Beef stew is one of those dishes that leave you feeling happy and satisfied, and making a homemade stew is even better. Making the stew is pretty straightforward, but figuring out what to serve it with can be tricky.
So what can you serve with beef stew?
Beef stew is a versatile dish and can be served with several tasty sides, such as mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese biscuits, egg noodles, brown rice, and cabbage. Other popular options include a green salad, roasted vegetables, a French baguette, and quinoa.
If you’re looking for the best side dishes to go with your tasty beef stew, this guide has the best options.
What Is Beef Stew?
Although it’s unclear exactly when and where beef stew originated, archaeological evidence suggests it was a staple diet for the Vikings and Europeans throughout the Middle Ages. In prehistoric times, it’s been suggested that man would cook a basic “stew” (after the discovery of fire) in a turtle shell.
According to the history books, a beef stew is simply a combination of two or more food types (preferably a vegetable and meat) that are simmered in a liquid.
But it’s so much more than that.
Beef stew has the potential to be the ultimate comfort food, especially on those cold and miserable days. It’s a one-pot dish made with healthy vegetables and meat cooked to perfection in a rich and savory gravy.
Stew is often confused with soup, as they are both filled with a medley of vegetables, potatoes, meat, and aromatic spices that are cooked in a liquid until tender.
The main difference is that soup has more liquid, and the stew has a thick gravy that can be served over different starches. Also, soup is usually served as a starter, whereas stew is always the main course.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients found in a simple and tasty homemade recipe for a beef stew:
- 2 lbs of cubed beef chuck
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of flour (you can substitute this with gluten-free flour)
- 2 cups of beef broth or stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (softens the meat beautifully)
- 2 large potatoes
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- ¼ cup of tomato paste
- 1 chopped onion
- Vegetables of your choice such as carrots, baby marrow, and yellow and green pepper
Top Tip: If you want your beef to be melt-in-your-mouth tender, fry the beef with some fresh chopped tomatoes before adding other ingredients. Tomatoes contain acids that speed up the meat tenderizing process.
7 Best Options to Serve With Beef Stew
A good beef stew is perfect on its own, but adding a side dish makes it so much better. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best options to serve with beef stew:
- Mashed potatoes are another comfort food that pairs well with a saucy beef stew. Add some sour cream and butter to your mashed potatoes and serve it on the side or simply cover the mash with the beef stew.
- Serving a beef stew with cheddar cheese biscuits will tickle your tastebuds. This combo works very well together and looks great on the table.
- If you want something that brings a fresh and healthy crunch to your stew, make a simple green salad with a tasty vinaigrette dressing.
- Egg noodles are perfect for thickening your beef stew and absorbing the flavors well.
- Serving beef stew on a bed of brown rice is always a good idea. Brown rice is high in fiber and compliments the stew.
- Serving oven-roasted vegetables with your stew adds color to your plate.
- Another excellent option to serve with beef stew is cabbage. Just before you’re ready to serve dinner, lay some cabbage (don’t shred it) on top of the beef stew in the pot and close the lid.
After about 15 minutes, the cabbage will be soft and juicy (it absorbs a lot of the sauce), and you can serve it on the side.
What Vegetables Can You Add to Beef Stew?
Vegetables are a very important part of beef stew as they absorb all the delicious flavors and cook slowly with the meat.
When selecting your vegetables, you must ensure to choose veggies that will complement the taste of the meat and not overpower it.
Root vegetables are always a winner in stews, but you can add other options too.
Here’s a list of vegetables that you can add to your beef stew:
- Fresh or frozen peas
- Green beans
- Butter beans
- Red and black beans
- Yellow squash
- Artichoke hearts
- Aubergine (eggplant)
Did you know? The word stew comes from the French word “estuier,” which means to enclose. You “enclose” the meat and vegetables in one pot and let them cook to perfection.
What Is a Good Side Dish for Beef Stew?
One of the most amazing side dishes that goes very well with a hearty beef stew is a good helping of quinoa. Unlike rice, quinoa is a gluten-free whole-grain carbohydrate with far fewer calories and carbohydrates than white rice.
So if you have potatoes in your stew, you won’t need to feel guilty about adding more carbohydrates to your dish. Quinoa also absorbs all the flavor from the savory gravy your stew is simmering in.
Adding quinoa as a side dish provides excellent minerals and amino acids. Plus, it’s really quick and easy to cook quinoa; it takes around 20 minutes.
What Kind of Bread Goes With Beef Stew?
Most bread goes well with beef stew. However, one of the best options has to be the famous French baguette. This is a thin, long loaf of bread (perfect for sharing with guests or family) with a crispy crust.
You can cut the baguette into slices, slather it with butter, or simply tear pieces off and dip it into the stew. The bread will absorb the stew, softening the bread, and it tastes divine.
Top Tip: If you don’t like the texture of soggy bread, you can drizzle some olive oil over the baguette and eat it alongside the stew.
My Last Foodie Thoughts
Nothing is more comforting than a hot bowl of stew served with an excellent side dish. When it comes to stews, the sky’s the limit, and this versatile dish can be paired with many amazing and easy side dishes.
The great thing about stew is that it goes a long way, and if you have any leftovers, you can eat it the next day with a new side dish.
Sometimes it tastes even better, as the flavors have had a chance to mix with one another.