You Heart What You Eat: Beef-ini Stroganoff |

You Heart What You Eat: Beef-ini Stroganoff

Tera Johnson-Swartz/For Steamboat Today
Explore's food contributor Tera Johnson Swartz shares her "Beef-ini Stroganoff" recipe that may not be the most picturesque presentation, but she said the taste and health content shines right through without the bloated food-coma feeling after eating it.
Courtesy Photo

— Just about everyone I know has had beef stroganoff at least once in their lifetime. And just about everyone agrees it’s one of those yummy, clearly not-so-healthy dishes with the butter, sour cream and egg noodles it’s traditionally served over.

But again, as I’m sure you’ve learned by now, I’m not a traditionalist, let alone someone to be told “it can’t be done,” when it comes to making something healthy out of something not so healthy.

Often such creations come from a moment of panic when I look in the fridge and see limited selection and a background noise of kiddos whining about when dinner will be ready. It’s kind of like a personal Master Chef or Chopped cook-off between myself and my kitchen. I’ll admit sometimes I loose miserably, but not in this case.

Zucchini has become one of my favorite replacements for pasta whenever I can help it. It’s honestly not always the most picturesque presentation, but the taste is usually pretty spot on yummy, and the flavor is masked by the sauce while the health content shines right through. As an outstanding source of manganese and vitamin C, zucchini is one of the best sources of dietary fiber and also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus, so dig in.

The stroganoff sauce itself doesn’t have mushrooms because, well, I don’t really like mushrooms. I’ll cook with them if I have to or if they’re there, but often I make do without.

I know a foodie that doesn’t like mushrooms sounds pretty out there but with the exception of truffles and truffle flavors, I’m just different that way.

Anyway, the sauce has much less butter and sour cream but equal flavor and has some yummy rice to keep a thickness that doesn’t require too much flour to make the rue and still maintains a traditional taste.

I recommend giving this dish a try — preferably without basing it on the photo. It’s hearty, yummy and didn’t make me feel guilty when I had a second serving — heavy on the zucchini noodles.

Beef-ini Stroganoff

  • 2 tablespoons. olive oil

  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound stew meat (chopped into bite size pieces)

  • 1 teaspoon Worchester sauce

  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup quinoa or rice (cooked)

  • 1⁄4 cup flour (wheat, white or gluten free are all fine)

  • 3 tablespoons sour cream

4 zucchinis

In a crock pot put oil, onion, garlic, meat, Worchester sauce and broth set to low for two to three hours (or until meat is tender enough to nearly fall apart). In a sauce pan, make a rue with the butter and flour and pour the just enough broth to make a thick sauce. Combine contents of sauce pan and crock pot to make a thick, creamy sauce, add sour cream and set aside. Using your veggie-pasta tool make your zucchini into spaghetti-sized “noodles.” Bring a stew pot of water to boil. Boil zucchini approximately two to three minutes (until al dante or preferable texture). Serve creamy sauce over veggie noodles and enjoy.

“You Heart What You Eat” is a weekly blog offering a twist of healthy alternative tips and recipes for some of our most coveted comfort foods. From decadent desserts to main dish favorites, you’ll surely look forward to our next edition. Questions or suggestions you’d like included in one of our future blogs should be directed to Tera Johnson-Swartz via email at

Tera Johnson-Swartz is a mommy first, but also enjoys working one of her many, many side gigs whether it be freelance writing, music, massage therapy, independent childbirth, lactation or health educating. She is eternally grateful she is able to follow her passion each and every day and loves her supporting husband and their two young children  and couldn’t imagine living a better life outside the city limits of Steamboat Springs.

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