This easy, healthy and clean slow cooker meal has minimal prep involved and let’s your slow cooker do the work for you during the day so that you can come home to a nice hot bowl of satisfying beef and barley vegetable stew. It has no added table salt, but instead uses soy sauce to give it a different savory flavor.
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Kikkoman and am eliglible to win prizes associated with the contest. I did not receive samples and was not compensated for my time.
Personally, I rarely use any salt in any of my recipes. Occasionally, I’ll add a pinch of sea salt here and there, but table salt? No way. Overall, the Western World in particular consumes way way too much salt. It has a lot to do with added table salt and especially with sodium content found in processed, packaged foods.
Don’t get me wrong, sodium is not the enemy. In fact, it is a necessary electrolyte that our body needs to function properly. There are serious medical consequences that can occur with sodium levels that are too low and also if they are too high. Therefore, your body tries really hard to keep sodium levels around a very specific range. It uses a variety of mechanisms to help achieve this goal. A very simple one is by activating your thirst center whenever there is too much sodium. (This is why you get thirsty when you’ve had something salty to eat, you body is trying to balance out the extra sodium with the intake of water).
I am super sensitive to salt. Likely, this has a lot to do with the fact that I do not use it while cooking. I get incredibly bloated and even more incredibly thirsty when I consume any extra. You can ask anyone who knows me, I drink A TON of liquid and this is especially true if I have a salty meal.
Even though your body needs it, it can obtain what it needs through normal consumption of real foods. The actual needs of your body is actually much much lower than recommended daily limit. There are only a few instances/medical conditions in which salt needs to be actively supplemented.
Adding salt to your diet by means of processed foods or even the table salt shaker can cause medical problems. It can lead to hypertension/ make it worse, cause heart failure exacerbations, cause retention of water, cause uncomfortable bloating, etc to name a few.
So, I often advocate trying to reduce not only added sugars from diets, but also additional salt. You’d be surprised how far spices can get you. Although not a spice, soy sauce may be one way to help get you on the path to reducing your sodium intake. In comparison, by using 1/2 tsp of Kikkoman Soy Sauce in place of 1/2 tsp table salt, the sodium content of the recipe is cut by a whopping 1000 mg. I would say only go for the lower sodium versions, though (which can help cut down on sodium addition even further).
Kikkoman also has other lower sodium condiments, as well in addition to the lower sodium soy sauce. These include a 50% less sodium gluten-free Tamari Soy sauce, Less sodium Teriyaki marinade & sauce and a 50% less sodium gluten-free Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce.
My recipe uses the less sodium soy sauce. If you are interested in other recipes that use soy sauce to help lower sodium content. Click on the recipe redux badge below! I challenge you to make cutting back on salt as part of your new year resolution.
Clean Beef & Barley Vegetable Stew
- 1 lb ground beef cooked
- 3/4 cup barley
- 1/2-1 zucchini sliced
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2-3 celery stalks diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 t onion powder
- 1/2 t garlic powder
- 1/2 t oregano
- 3.5-4 cups liquid*
- 2 T Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce
Brown your beef in a pan, drain the fat and add to the slow cooker
Peel and dice all of your vegetables and add them to the slow cooker
Add your bay leaf, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano
Top with your liquid*
Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until your barley and vegetables are cooked through
Stir in soy sauce before, or after cooking
Recipe NotesYou may choose your liquid of choice: water, vegetable broth, beef broth, chicken broth etc. The more liquid you use, the more watery it will be. If you want less liquid then use closer to 3.5 cups. If more then use 4 or more cups. I had baby carrots at the time and used those. I used about 15 or so baby carrots. Regular carrots work, as well.
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