Craving a hearty beef stew that doesn't require half a day simmering on the stove? Our quick and delicious meatball stew recipe makes it possible!
Packed with tender, savory gluten-free meatballs, this stew combines the wholesome goodness of potatoes, carrots, peas, and a rich beef broth. It's the epitome of comfort food, perfect for a cozy dinner or as a reheatable treat for an easy lunch the next day.
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Why You'll Love This Meatball Stew Recipe
- Comforting - This simple meatball stew recipe will please your whole family. It's warm, hearty and the perfect comfort food for a cold night.
- Easy - This recipe comes together in just about an hour, making it accessible for a weeknight meal.
- Stores Well - This stew stores and reheats well, making it perfect for meal prep.
- Allergen friendly - This recipe is both gluten free and dairy free as written.
- Oil - I have used light flavor olive oil. The oil is only used for sauteeing the onions and celery, so any type of light flavored cooking oil will work.
- Onion & Celery - Provide the base for the stew, which helps to create a more complex flavor in the finished dish.
- Carrots - Cut your carrots into coins about ¼" thick. Carrots tend to take a long time to cook to a tender stage, so they start early in the stew and cook all the way through the simmering stage.
- Garlic - Garlic is another ingredient that is building the flavor for this meatball stew.
- Tomato Paste - Tomatoes are a perfect compliment for beef. Just a little bit of tomato past will give a lot of flavor and a little bit of sweetness to the broth.
- Coconut Aminos - Similar to the tomato paste, this is just another ingredient to add complexity to the flavor of the broth. Coconut aminos are a little bit sweet. If you prefer more savory flavor, you can use gluten free soy sauce instead.
- Salt, Pepper, Rosemary, Thyme and Bay Leaves - All work together to enhance the flavor of the stew. I've used fresh rosemary and thyme, if you use dried then use half the amount called for in the recipe.
- Potatoes - You can't have a beef stew without potatoes. I used some Yukon gold potatoes, but Russet or red potatoes would work just as well. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces before adding them to the pot.
- Gluten Free Meatballs - I used a batch of fully cooked, frozen gluten free meatballs. You can use store bought frozen meatballs or cook them fresh before making the soup. If you're not gluten free, any type of cooked frozen meatball will work.
- Beef Broth - If you're following a gluten free diet, ensure your broth is marked gluten free. This is an ingredient that commonly contains hidden gluten.
- Frozen Peas - I know peas can be controversial, like raisins LOL. If you like them, then add them in at the end of the cooking process. They take very little time to warm through.
- Tapioca Starch and Water - These two ingredients are combined together to make a starch slurry which will thicken the broth to make it into a stew. I've chosen Tapioca starch because it creates a velvety smooth broth and it stays thickened even when chilled and reheated. If you don't use tapioca, you can replace it with arrowroot powder.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Spicy: Add ¼ teaspoon or more of Red Pepper Flakes to add a little kick.
- Umami: Add some mushrooms to bulk up the stew and add some umami flavor.
- Vegetable Swap: Use parsnips in place of carrots for a sweeter flavor profile.
- Dried Herbs: To replace the fresh rosemary and thyme with their dried herb counterparts, use half the amount called for in the recipe.
- Meat Swap: Use plant based meatballs or turkey meatballs for an alternative to beef.
- No peas!: If you don't like peas, you can use frozen green beans or corn in place of the peas. Green beans may take a bit longer to cook.
- Tapioca replacement: Swap tapioca starch for either arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Both work well as a thickener.
How to make Meatball Stew
Everything cooks in one pot in this meatball stew recipe. Using frozen meatballs cuts down on the prep time making this an easy weeknight meal.
STEP 1: Add the oil to a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, celery and carrots. Saute until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
STEP 2: Add the tomato paste, garlic, coconut aminos, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Stir while cooking for 1 minute more.
STEP 3: Add 1 cup of beef broth to the pot. Use your spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
STEP 4: Add the potatoes, frozen meatballs, bay leaves and remaining beef broth to the pot. Stir gently to ensure all of the meatballs are in the liquid. Bring to a simmer, cover then cook for about 20 minutes.
STEP 5: Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the frozen peas to the stew.
STEP 6: Make a slurry of the tapioca starch and water. Pour it into the stew and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes more until the broth has thickened.
Store leftover stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
You can also freeze this stew. I recommend using souper cubes to freeze individual servings. Once they are solid, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag or container and store for up to 3 months.
Red potatoes or Yukon potatoes hold up best to cooking. You can use Russet potatoes too, but they will being to fall apart after boiling. This won't affect the flavor at all.
I have a comprehensive post on making gluten free meatballs including step by step photos. Those same meatballs are the ones I froze and used for this stew recipe.
We enjoy our stew with a side of gluten free garlic bread. Any type of rolls or salad would also be good. Since the stew contains meat, starch and vegetables it is really a full meal on its own.
Other dinner recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Yellow Onion diced
- 1 Cups Carrots sliced into coins
- ½ Cup Celery about 2 stalks, diced
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¾ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme chopped
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Rosemary chopped
- 4 cups Gluten Free Beef Broth
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 pound Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 ½- 2 pounds Frozen Meatballs about 24 meatballs
- 1 ½ Cups Frozen Peas optional
- ¼ cup Tapioca Starch
- 3 Tablespoons Cold Water
- Add the olive oil to a dutch oven pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrots and celery to the pot. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, 1 Cup Yellow Onion, 1 Cups Carrots, ½ Cup Celery
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, coconut aminos, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary to the pot and cook for 1 minute more until fragrant.
- Add 1 cup of beef broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot.4 cups Gluten Free Beef Broth
- Add in the potatoes, frozen meatballs, bay leaves and remaining beef broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tenders and the meatballs are warmed to 165 degrees.1 pound Potatoes, 1 ½- 2 pounds Frozen Meatballs, 2 Bay Leaves
- Once the potatoes are soft. Stir in the peas.1 ½ Cups Frozen Peas
- Combine the tapioca and water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the cooking stew until dissolved. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes until the stew has thickened and the peas are warm.¼ cup Tapioca Starch, 3 Tablespoons Cold Water
- Remove the bay leaf and serve immediately.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.