What to Serve with Beef Stew: 15 Enticing Side Dishes
You can contentedly smell the beef, sauce, vegetables, and herbs simmering on the stove top when the sudden thought pops into your head, “What to serve with beef stew?”
We’re here to help.
Whether the beef stew is French (boeuf Bourguignon), a braised Northern Italian short rib stew, a Polish Hunter’s stew (bigos), a Mexican beef and vegetable stew, or a Persian ghormeh sabzi, we’ve got you covered.
Beef stew sides range from different types of baked goods to roasted veggies or crisp salads loaded with citrus flavors to help coax out all the subtle and nuanced flavors of the slow braised meat.
And all the sides love every type of the stew.
Speaking of love, what is it that makes tough cuts of beef coated in flour and browned in fat so desirable?
Well, we can’t overlook the fact that it’s an inexpensive way to feed a crowd. For at least one day, if not two.
And what is it about beef stew that makes it more delectable the next day? We know there are scientific reasons for it, but we just prefer to think of it as a little gift from the refrigerator gods.
The fact that the base of the stew is from inexpensive cuts of beef is an attraction in and of itself. When cooking on a budget, having a protein that won’t bust the proverbial pocketbook is a really nice bonus.
Also, the vegetables we combine with the meat tend to be inexpensive root vegetables. And the veggies that aren’t root vegetables can be substituted with frozen ones.
Hello, itty bitty lil’ frozen peas! Hello, frozen baby pearl onions!
And of course, the biggest attraction to beef stew is the aroma and taste.
Is there anything more comforting than walking into a warm kitchen on a cold night and smelling the meat gravy, tender potatoes, carrots, and onions, along with parsley, bay leaves, and thyme?
It warms you to your bones as you wipe the condensation off the kitchen windows and happily inhale deeply.
Our List of What Goes with Beef Stew -- Prepare to Salivate
When it comes to sides for beef stew – we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites. We hope they make your mouth water too.
Let’s start tossing the beef in flour and get it into a large Dutch oven. We have some fun options to make while it braises.
1. Crusty French Baguettes
When it comes to beef stew, there’s something utterly pleasurable about sopping up that slow-braised gravy with a good French baguette.
Light, airy, crunchy goodness dipped into deeply flavored beef drippings combined with flour, herbs, and perhaps a touch of brandy – there’s something incredibly rustic and primal about it all. Look, Ma! I’m using my hands as eating utensils!
Check out a fantastic recipe for a 4-hour baguette recipe from Marisa over at All Our Way here: allourway.com
2. Best Green Salad in the World
Simple, simplistic, pared down, scaled down, elegance at its finest: Yes, it’s the perfect green salad.
When diving into a hot bowl of Northern Italian short rib stew, the contrast between crisp greens and decadently rich beefy flavors play against each other perfectly.
We like this recipe because it’s simply romaine, onions, parmesan, and a citrus vinaigrette. No muss. No fuss.
Nothing to distract from the delicate dance of flavors in the bowl of short rib stew.
It’s like the little black dress of palate cleansers.
Check out Edyta’s recipe over at Eating European right here: eatingeuropean.com
3. Perfect Brown Rice
What goes perfectly with brown stew? How about brown rice!
It’s nutty and earthy, and has enough flavor to stand up to the rich beef – but doesn’t overwhelm it.
We also love it because it’s so versatile. Think of any beef stew combination in the world, and then think about how deliciously it would pair with brown rice.
Mmmm. Just like Chef Anne Burrell likes to say, “Brown food tastes good!”
Gina has a foolproof recipe over at Skinny Taste. Check it out here: skinnytaste.com
4. Best Instant Pot White Rice
While the beef stew is bubbling merrily and aromatically on the stove top, why not cook your last-minute starch in an instant pot? It’s the perfect add-on to a wonderfully rich main dish.
Finish it with herbs and maybe a pat of butter, and you’ll have the perfect side dish.
Of course, if you want to metaphorically turn into the skid, and make the rice equally as rich as the beef stew, you could also cook it in bone broth.
So much decadence in such a short amount of time. Thank you, instant pot!
Grab the recipe from Erin at Platings and Pairings here: platingsandpairings.com
5. Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad
When we think of what to serve with beef stew, we do love a bright and colorful one.
And this Brussels sprouts salad is exactly what we’re dreaming of.
Deep green Tuscan kale.
Earthy and sweet candied walnuts.
Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man.
Can you imagine a salad that’s nearly as scrumptious for the eyes as it is on the palate?
And this one over at What’s Gaby Cooking fits our imagination perfectly. Grab the link to Gaby’s recipe here: whatsgabycooking.com
6. BEST DINNER ROLLS
Beef stew always seem happier, perkier, and slightly more regal when accompanied by a leavened or unleavened bread, be it baguette, a rustic loaf, salty crackers or…
…very buttery dinner rolls.
The combination of richness meeting richness seems a little fairytale-esque.
“How do you do?”
“Mighty fine. How do you do?”
They curtsy around each other and extend their hands.
Then they dance around the dinner plate.
Or maybe that’s just our daydream about the perfect combination of beef, veggies, and carbs waltzing under chandeliers.
Check out this recipe from Trish at Mom On Timeout to understand what we mean: momontimeout.com
7. Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Oh, come on.
You’ve got to be kidding us with this.
When we were contemplating rich mashed potatoes with beef stew, we hadn’t really ruminated on how luscious they could be.
We were just thinking about perfectly smooth potatoes with a kiss of butter.
