Slow Cooker Paleo Beef Goulash

I did not know Hungary’s national dish was beef goulash until I came across the recipe in pages that I had torn out of a Cooking Light magazine and placed in one of my recipe binders.  As I’ve said before, I am on a mission to pick through the many recipes I have stock-piled to find what is usable… and a keeper!  This particular recipe is in the beef stew family, which is what caught my eye.  There is nothing better than a dish that is hearty and warm… especially in the winter months!  It is characterized by paprika and caraway seeds, both amazing spices.  If you are unfamiliar with caraway seeds, they are the delicious little bits that you find in many types of sausage.

The Cooking Light version of the recipe was already “healthy,” but I wanted to see if I could put my own paleo twist on this classic Hungarian stew.  One of the things I changed was the method of cooking.  The magazine’s recipe didn’t use a slow cooker, but I wanted to be able to focus on other things for a few hours, in addition to assuring the meat was fall-apart tender.  When making this in the slow cooker, browning the meat definitely helps make the meat more flavorful.   I browned the meat in coconut oil without dredging the meat in flour like the recipe suggested.   This recipe doesn’t need the flour for texture, just make sure you have a good pan at the proper temperature.  Nonstick isn’t always the best tool to achieve browned meat because of the surface (as well as the lower temperature suggested).  However, I received a Unison Calphalon pan from our wedding registry that I love.  It is large enough to fit a lot of food, has a lid, and does an amazing job browning proteins quickly.

Another change I made was exchange the fresh tomatoes for canned organic whole tomatoes instead.  That way, I didn’t have to rely on tomatoes being ripe and flavorful this time of year (or anytime of year).  I have been extremely happy with the quality of San Marzano tomatoes, but the Commissary also has Muir Glen Organic which seems to be similar in quality.  They both work perfectly in dishes like this, adding more liquid and depth to the dish.  These tomatoes also have a touch of sea salt, so it cut down on the amount of salt needed later in the recipe.  Feel free to use what products available to you in your grocery, pantry or garden (if you are lucky enough to have one)!

As with many stew variations, this dish traditionally is made with potatoes and/or served noodles.  I was going to chop up carrots to throw into the slow cooker to replace the potato, but decided against it because I didn’t want to alter the flavor too much the first time I made it.  Instead, I thinly chopped a sweet potato to garnish the top with Baked Sweet Potato Fries.  Additionally, we had some Cauliflower Rice leftover, and that worked well to soak up the extra juices from the meat and canned tomatoes.  And as with many slow cooker recipes, I look forward to the flavors being even better the next day!


  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped (I used one yellow, one red)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (or 2 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 2 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 28oz can organic whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth (or one can)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • 1. Rinse chuck roast, pat dry, trim, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2. Heat coconut oil in large, nonstick pan
  • 3. Add beef to pan, browning on all sides (be careful not to overcrowd)
  • 4. Place browned meat in slow cooker
  • 5. Ad onion and garlic to pan, saute until slightly brown
  • 6. Add mixture to slow cooker
  • 7. Add tomato, broth, paprika, red wine vinegar, caraway seeds, bay leaves, and water to slow cooker
  • 8. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 8-10 hours
  • 9. Enjoy!