Craving something hearty and warming? And doesn’t take a lot of prep time? Learn how to make this easy vegetable beef soup, based on a classic Filipino recipe.
Vegetable beef soup with a Filipino twist
I live in a small town in Connecticut. There aren’t many dining out options in the town of only 4,000 here.
The most ethnic restaurant by me is a Chinese restaurant. Michelin-star-rated it is not.
So when I want to taste a recipe that comes from half a world away, do I hop in my car for an hour-plus drive? Nope. I make it myself.
And when I’m in the mood for something hearty and warming, I turn to the classic Filipino standard, Nilagang Baka which is an easy vegetable beef soup.
Basically, this is a boiled beef and vegetable soup. And it’s very similar to a soup my father makes but he uses potatoes and regular cabbage.
The reason this recipe and others like it around Southeast Asia are popular? It’s a collection of the basic ingredients which were available to the peasant class.
But when you make this for your family or guests, they will think they’re being treated like royalty.
Keep in mind that the traditional recipe in the Philippines calls for potatoes. However, considering potatoes are a high-starch veggie, I used my favorite standby: radishes. (photo 1) And I added in some small Asian eggplant. (photo 2)
Before getting on to this easy vegetable beef soup recipe, a quick word on meat quality. Some people actually prefer grain-fed red meat for the marbling and fat texture. But just from a health-conscious perspective, I prefer grass-fed beef.
To begin, wash the beef with cold running water. Do you have to do that if it’s organic?
This has nothing to do with making the meat safer and washing it like you would fruit or vegetables. Rather, washing the beef makes it more tender.
Pat the meat dry with paper towels, and season it with garlic, black pepper and salt (photo 3). You’ll want to let the beef sit for about a half-hour (if it’s especially hot inside, you can place in the fridge). (photo 4)
Easy vegetable beef soup recipe with slow cooker
Don’t have a slow cooker? You can order one online and have it delivered to you within a day or two. I prefer this multi-pot cooker because you can also make yogurt with it as well as pressure cook.
At the bottom of the slow cooker, you’ll place half of the small chopped onion (photo 5). (Sorry if you don’t like onion, but it’s a must-have for this Filipino dish; you can always leave it out or substitute with another low starch veggie.)
Add two slices of beef to the slow cooker. Top the beef with the rest of the onions (photo 6).
Next, add the remaining slabs of beef and top with the extra 6 cups of beef broth (photo 7).
(I prefer beef bone broth in this easy vegetable beef soup because of the benefits that come from the collagen protein.)
I usually make this recipe at night and let it sit at the high setting while I sleep.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, it’s safe to leave a slow cooker on overnight or even while you’re away from home. It uses such low wattage energy, there’s extremely little risk of it catching on fire.
Now, about an hour before it’s ready, you’ll want to start adding in some of the veggies.
Begin with the radishes. I usually put them in about 30-60 minutes before I turn off the slow cooker. It’s up to you to determine how soft/chewy you want the veggies.
I’ll usually add in the eggplant and Napa cabbage about 15-20 minutes before turning off the slow cooker.
Slow cooker vegetable beef soup with eggplant?
I like to eat this Filipino classic stew with a side of ensaladang talong (aka Filipino eggplant salad).
Is this some random thing I’ve come up, eating roasted eggplant with beef veggie soup?
No, the eggplant is also a traditional Filipino dish. It’s actually more of a salad. The most practical way to make the eggplant in the U.S. is to broil it in the oven. (In the Philippines, it’s made by roasting over charcoal.)
Easy vegetable beef soup recipe: Where’s the rice or noodles?
Obviously, in traditional Southeast Asian cooking, noodles and rice are staples. However, what can you add to this recipe if you’re watching your net carbs?
You can use any no carb / low carb noodle alternative. My favorite for this dish is cauliflower rice.
And if you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, they now sell frozen bags of it that’s super easy to make. Other major brands are catching on so you may find it in regular grocery stores too.
Hearty beef soup slow cooker that’s healthy
This blood-warming, brothy goodness is packed with potassium, protein, iron, vitamin C, and has a decent amount of protein. And if you use beef bone broth, you’ll be consuming an abundant amount of the amino acids that provide the building blocks to repair your body’s collagen protein.
I really hope you enjoy this low carb version of a classic soup from the Philippines! Let me know how it turns out for you….
We hope you give this soup a try. And if you do, we’d love to know what you think in the comments.
Easy Vegetable Beef Soup
Craving something hearty and warming? And doesn't take a lot of prep time? Learn how to make this easy beef soup with vegetables, based on a Filipino recipe.
- 3.7 pounds beef shank 4 slices, 1 inch thick per slice, bone in
- 400 grams red radish cut in half
- 600 grams napa cabbage (aka wombok) cut in half
- 300 grams eggplant sliced
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
Wash beef in cold running water. Pat dry with paper towel.
Season beef with garlic, salt and black pepper. Let it sit for 30 minutes, either at room temperature or in the fridge.
Place half of onions at the bottom of the slow cooker. Add 2 slices of beef, top with onions, add the remaining beef and onions. Pour beef broth.
Cook on high for 7 to 8 hours until beef is tender and falling off the bones.
Add radishes 30 minutes to one hour plus the eggplants and napa cabbage 15 to 30 minutes before turning off the slow cooker. Length of cooking the vegetables will depend on how soft you want them to be.
This beef soup is inspired by the Filipino dish Nilagang Baka (Boiled Beef) which is usually made with napa cabbage and potatoes then with a side of eggplant ensalata.
Look for beef shank with marbling bone marrow which adds flavor to the soup.
Cut beef into bite sized pieces to cook faster.