But when you add sour cream into the mix of mashed potatoes paired with slow braised beef and veggies, come on.
This is too good for words.
Grab Rachel’s amazing recipe from Feast and Farm here: feastandfarm.com
8. Caesar Salad
Classics are classics for a reason. Chuck Taylor sneakers with blue jeans? Check.
A sports coat with a button down? Nice.
Shorts with Vans? Absolutely.
An upsweep hairdo accented with delicate flowers? Of course.
A crisp salad with crunchy croutons and parmesan sitting on the same table as beef stew? That’s as natural as any fashion choice that could ever be made.
We do love the classics.
Check out Joanna’s Caesar salad from Cup of Jo to see what we mean: cupofjo.com
9. Creamy Polenta
Do you know what beef stew loves? Polenta.
Creamy and rich. Savory with a hint of sweetness. This is the side dish that beef stew is begging for.
We love it cut into blocks or served up as creamy as mashed potatoes.
When we think about it though, we do tend to think about it served with a deeply flavored and rich beef stew.
Cornmeal and butter? Oh, yeah.
Sonja and Alex over at A Couple Cooks have a recipe that works perfectly in concert with how we love polenta as a side: acouplecooks.com
10. Cauliflower Parsnip Mash
Cauliflower is flowery and starchy. Parsnips are rooty and earthy. And we love the thought of the two of them together with a succulent beef stew.
Then turn those flavors into a silky smooth mash? Just luscious. Now imagine those supple textures and mouthwatering flavors in between bites of a hearty beef stew.
Well, hello! Get ready to do your happy dance.
Jeanine and Jack have the perfect combination of the two over on Love and Lemons, and they marry perfectly with stew. Check out the recipe here: loveandlemons.com
11. Perfectly Roasted Potatoes
One of the best parts of traditional beef stew is the potatoes that are so tender they’re falling apart.
However, why not pair those potatoes with crunchy and garlicy potatoes that actually sound like baguette breaking when you bite into them?
Mmmm. Crunchy potatoes.
Be sure to check out Carina’s video recipe. She describes making the crisp roasted potatoes of our communal stew side dish dreams.
12. Wedge Salad
While our minds are on traditional beef stew, that leads us to ruminate on another classic – the steak house wedge salad.
Beef served alongside frosty iceberg lettuce topped with bacon and blue cheese?
We found a fun recipe with detailed instructions on how to properly “wedge” the salad with some beautiful plating.
Hello, wedge-a-licious goodness!
Stephanie over at The Cozy Cook gives you the rundown: thecozycook.com
13. Perfect Couscous
When it comes to any type of beef stew, couscous always seems like an overlooked gem of a side.
It soaks up flavors like nobody’s business, has a delectable texture, and the grains look like little golden gems in the bottom of the bowl. Hey, pretty!
And imagine couscous with the Persian beef and bean stew ghormeh sabzi.
We went on a search for some videos featuring a cool couscous recipe, and we came back with one.
Mission Couscous accomplished!
Check out Raoul and Miriam’s video tutorial here:
14. Turkish Rice Pilaf with Orzo
Rice and pasta. Pasta and rice.
You may not think of the two as living together in perfect harmony, but, boy, oh, boy, do they.
We thought it might be fun to have a colorful couple of starches together to help greedily soak up the delicious beef stew sauce.
And we were right.
Check out this fun recipe from Zerrin at Give Recipe, and photographed by Yusuf, and indulge in a little pilaf-ey deliciousness: giverecipe.com
15. Tomato Salad
It’s always visually and texturally appealing to have a little cooling contrast to hot and hearty stew. And what looks gorgeous next to a brown stew?
We think the perfect answer to that question is a bright red, yellow, and green tomato salad.
The sweetness of the tomatoes with the richness of a multi-layered umami-laden bowl of goodness is a combination made in heaven.
This salad is the perfect excuse to hit up a local farmers market and come home with pints and pints of colorful cherry tomatoes.
Whip up a fast vinaigrette and you have the perfect side dish to your beef stew.
Check out Holly’s recipe at Spend with Pennies: spendwithpennies.com
What to Serve with Beef Stew Overtime
While we talked about some amazing beef stew side dishes, we still have a little bit more ground to cover.
Let’s talk about the smaller dishes that revolve around the table with the sides.
How about crunchy dill pickles? What about pickled beets? How about dilly beans?
The bright, aromatic undertones of dill and vinegar play perfectly with the rich flavors of beef stew.
And while we’re talking about pickles, don’t forget about bread and butter pickles.
The mildly sweet brine encompassing cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers is always the perfect accompaniment to a richly flavored savory dish.
But, But, But, What About Butter?
We had a couple of delectable bread recipes included in our side dishes, which makes our mind wander to homemade butter.
If you have a food processor sitting on their counter, you can make homemade, delectable, amazing, astoundingly flavorful, jaw-droppingly-delicious homemade butter, in less time than it takes to walk to the car and drive to the store.
So, when planning last minute sides for your beef stew, add “delicious homemade butter” to your list.
You’ll thank yourself.
Related Meals, More Great Sides
Check out these side dishes for your other favorite beefy meals.
- Pot Roast sides: Another tender meat, comfort food favorite.
- Meatloaf sides: If you like beef stew, you know you love meatloaf.
- Ratatouille sides: Get your stew without the meat for a change.
- Shepherd’s Pie sides: It’s just as homey, with similar ingredients.
- Beef Stroganoff sides: Amazing aroma while it cooks leads to the utmost satisfaction when eating.