Simple Tender Pot Roast with Holy Grail Gravy

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(Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls)

Simple Tender Pot Roast with Holy Grail Gravy | Phoenix Helix

“In medieval times. many knights traveled great distances in search of the legendary Holy Grail. It was never found, perhaps because these earnest seekers had no idea what it looked like or exactly where they should look for it.” ~ George Gruhn


When you switch to a grain-free diet, one of the recipes you lose is a thick and delicious gravy. Wheat flour traditionally thickens gravies, and that’s no longer an option. Paleo recipes substitute  tapioca or arrowroot flour, but if you’re on the GAPS Diet, neither of those are allowed. You can try to settle for a little extra broth, but it’s not the same. Well, all of that changes today. This gravy tastes better than any gravy I’ve had in my life, and it’s 100% grain and flour-free. Added bonus? The gravy takes only minutes to make, and the pot roast is made in a crockpot, which does the cooking for you. (If you don’t have a crockpot, no worries. I included an oven variation.) This has become a favorite dinner for my family, and I hope it does for yours as well.

This recipe was selected out of thousands of others, to be in
Chowstalker’s Community Cookbook!
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2-4 lb. chuck roast (either with or without a bone is fine)
1 onion (chopped)
4 carrots (chopped in large chunks)
2 stalks celery (thickly sliced)
2-4 garlic cloves (whole)
1 bay leaf (whole)
2 branches fresh rosemary (whole)
1/4 cup of broth (or water)
sea salt
black pepper (optional – omit for AIP)

Servings: The meat cooks down quite a bit, making approximately 4 servings per 2 lb. roast & 8 servings per 4 lb.


  1. Put all the veggies and herbs in a crock pot. (If you don’t have a crockpot, preheat your oven to 250 degrees and use a lidded casserole dish or dutch oven instead.)
  2. Pour ¼ cup broth on top of the vegetables. (This small amount is intentional; the meat will release its own juices.)
  3. Season all sides of the roast liberally with salt (and pepper, if using), and place on top of the vegetables.
  4. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, until meat can be shredded with fork. (If you’re using an Instant Pot, choose the Slow Cook “Normal” setting and cook the same amount of time.)
  5. When done, lift meat out of crockpot onto a plate and make the gravy: Throw away the bay leaf and rosemary branches. Pour the liquid from the crockpot into a blender. Add half of the cooked vegetables and puree. To increase the thickness of the gravy or strengthen its flavor, add more of the vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. I love serving this pot roast over garlic mashed cauliflower, with gravy on top.
  7. Leftovers: You can put the meat and gravy in one container, tossing to blend before refrigeration. This keeps it moist and flavorful, and makes reheating a breeze.
  8. Note: If you’re like me and cook with garlic often, this little kitchen tool makes peeling cloves easy, which makes me a happier cook.

Thank you, Laurie: This gravy was inspired by the late food writer Laurie Colwin. My recipe is very different from hers, but twenty years after she died, I read her book Home Cooking. In it, she mentions the idea of a vegetable gravy ~ an idea that is simply genius.

Looking for More Slow Cooker Recipes? Check out my recipe roundup:
50 AIP & GAPS Slow Cooker Recipes

50 AIP & GAPS Slow Cooker Recipes

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This post is linked to the following blog carnivals:
AIP Recipe Roundtable, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Fresh Bites Friday, Whole Food Friday, Fight Back Friday, Simple Meals Friday, What Am I Eating?, Weekend Whatever Link-Up, Make Your Own Monday, Fat Tuesday, Family Table Tuesday, Healthy Tuesday, Tuned In Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Well Fed Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Simple Lives Thursday,

Simple Tender Pot Roast with Holy Grail Gravy | Phoenix Helix
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61 thoughts on “Simple Tender Pot Roast with Holy Grail Gravy

  1. What a great idea to thicken your gravy! I love it. I just found your blog through the Whole Foods Wednesday link up on This Chick Cooks. I’m going to pass it on to my friend who is in her 30’s and was diagnosed with arthritis. I completely believe that so many illnesses can be cured and are also cause by our diet, good luck in your journey!

  2. Eileen, Just wanted to drop a note that I made your pot roast and gravy tonight and it was awesome! Especially the gravy – what a concept – perfect. Of course with most recipes, I added my own twist adding brussel sprouts and some purple/red/yellow potato quarters and a little variation on spice. But basically, pretty much as you put it together. Brought me right back to my meat and potatoes roots! Only healthier and the meat wasn’t dry like Moms…. 😉

    Found this from Fight Back Friday. I hope your healing is going well. Best of luck and thanks for the recipe!

