Help me rethink my stew recipe

I often like to make stews in the wintertime, particularly beef, sausage, rabbit, or seafood.

Generally, I like to put—

— white onions
— celery
— carrots
— potatoes
— green peas
— green bell peppers (capsicum)
— brussels sprouts
— thyme
— black pepper
— salt
— olive oil

Occasionally, other root vegetables, like parsnips and turnips, or greens like kale.

But I’m trying to increase the fiber, and decrease the starchy/sweet carbohydrates, so the potatoes and carrots are out. I need to figure out what to replace them with.

My wife doesn’t like okra in stew, so that’s out.

I don’t like spinach or chard. I occasionally like collard greens or mustard greens, but not in a stew or soup. I might have to just bite the bullet and just put these in anyway.

I eat broccoli or cauliflower or garbanzos (chick peas) almost daily, but I don’t like their texture for stew. And my favorite zucchini (courgettes) and yellow squash just fall apart and become muck in soups.

I’m eyeing canned beans, perhaps—I’ve got some cannellini beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, and black beans on the shelf. Should I try green beans?

What do you all think? What high-fiber, low carb vegetables do you like in stew?

Black beans are great in stews with lamb. Also add a bay leaf. It makes the most interesting difference in stew. Just one for a regular size pot. 2 is one too many. But, yeah, beans oughta go far in making your stew substantial.

I am generally not a fan of greens (as in foliage–green peppers are fine) in a stew, except as a last-minute drop or a garnish. That said, green onions and/or bok choy, added in the last few minutes of cooking, might fit the bill.

Hmm … bok choy, or regular cabbage could be an option. But I might try the beans first. I’m thinking the white beans would go well with rabbit or seafood, and red beans with beef and sausage? Does that sound right?

Red beans with sausage (as in red beans & rice) is a traditional pairing where I come from; they would probably be the best choice with beef as well. I’ve seen white beans in plenty of seafood soups and in rabbit cassoulet, so that would also be a traditional and likely reliable pairing.

Since I dislike beans in general, though, I can’t give you a personal recommendation.

Red lentils, cooked for more than a half hour, can kind of dissolve and turn into a thickener, while also adding some nice flavor and fiber and nutrients.

Sweet potatoes are root veggies but with lots of fiber and nutrients. And I wouldn’t get rid of carrots, which have plenty of fiber, IIRC.

Cabbage is another good choice.

I love whole mushrooms in stews.

I always add a can of cut green beans to the pot when I make beef stew. To be totally honest I started doing it because when I was getting food from the food pantry they always gave me a can of them and I ended up with nearly a dozen cans in the cupboard. I figured I could eat them if I just mixed them into a stew. It turned out fine; I actually ended buying some cans to add my stew when I make it now.

I’m sure your stew is delicious, but this brings back bad memories of my SIL’s first attempt a making beef stew.

She put fresh string beans in it that added to the off flavor of the stew. Plus I’m not sure what type of beef she used, but it had literally fallen into shreds. She proudly brought some over for us to eat (my Mom, Dad, GF and I) and the three of us (except my Mom) had a stomachache that night, even my Dad who had a cast iron stomach. When we asked my Mom if she had a stomachache the next day, she said no and would eat some of the delicious stew again (she doted on my SIL and we’re sure she lied). The rest of the stew when down the garbage disposal.

When I later asked my brother about it, he said he got sick from it too and my SIL tossed the rest of her portion too. I’ve never eaten anything my SIL (who never cooked before she got married) made since.

Corn goes pretty well in beef stew, with or without the black beans. I use a mix, about 70/30, of black and kidney beans in mine.

You might also try a palmful of crushed walnuts, but they tend to glop at the bottom, so frequent stirring is necessary.

Hominy works wellin stews.

Barley is a classic

I really want vegetables, not cereals like barley, hominy, or corn, although (or because) I find them all delicious.

A few Asian alternatives to potatoes:

Long squash (hyotan) or Winter Melon (tung gwa) - Both have a smooth soft texture like a potato with long squash having a slightly stronger flavor/bitter bite than winter melon. You have to be careful not to overcook them, especially long squash which will disappear if you cook it too long.

Kabocha - Very mild pumpkin like flavor, though less sweet. unlike the long squash and winter melon, you can leave the skin on and eat everything. Be careful though, if you overcook it, it will disappear.

Japanese long radish (daikon) - Strong radish, slightly bitter flavor and slightly gritty unlike the above. Stands up to long cooking though and absorbs flavors well. A staple in Japanese stew (oden).

Edit: Firm tofu or tofu that’s been pressed to remove most of the water. Gives you a slightly firm bite like potato and absorbs flavors well.

I prefer yellow or Spanish onionto white for cooking down in stews, soups and chili.
Even when I’m low carbing, I look the other way when it comes to carrot in a stew. The color and sweetness are worth the carb ding. And one carrot in a pot of food isn’t too significant, anyway.
Zucchini is ok if you add it toward the end of the cook.
Beans aren’t what I’d consider low carb though they’re obviously nothing compared to potatoes.
No tomato?

I use zucchini (courgettes) a lot. They are my substitute for cucumbers in salads. In hot dishes I mandolin them in raw just before serving. They cook enough like that in soups, stews and vegetable mash.

Rather than adding beans to the stew, you could mash them as a bed to serve the stew. Similarly, with cauliflower and broccoli, you could “rice” them to serve the stew on.

I would keep the carrot in the recipe and not eat it otherwise you lose its contribution to the stew. I have always done that with stew flavorings - the mushy celery, carrot, parsnips etc have given up all their taste to the stew. If you want them as part of the dish prepare new ones.

If you like earthy flavors, there’s burdock root (gobo). The texture when cooked is similar to carrot, but less sweet and more earthy. Don’t get any that’s more than 3/4" thick at the base as it will be really stringy and woody.

Also, what about parsnips which are less sweet than carrots.

There’s also yamaimo (literally mountain yam) and the similar Chinese yam which aren’t starchy like potatoes and have a very mild flavor. Be careful though, like okra they have a slightly slimy texture that gets slimier the more you cook them.

Speaking of slimy, there’s araimo (dasheen) which is part of the taro group. The secret to peeling araimo is to do it dry. Once it’s get’s wet, the surface gets really slimy. And there’s taro itself. I believe both are less starchy and healthier than potatoes.

Lots of great suggestions! I have to run them all by my wife, because she doesn’t appreciate my random experiments.

I forgot to list tomato paste and sometimes tomato sauce, just for color and a bit of zing. I don’t like biting into a chunk of tomato, the same way I don’t like biting into a chunk of ginger or coriander or cloves. But that’s also sweet, so I might make the next batch without it.