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Slow cooker beef, barley, and root vegetable stew – aka allergy friendly stew

January 25, 2012

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on my post about food allergies, either on facebook or directly on the blog. It was really interesting getting your insights. In particular, I am now very curious about the role that genetically modified foods may play in food allergies after your comments.

I may try to do some research about genetically modified foods and write a post about it in the future, but today I want to share a recipe I came up with to try to feed both me and Ben with our various food intolerances and allergies.

If you are making this stew and you don’t have any food allergies, you may want to add a couple of extra ingredients (I would have added red wine and tomato paste). However, Ben and I both really enjoyed this stew, and I was quite impressed that it came out so well considering how many ingredients we couldn’t have! Therefore, I thought I would post the recipe, and you can make it for a comforting winter meal just as it is, add a few things to spice it up, or keep it in mind in case you need to cook for someone with lots of food allergies!

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that this stew is safe for everyone with food allergies. It is still important to find out what someone is allergic to, and check each individual ingredient (e.g. some vegetable stock cubes contain soya or tomato, others do not; in addition, some people may be allergic to barley or onions or another ingredient on the list). For more information, please see my main disclaimer.

Slow Cooker Beef, Barley, and Root Vegetable Stew

Slow Cooker Beef, Barley, and Root Vegetable Stew

Serves: 6


450 grams (approximately 1 lb) stewing beef

3 carrots

1 swede (called a rutabaga in the US)

1 tsp olive oil

1 onion

3 medium potatoes

1 cup pearl barley

1.25 liters vegetable or beef stock (I used 1.5 vegetable stock cubes)

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

1 tbsp fresh thyme

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp nutritional/brewer’s yeast (optional)


Turn your slow cooker on high to get the temperature up. Add olive oil and chopped onion, and stir occasionally.

Chop the rest of the vegetables, and add to the slow cooker along with the vegetable stock and the barley (I used pearl barley because it was all they had at the grocery store, but you could also use pot barley for extra nutrition).

While this mixture heats up, chop the rosemary and thyme and place in a small to medium mixing bowl, along with the flour. Note: I set aside a small amount of rosemary and thyme for garnish when serving.

Chop the beef if necessary (I used pre-chopped), and add this to the bowl. Stir thoroughly to coat the beef in the spiced flour mixture. This flour will help to thicken the stew when it is cooking.

Once the mixture in the slow cooker is thoroughly heated through (this is important because you want the beef to heat up quickly), add the beef to the mixture and stir through.

Leave the slow cooker on high for approximately four or five hours stirring occasionally if you are at home, or turn to low and leave for approximately eight hours.

At the end of cooking (to retain as much of the nutritional yeast’s vitamin content as possible), I added the nutritional yeast to give the stew a slightly creamy, cheesy flavor.

Garnish with fresh thyme and rosemary, and add a sprinkling of salt and black pepper to taste.

Note: As mentioned above, I think it would have been delicious with a tablespoon or two of tomato paste and half a cup or a cup of red wine added before leaving it for hours. If I added these things, I probably would leave out the nutritional yeast.

This stew was also delicious left over, but it does continue to thicken when you finish cooking it, so it become almost solid. If you want it to be more stew-like, I would suggest adding a small amount of water or vegetable stock when re-heating.

IBS Note: Since I know that meat is harder on my stomach than veggies, I made sure to include plenty of soluble fiber (e.g., potatoes) and vegetables which are easy on my stomach.

Hope you enjoy!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 8:12 pm

    Is a swede a rutabaga, or something similar? (I’m guessing from the photo, haha)

    • January 25, 2012 9:57 pm

      Good question! I just did a bit of research (i.e., a quick google search ;-)), and found that a swede is in fact a rutabaga, as you guessed! I must admit, I thought it was the same as a turnip, but it is technically a rutabaga, or yellow turnip. I will make a note of this in the recipe. Thanks for asking!


  2. January 26, 2012 1:01 am

    This looks so good! I need to try this with millet! I bet it would be a great sub for the barley. Oh and love ruttabagas! Perfect in a stew!

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