  3. Not so sure what went wrong with this dish for me. The ‘gravy’ turned out like a vegetable puree and the meat was super dry and flavorless. I cooked a 2 1/2 pounder for 6 hrs on low. Thank you for the recipe. For whatever reason it did not work for me. 🙁

    • Oh, that’s so sad! I’ve made this numerous times with different size roasts and it always turns out delicious. Wish I had some insight for you.

      • So, I thought about this a little more today, and it sounds like your roast didn’t release much in the way of natural juices. Did you use a chuck roast, or a leaner cut of meat?

        • Thank you for your time! I used boneless chuck. It had a lot of fat so I thought it would be okay. I will try again though! Your gravy looks to die for!

          • Boneless chuck roast should work. So, let’s troubleshoot the crockpot. Maybe it runs hot? If so, I would start checking it at the 4-hour mark, or else try the oven braising method instead. As for the gravy being like a veggie puree, blend just a few of the cooked veggies at a time with the cooking liquid, until you get the thickness you like. You can also keep some extra broth on hand to thin it out, if needed, but I always get plenty of liquid from the roast. I hope the second time is the charm!

    • I know this comment is really old, but thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth in case it helps anybody in the future. With grass fed meat, I have found that the cook time of 6 to 8 hours, or even 8 to 10 hours is not enough. Even though my slow cooker is a newer one that cooks too high (unlike much older ones that cook slower and lower). I have found that around a 14 hour cook time is idea. At that point, seasonings/veggies have no flavor left. And the meat itself winds up pretty flavorless. From trial and error, what I have found is that it is ok to add salt/pepper ahead of time. But anything else is going to have the flavor cooked right out. So how to fix this? Well, I add in anything intended to add flavor to the dish the last few hours of cook time. If you want veggies that are not cooked to death, add them into the slow cooker in the final 2 to 3 hours of cooking time. I usually do all of my slow cooking before I go to bed. When I get up in the morning, I throw in the vegetables and/or other flavoring ingredients. And then 2 to 3 hours later I take the slow cooker insert out of the slow cooker and let the meat rest in the juices until it’s cooled off enough to deal with (we prefer shredded, as in pulled beef or pork)

      If you want to take an extra step. You could pour all the juices and shredded up meat into another pot and then simmer it on the stove top until the liquid is reduced down to whatever your preference is.

      Also, it sounds like you might have made a roast. It will take a roast longer (14-ish hours for me), longer to cook than smaller amount of meat, such as short ribs.

      Keep in mind back in the days of yore, people would just throw meat into a pot on the fire and keep it simmering for days. It is counter-intuitive but to turn that dried out hunk of meat into something more moist and tender actually required cooking it longer than what you did. I figured this out from watching cooking shows where the chefs would be advertising on their menus that certain meats were braised for very long times, like 18 hours or more (I typically go a bit shorter, 14 to 16 hours because restaurants would more than likely have a bigger cut of meat). I figured if it worked for the fancy restaurants, it was worth giving it a try.

  4. I made these yesterday for our life group and everyone loved it! As soon as I tasted this dish I started clapping and saying “yay!!!” In a loud voice! My 17 mo was so confused. She did join in on the celebration! I was so happy to finally have a dish like this!!!

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  7. A customer shared this recipe with me and it is the BEST crockpot roast I’ve ever made. Scrumptious! Except I really used a brisket 😉
    As a 100% grass fed beef farmer, I reduced the cook time quite a bit for my meat. I put the veggies in first around noon, then added the meat around 3p. Perfectly done by 6p. The gravy is so, so, so good and chock full of nutrition. Thanks for sharing your recipe, it’s a keeper!

    • Wow, that is amazing that your brisket is done in only 3 hours. I have never had a grass fed brisket that needed less than 14 hours. Anything less and the meat is tough and chewy, and fatty (and I don’t mean fatty in a good way where the fat is rendered into the gravy).

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  9. I made this yesterday/today and it turned out very flavorful but a bit on the tough side.. I took the advice to cook it longer as one of the posts suggested and it was a large roast over 4 lbs so I thought longer might be better as I tried it after cooking it on high for 4 hours and it was very tough. I then turned it to low and let it simmer in the crockpot all night and turned it off this morning. The meat fell apart but was still chewy.. My husband thinks that is just because of the nature of grass fed beef.. Anyone have any thoughts on that??

    • If I was getting chewy grass fed beef, I’d consider trying a different farmer and/or butcher. There are so many factors that influence the quality of beef, you can shop around and find beef that best suits your preferences.

