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Instant Pot Basil Pesto Beef Stew

Our Instant Pot Basil Pesto Beef Stew is a meal prep masterpiece that seamlessly marries convenience, nutrition, and indulgent flavors. Crafted for those seeking a harmonious blend of wholesome ingredients and time-saving efficiency, this recipe promises to level up your weekly meal prep routine. With budget-friendly staples like beef stew meat, red potatoes, and canned tomatoes, it proves that gourmet dining need not break the bank. What sets this dish apart is the secret weapon – basil pesto. Not only does it effortlessly elevate the soup base, but it also introduces a burst of fresh, herbaceous notes that transform each bite into a symphony of flavors.

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Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 966mg | Potassium: 1564mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 748IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 7mg
round bowl with basil beef stew with diced tomatoes and potatoes

Meal Prep Hack: Elevating Soup Base Flavors with Basil Pesto

Incorporating basil pesto into the soup base not only adds convenience but also introduces a layer of depth and richness, making this Instant Pot Basil Pesto Beef Stew an excellent choice for those seeking a delicious, nutritious, and hassle-free meal prep option. Here are the reasons why:

  • Basil pesto infuses the stew with vibrant, aromatic basil, creating a lively and refreshing flavor profile.
  • Adding pesto eliminates the need for multiple herbs and spices, simplifying the ingredient list while maintaining a complex and sophisticated taste.
  • With just a few tablespoons, basil pesto instantly transforms a basic stew into a restaurant-worthy dish, making it a perfect solution for elevating flavors in a time-efficient manner.
  • Basil pesto pairs well with a variety of ingredients, enhancing the overall taste without overpowering the dish. It’s a versatile ingredient that complements the savory notes of the stew.

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Essential Ingredients:

  • Beef Stew Meat: Opt for lean cuts like sirloin or chuck for a healthier stew. Buy in bulk and freeze in individual portions for future use. Substitute beef with chicken or turkey for a lighter option.
  • Red Onions: Purchase a bag of red onions to have them handy for various recipes. They add a sweet and mild flavor to dishes. 
  • Red Potato: Choose firm, unblemished red potatoes. Buying in bulk bags can be cost-effective for regular use in different recipes. Feel free to add carrots, celery, or other favorite veggies.
  • Garlic Cloves: Consider purchasing garlic in bulk; it’s a kitchen staple. Opt for fresh garlic for enhanced flavor.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes: Look for no-salt-added or low-sodium options. Canned tomatoes are pantry essentials, versatile for numerous recipes.
  • Basil Pesto Sauce: While store-bought is convenient, try making your own for a personalized touch. Store extra in ice cube trays for easy future use. Experiment with different pesto variations like sun-dried tomato or spinach for a unique twist
glass meal prep containers with basil beef stew with diced tomatoes and potatoes

How to Meal Prep Instant Pot Basil Beef Stew

  1. Gather all your ingredients and ensure they are measured and prepared. Dice the red onions, cube the red potato, and peel the garlic cloves. Place all the prepared ingredients in the Instant Pot. Pour in 2 cups of canned diced tomatoes over the beef stew meat, red onions, red potato, and garlic cloves.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the star ingredient – basil pesto sauce – for that irresistible herbal kick. Pour in 1 cup of water to create a savory broth. Season the stew with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Give it a good stir to ensure the flavors meld together.
  3. Secure the Instant Pot with the lid and set the valve to the sealed position. Program the Instant Pot to cook for 45 minutes on medium pressure. The anticipation of the rich aroma filling your kitchen begins!
  4. Once the timer goes off, follow the Instant Pot instruction manual for a natural release of steam. As the lid comes off, you’ll be greeted by the sight and scent of a perfectly cooked Basil Pesto Beef Stew.
  5. Spoon out generous servings into your meal prep containers, ensuring each portion gets its fair share of the delectable broth.
  6. Elevate the flavor profile by adding an extra tablespoon of basil pesto to each serving just before consumption. This step not only enhances the taste but also adds a vibrant green hue to your stew.
  7. For those without an Instant Pot, fear not! This recipe is slow-cooker-friendly. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours and savor the same mouthwatering results.

Reference the recipe card below for detailed instructions.

round bowl with basil beef stew with diced tomatoes and potatoes

Meal Prep Tips

  • Versatile Side Options: Consider preparing different sides to pair with the stew. Rice, quinoa, or a crusty baguette can add variety to your meals throughout the week.
  • Explore Different Bases: While the stew is delightful on its own, experiment with serving it over different bases like mashed cauliflower, sweet potato, or a bed of greens to keep your meals interesting.
  • Double Up on Veggies: Increase the nutritional content by adding extra vegetables. Chop and store them separately to maintain their freshness, adding them to the stew just before reheating.
  • Extra Pesto on the Side: Keep additional basil pesto on hand to add a fresh burst of flavor when serving. Include a small container with each meal for an extra taste of indulgence.
glass meal prep containers with basil beef stew with diced tomatoes and potatoes
round bowl with basil beef stew with diced tomatoes and potatoes

Instant Pot Basil Pesto Beef Stew

Instant Pot Basil Pesto Beef Stew, a budget-friendly and nutrition-packed delight that effortlessly combines lean beef, vibrant vegetables, and aromatic basil pesto for a week's worth of hearty, flavorful meal prep.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 2
Calories 454 kcal


  • knife
  • cutting board
  • Instant Pot


  • 12 oz beef stew meat
  • 1/4 cup red onions (diced)
  • 1 red potato (cubed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon italian seasoning


  • Place all of the ingredients in the Instant Pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place the valve in the sealed position. Set the timer for 45 minutes on medium. Note: If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can cook this in the slow cooker for 4 to 6 hours on high.
  • After it cooks, follow the instruction manual to naturally release the steam. Enjoy each serving with an extra tablespoon of basil pesto for extra flavor


Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used. Please consult with your healthcare provider for specific dietary needs. To gain a better understanding, explore our nutrition disclaimer here


Calories: 454kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 43gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 966mgPotassium: 1564mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 748IUVitamin C: 34mgCalcium: 172mgIron: 7mg

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the pesto necessary, or can I omit it?

While the pesto adds a unique flavor, you can omit it if needed. The stew will still be delicious, though the basil pesto contributes a distinctive herbal kick. You can also just use fresh basil leaves and extra garlic as an alternative.

Is the 45-minute cooking time in the Instant Pot flexible?

Yes, the cooking time can be adjusted based on your preferences. We prefer the longer cook time so that the meat is fork tender. Experiment with shorter or longer cooking times to achieve your desired stew consistency.

Can I freeze this stew for longer storage?

Absolutely. Portion the stew into freezer-friendly containers, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

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