Savory, hearty, and comforting beef stew is an excellent antidote to cold, dreary days. Let it cook in the slow cooker all day or simmer it in a pot on the stove in the evening. Either way, your kitchen will smell heavenly, and you’ll have dinner ready to go. With chunks of beef, potatoes, and other veggies, beef stew is a meal in itself. But if you don’t want lonely bowls sitting on the table, consider what to serve with beef stew.
Keep in mind that beef stew has a bold, savory flavor and it tends to be rich and filling. Any sides, then, should be lighter and brighter to offset this, or perhaps starchy and unassuming to let the stew take center stage.
Looking for a beef stew recipe? This beef burgundy bourguignon is made in an Instant Pot!
What to Serve with Beef Stew
Ranging from classic to creative, here are a few ideas for what to serve with beef stew.
1. French baguette
Crusty bread is always a great companion to soups and stews, with its chewy texture and ability to sop up the broth at the bowl's bottom. Grab a French baguette at a local bakery or grocery store, or make a fresh loaf of French bread. You could even go wild and turn it into garlic bread for an even more delicious flavor.
2. Mashed potatoes
Yes, beef stew typically contains potatoes; yes, you have my permission to eat potatoes with your potatoes! Mashed potatoes fit that “starchy and unassuming” category of foods that pair well with beef stew, and they’re just plain creamy and delicious. Go for an Irish theme and make colcannon (essentially mashed potatoes with cabbage), or try serving the stew on top of the mashed potatoes. You might never eat it plain in a bowl again!
3. Green salad
Ah, the humble green salad. So simple yet so versatile! Tossed salad goes with just about any meal, and you can throw it together with whatever type of lettuce and fresh veggies you have on hand. Those cool, crisp greens beautifully complement rich, warm beef stew. Serve the salad as an appetizer or alongside the stew. Either way, you can’t go wrong with soup and salad.
4. Cornbread muffins
Cornbread isn’t just for chili. It is also delicious served with beef stew. Slather it with butter, drizzle it with honey, or just enjoy it plain, but you’ll definitely want to eat it warm. And while you can always bake cornbread in an ovenproof skillet or baking pan, it’s also fun to make cornbread muffins or even bake it in a cornpone pan, like this jalapeno cornbread calls for. As an added bonus, it doesn’t contain any gluten!
5. Brussels sprouts
I love some good sauteed Brussels sprouts. They’re crispy and soft and hot and way more delicious than bite-sized cabbages have any right to be. Use butter for the cooking fat and drizzle a generous amount of pure maple syrup over the cooking sprouts, and you have a vegetable that tastes like candy. I would serve these with just about anything, including beef stew.
6. Spinach salad
Like a green salad, spinach salad provides fresh veggies to complement beef stew's soft potatoes and carrots. And being a cool-season vegetable, spinach grows when we’re most likely to eat beef stew, making it a great seasonal side. Plus, it’s full of essential vitamins and antioxidants. You can use spinach just like lettuce to create a salad of your own design or follow recipes like spinach and orange salad.
7. Buttered noodles
To balance out the rich flavor of beef stew, serve something more neutral alongside it, like simple buttered noodles. Egg noodles work great for this. Just toss the cooked, drained noodles with enough butter to coat, then season to taste. Try adding a sprinkle of salt (garlic salt would be delicious!), parsley, parmesan, or maybe all three.
8. Broccoli salad
Broccoli is another cool-season crop you can find locally grown, especially in the fall and spring, to go with your beef stew. Chop up a head of broccoli and toss it with dressing and a handful of mix-ins to create a broccoli salad that will have everyone gobbling down their veggies. It’s crunchy, sweet, and irresistible.
9. Kale chips
Wait! Don’t skip over this one. Even if kale isn’t your thing — it’s chewy, leafy, sometimes a bit bitter, and green — kale chips are a whole different beast. Just like other types of chips, kale chips are crispy, salty, and hard to stop eating. They’re especially good seasoned with garlic and parmesan. This might be it if you’re looking for a light, healthy, delicious beef stew side.
10. Rice pilaf
Yet another neutral, starchy option, rice pilaf, lets the beef stew shine as the star of the meal but still has a good flavor of its own. Even plain rice seasoned with butter, salt, or some lemon juice would be a good side. But if you have the time and feel inspired, a simple rice pilaf kicks things up a notch. Use brown rice to get in a serving of whole grains!
11. Sweet potato salad
Rather than neutral flavors, you can balance the rich beef stew with something sweet, like sweet potato onion pecan salad. Both healthy and delicious, this salad offers the sweet potatoes' sweetness and the onions and pecans' crunchiness to round out a beef stew meal. A tangy molasses honey vinaigrette really brings out the flavors.
Rich and hearty beef stew might seem like a solo act, but it only gets better when served with the right sides. Choose one or two of the delicious options listed above, and enjoy!
More Soup Side Dish Ideas
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- what to serve with beef stew