Beef and Spinach in Tomato Sauce

beef and tomato sauce with spinach
Philippe Desnerck
  • Total: 105 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
220 Calories
8g Fat
12g Carbs
25g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 220
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 68mg 23%
Sodium 149mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 25g
Calcium 93mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

For many people, childhood memories of comfort food usually include some type of beef stew. Stews, by definition, are a combination of foods that are cooked in liquid that results in a gravy. They can include beef, chicken or lamb along with vegetables such as carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms and potatoes. Ideally, these slow cooking stews are great for tougher cuts of meat that become tender with this slow, moist heat method. But even beans can be used for a vegetarian version of stew.

Because tougher cuts tend to be less expensive, stews are a great lower cost option for getting dinner on the table. Cuts of meat that have a lot of fat marbling and gelatinous connective tissue can result in very juicy and flavorful stews. If the resulting gravy is too watery, thickeners such as flour or cornstarch can be added to make a thicker sauce.

American versions tend to be filled with lots of root vegetables including plenty of potatoes. Cooked slow and served in a bowl with some crusty bread, it's the ideal hot meal on cold nights.

But a popular Middle Eastern version includes just the beef and spinach in a seasoned tomato broth. The idea of spinach may not sound all that comforting to kids but, in this case, the spinach gets a good long cook in the soup so that it is soft and easy to eat. And the taste is mostly of beef and tomatoes so the kids might not even realize you are sneaking spinach into their diets.

You can use fresh spinach but frozen works just as well thus making this recipe quick and convenient.


  • 1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • Beef stock or water (enough to cover the beef and onions)
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 to 2 (15-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)

Steps to Make It

  1. Place the beef, chopped onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper and ground cumin, if using, into a 3-quart pot or Dutch oven. Add enough beef stock or water to cover the beef, bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the meat is fork tender.

  2. When the meat is tender, add in the frozen spinach. No need to drain it. Once the spinach loosens up in the stew, add the crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce and mix well. Continue to simmer for an additional hour on low heat.

  3. Serve the stew over cooked white rice, pasta or mashed potatoes alongside a simple salad.