Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Gluten Free

Categories: Main Dishes - Beef    

A tomato rich beef stew, made with fresh tomatoes, peas and carrots. This delicious stew is great served with mashed potatoes and a fresh green salad, for a tasty gluten free meal the whole family will enjoy.

Beef stew with carrots and peas in a bowl
Image by: Thora Toft

Prep time: 20 to 30 minutes Cook time: 2:40 hours Makes: 4 to 6 servings Difficulty: Medium

Gluten free Dairy free option Egg free Grain free Soy free

This stew turns out nice and tender, even when using tougher cuts of beef. The secret is cooking it for a couple hours or more.

Use all organic ingredients. Ensure all the dried spices are labeled certified gluten free, and if using any packaged or canned items, be sure they are labeled gluten free.

How To Make Homemade Beef Stew with Fresh Tomatoes (or canned tomatoes) - Step By Step:

How to make beef stew how to steps 1 to 4
Image by: Thora Toft
  1. This dish is made with stewing beef, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery, fresh peas, carrots, hot pepper (optional), lime juice, fat for frying, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. (image 1)
  2. Prepare and chop the fresh vegetables. (image 2)
  3. Boil tomatoes with some water, and smash the tomatoes into a nice sauce. (image 3)
  4. Add dried spice and lime juice to the tomatoes, and continue to simmer. (image 4)
How to make beef stew how to steps 5 to 8
Image by: Thora Toft
  1. Fry the onions, garlic and celery in hot fat until soft. (image 5)
  2. Add onion mixture to tomato mixture, and continue to simmer. (image 6)
  3. Brown the stewing beef in fat until evenly browned. You don't need to completely cook it, just get it nice and brown. You may get some pan juices from the meat. This is fine and adds a nice flavor to the stew. (image 7)
  4. Add the browned beef, pan juices and any brown bits from the pan to the tomato mixture. Add water, and simmer for 2 to 4 hours. Check every 30 minutes and add water, so it doesn't dry out. After desired time, add carrots and cook for 10 minutes. Add peas and cook another 10 minutes. Reduce excess liquid if needed, by increasing the heat for a few minutes. (image 8)
  5. Serve with some potatoes or side of your choice, and a salad, for a delicious "down home" meal. (image 9)
Pro tips for perfect beef stew:
  • Fresh tomatoes really make this stew a lot better, and especially if you can get an organic heirloom variety, with a lot of flavor.
  • Frying the onions and other vegetables brings out the flavor a lot better. If you have bacon grease to fry it in, that would be even better, and would give it a wonderful richer flavor.
  • Adding water periodically through the cooking time, rather than putting a whole lot in all at once, will improve the flavor. It will allow the flavor to blend much better, and get into the meat better.
Substitutions and Notes:
  • Black pepper and fresh hot pepper: If you like hot and spicy food, then adding in a small, diced hot pepper will give it a good kick. Even 1 teaspoon of black pepper adds some kick, all by itself. If you don't want it spicy, skip the hot pepper, and you can even reduce the black to 1/2 teaspoon (or even 1/4 teaspoon).
  • Cooked beef: This stew will work well with already cooked beef. Cut the cooked beef into large bite sized pieces. Reduce the "2 hour" cook time down to 1 hour. If you want more of a shredded beef stew, keep the pieces larger. Cook until the beef is soft enough to shred, then shred with 2 forks. This can be done just before adding the carrots.
  • Canned tomatoes: Though this stew is best when using fresh tomatoes, you can use canned. Use a 28 ounce can, heat them and mash them, and continue on with the rest of the recipe. Use the best quality tomatoes you can get, preferrably organic. You want tomatoes that are only tomatoes, and maybe water and salt. Be careful to avoid canned tomatoes with additives. The additives can cause stomach upset in many people. Be sure also to buy organic. Non organic tomatoes are allowed to use red food dye that is not required to be labeled. They use it in the field, prior to harvest, in some of the other substances used in commercial farming. Organic tomatoes will not have this food dye used on them.
  • Freezing: This stew freezes very well. Make extra, and freeze in family serving size portions. You can double the recipe, or even triple or more, based on the size of your pot. Thaw it in the fridge over night, and heat up for a quick and easy meal. It keeps in the freezer for about 4 months, when kept in well sealed containers.
Beef stew with peas and carrots, garnished with celery leaves
Image by: Thora Toft
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Beef Stew with Fresh Tomatoes