      Maybe cook the roast to doneness by temperature. Even four hours would have been too long for mine – and I’ve made it several times now. My roasts have been done in less than 2 hours.

        • While you can certainly play around with temperature and cooking time, this recipe has worked as written for me and hundreds of other people, and I do use grass-fed meat. Laura’s experience is unusual. Diane, before altering the recipe any further, I recommend making it as written next time. Cook it on low, not high. Cook it for 6-8 hours, no longer, and see how it turns out.

        • beef roast, Heritage & 100% grass fed, about 3#
          maybe my slow cooker cooks hot?

          I agree with Eileen, this recipe tastes great, it’s worth a second try.

          I’m making it again tomorrow, I’ll update if my timing is different.

  10. What a delicious meal! I made this recipe today directly as written with a 4lb roast, and with cauliflower mash on the side. Hearty, warm, and oh so tasty. Thank goodness there are leftovers!

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  13. My results seem similar to one of the earlier posters. I used a 2-pound piece of chuck roast, looked good. Did not pre-brown the meat (which some have suggested on other crockpot pot roast sites). Used the recommended amounts of fluid, and even added 50% more since it looked low in the pot. Cooked it 6.5 hours, came out very dry and tough. I supposed it might need more, so I added another hour, but no change. I have what might be considered a newer crockpot, about one year old. Seems to do chicken okay, and meatloaf. This was my first beef try. I set it on LOW throughout. Not certain, but one clue might be that the interior of the meat, although dry, was a little pink in color. Nothing like I remember the tender pot roasts of youth. Not sure what the problem is but sure would like this recipe to work — want to try the gravy and mashed cauliflour. Wondering if I should switch to the oven, get a special ovenworthy pot, etc.

    • Hi Rob. Adding more fluid dries out meat. I know – that’s the opposite of what you would expect, but it’s true. That’s why I specifically say in this recipe that the small amount of liquid is intentional. Next time, follow the recipe as written, but if you’re having trouble with other recipes also, you could be right that it’s your pot. I’ve always had good luck with the Crockpot brand.

  14. Hi if i do this in the oven in a dutch oven, with roughly a four pound piece of beef what temperature and time would you recommend

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  16. I’ve made this recipe about 10 times since you first posted it. I should have come back and commented before now. It’s so easy and so delicious. I always follow the recipe as written. It takes about 6 hours for a small roast and 8 hours for a larger one. The result is pull apart tender meat, with the most delicious gravy ever. Thanks for this fabulous recipe! I made it again today and will enjoy the leftovers all week. Batch cooking at its finest!

  17. I just made this a few nights ago, & it’s literally one of the best & easiest Pot Roast recipes I’ve ever made. You can even omit the celery & Rosemary( didn’t have any) & it still tastes amazing. No leftovers remained after our 4 person meal. Seriously Devine- we’re making this again for tonight!

  18. I made the roast as directed last night. It was 2.6 lbs, and after 6 hours on low, it was quite tough and the veggies were hard. But I had put the pot in the fridge for a few hours before popping it in the cooker, and I think that made a difference.

    So I put it on high for another 2 hours, and it was super tender, moist, and the veggies were perfect.


    • Thanks for commenting, Christine. That’s a helpful tip if anyone else runs into the same trouble. I think one issue is that slow cookers can vary so much in their temperatures. I’m glad it came out delicious in the end!

  19. I’ve made this recipe four times and just put it together again for a fifth. The first four times I used grass-fed beef roasts that had been rolled and tied by a butcher. I cooked for six hours and the meat was perfect! I didn’t want it to pull apart in shreds, I wanted beautiful slices and that’s what I got, each and every time. The meat was moist, tender, and juicy, and my guests RAVED. The gravy is so fantastic, too! And it’s such a treat to have gravy being on AIP.

    I recently moved to a different area and haven’t found a natural grocery store with butcher yet, so today’s roast is “regular” USDA choice, and it’s flat, not rolled and tied. I’ll be interested to see how it turns out. I’ll check it around 4 hours and then go from there. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!

    • Hi Lisa. It’s right there in step 1 of the recipe. You simply use a lidded casserole dish or dutch oven and cook for the same length of time at 250 degrees.

  20. Made this tonight, and OMG that gravy is good! I seriously wanted to just drink it! The roast was tender and flavorful too. Thanks for a great recipe!

  21. Holy moley! That is some tasty beef. I made it tonight for the boyfriend and myself and it was so tasty. The meat was amazing on its own, but topped with this gravy, it was heavenly. Thanks so much for this brilliant recipe. Puréed veggies as gravy. So clever.

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