on the lid and make sure the release knob is in the seal position. Cook for 13 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the root vegetables into 1" cubes. Chop the prunes in half.
  • When the beef is done, immediately release the pressure. Press Cancel/Keep warm. Unlock and remove the lid. Add the vegetables prunes, then lock on the lid again, make sure the release knob is in the seal position, and cook for 2 minutes. Immediately release the pressure. Press Cancel/Keep Warm.
  • Taste and add more salt or pepper, if necessary. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Stovetop:

  • Follow steps 1-4 above, using a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1 cup broth and use a spatula to scrape up all the brown bits at the bottom of the insert, then add the beef and 3 cups broth. Reduce the heat so the stew maintains a simmer, cover partially and let it cook for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the root vegetables into 1" cubes. Chop the prunes in half.
  • Add the veggies and prunes to the pot and let it all cook together, uncovered, for another hour. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if necessary. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Slow Cooker:

  • Follow steps 1-4 above, using a medium frying pan.
  • Add the spiced onion from the frying pan and the seasoned beef to your slow cooker insert.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the root vegetables into 1" cubes. Chop the prunes in half. Add all of this plus 3 cups broth to the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if necessary. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Notes

Note: The time at the beginning for the recipe is for the Instant Pot version.
Make ahead
The stew can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Some fat might rise to the surface. You can either heat it up with the rest of the stew or skim it off.
The stew can also be frozen in airtight container or baggie for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reheat the stew in a saucepan over low heat on the stove.
Substitutions and variations
You can use other kind of peeled, cubed root vegetables, such as butternut squash, pumpkin or acorn squash. I wouldn't use potatoes, however, as they wouldn't be quite right with the spices.
You can omit the prunes or substitute raisins or chopped dried apricots.
You can garnish with fresh parsley instead of thyme.

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