Prep time: 20 to 30 minutes Cook time: 2:40 hours Makes: 4 to 6 servings Difficulty: Medium

Gluten free Dairy free option Egg free Grain free Soy free
2 to 3 large Tomatoes, chopped small
1 Lime (or 1/2 lemon)
2 to 3 tablespoons Dried oregano
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Sea salt, or to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 cloves Garlic, minced or finely chopped
2 stalks Celery, with tops, chopped
1 large Onion, chopped
1 very small Hot pepper, chopped finely (optional)
2 tablespoons Butter, coconut oil or meat drippings
1 1/2 pounds Stewing beef
2 tablespoons Butter, coconut oil or meat drippings
1 cup Fresh peas
1 large Carrot, peeled and chopped into small bite sized pieces
Substitutions and Notes:
  • Black pepper: Note that even 1 teaspoon of black pepper will give a bit of kick to this dish. So, if you don't want it too spicy, use less black pepper.
  • Canned tomatoes: You can use canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes, if desired. Use a 28 ounce can of plain canned tomatoes - any plain variety of your choice. Simply heat them up, smash them, and continue with the rest of the recipe.
  • Dairy free: Use coconut oil or meat drippings instead of butter for frying the onion mixture, and for browning the beef.
  • Cooked beef: This stew can be made using already cooked beef. Cut the beef into cubes, and add to tomato onion mixture. Cook for 1/2 to 1 hour, then add peas and carrots as in the recipe and finish off as normal.
  • Chop tomatoes, and place in a deep pot. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, to soften. As the tomatoes start to soften, smash them with a spoon, to break them up.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lime into the tomatoes, and add oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Stire and continue to simmer.
  • Chop garlic, celery, onion and hot pepper (if using). Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables when butter starts to bubble. Saute for about 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. It is not necessary for them to brown.
  • Add onion mixture to tomatoes, and stir to combine. Continue simmering. Add water when needed. You want to keep the mixture moist as it cooks, so keep adding water whenever it gets too thick. In the last 20 minutes before it is ready, you'll allow the moisture to reduce, but not until then.
  • Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the frying pan. When butter starts to bubble, add stewing meat. Cook to get a nice brown on all sides. It is not necessary to cook all the way through, just get a nice browning on the meat. You may have juices come out of the meat. This is fine, and will provide added flavor to the stew.
  • When the meat is evenly browned, add to the tomato mixture. Be sure to also add any liquid from browning the meat, or any brown bits in the pan; this will add flavor to the stew. Add water to the mixture. You want a fair amount of liquid in it at this point, and you will continue to add water as the stew cooks, whenever it needs it.
  • Cover the pot, and put on low or medium low heat. You want it to be simmering. With the lid on, it will take less heat than was needed prior to this. You will cook it for at least 2 hours, and you can go up to 4 hours, if desired. Tougher cuts of meat may take longer to get tender. Check on it every 1/2 hour, and give it a stir, and add water if needed.
  • Chop the carrots into small bite sized pieces. Set aside with peas until they are needed.
  • When the stew has been cooking for as long as you want, you can now add the carrots. Don't add too much water, as you'll be starting to reduce the liquid for the next 20 minutes. You will need liquid to cook the carrots, just don't put in too much. Cook for 10 minutes. Add peas, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • If there's too much liquid after the peas have cooked for 10 minutes, take the lid off and turn the heat up to medium or medium high. Let it come to a boil, and it will boil off some of the liquid. Stir every 3 to 4 minutes, until it is the desired thickness. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.

Serve with some mashed potatoes and a fresh salad.


  • This stew freezes really well. After cooking, let cool, then place the desired amount into freezer safe containers and freeze. This will keep for about 4 months in well sealed containers in the freezer. Thaw it in the fridge overnight, then heat up and serve.
  • You can double, triple or even quadruple this recipe. Your only limitation will be how big of a pot you have. This makes a great quick meal for your family when you plan ahead.
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