Sweet potato noodles are great as an alternative to pasta, and serve as a perfect vehicle for this hearty, nourishing beef ragu. This Italian inspired meal is a must-have for any season.
This paleo and Whole30-friendly beef ragu is a tasty alternative to a Bolognese sauce. It’s made with diced beef steak stewed in a broth of tomatoes, herbs, spices and beef stock. The beef is super tender and is shredded at the end of the cooking process so that the meat can really incorporate into the sauce.
You can make a beef ragu on a stove top (like in this recipe), in a slow-cooker (I suggest 4 hours on HIGH or 6 on MEDIUM), or in an Instant Pot (much, much quicker!). I share the Instant Pot version of this beef ragu here.
For the sweet potato noodles, you really need a vegetable spiralizer. I use a Paderno spiralizer, which is very affordable and can be bought online and in many stores. It’s great for paleo cooking as you can make all sorts of funky pasta-like dishes: zucchini prawn arrabbiata, celeriac carbonara and more.
The sweet potato noodles are roasted for only a short time. We want to cook them slightly while retaining some of the crunch for that ‘al dente’ texture. I usually spiralize one large sweet potato for 2 people or 2 medium ones. Adjust the amount based on how many servings you need. The ragu recipe is for 4-5 servings.
This shredded beef ragu is even better the next day and is perfect for batch cooking, freezing and meal prepping. If you want a lower-carb/more keto friendly meal, you can serve it with zucchini noodles or with a side of vegetables, as I did with the leftovers.
For the beef ragu
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, diced into small cubes
- 1 celery stick, diced into small cubes
- 1/2 long red chili, diced (or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes or cayenne pepper)
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1.5 lb / 700-750 g diced beef steak (stewing steak, chuck steak, rib eye)
- 1 teaspoon black or white pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika (mild or sweet)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, thyme or basil
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 star anise (optional)
- 1 x can chopped tinned tomatoes (400 g/ 1 + 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or Tamari wheat-free soy sauce)
- 1 cup beef stock or bone broth
Sweet potato noodles (2 servings)
- 1 large sweet potato (or 2 medium ones), choose the elongated shape
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional but yummy)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, chili and salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until softened.
- Add the beef and the rest of the ingredients and stir through. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered with a lid, for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, use a potato masher or a fork to break the beef apart into shreds/smaller pieces, and cook the ragu uncovered for 5-10 minutes over high heat to evaporate some of the liquid and to thicken the sauce slightly.
- To make the sweet potato noodles, you will need to use something like a vegetable spiralizer. Peel the potatoes, cut off the ends so they are flat and place the potato in the spiralizer. Spiralize into thin noodles.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C / 395 F. Place the noodles in a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, if using. Roast for 8-10 minutes, stirring gently halfway through.
- Serve the sweet potato noodles with as much beef ragu as you like, topped with freshly chopped parsley.