Simple Tender Pot Roast with Holy Grail Gravy (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)

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plate with pot roast, mashed cauliflower, and delicious gravy poured on top

“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

Gravy Magic

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 AIP 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 slow cooker which does the cooking for you. (If you don’t have a slow cooker, 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.

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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.

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Simple Tender Pot Roast with Holy Grail Gravy | Phoenix Helix

Simple Tender Pot Roast with Holy Grail Gravy (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)

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  • Author: Eileen Laird
  • Total Time: 6-8 hours
  • Yield: 4-8 servings


  • 24 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)
  • 24 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)


  1. Put all the veggies and herbs in a slow cooker. (If you don't have a slow cooker, preheat your oven to 250 degrees and use a lidded casserole dish or dutch oven instead.)
  2. Pour ¼ cup broth (or water) 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. 
  5. When done, lift meat out of slow cooker onto a plate and make the gravy: Throw away the bay leaf and rosemary branches. Pour the liquid from the slow cooker 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, 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.


  1. The meat cooks down quite a bit, making approximately 4 servings per 2 lb. roast & 8 servings per 4 lb.
  2. If you want to try this recipe in an Instant Pot, you can pressure cook it on high for 90 minutes, but know that roasts tend to be more tender when slow cooked. The Instant Pot also has a slow cook function, but unfortunately it varies model-to-model regarding how well it works. I recommend using a standard crockpot/slow cooker for best results.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hours
  • Category: Main Courses
  • Method: Slow Cooker

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74 comments on “Simple Tender Pot Roast with Holy Grail Gravy (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)”

  1. Pamela Lynn Knudson

    What do you use to make the gravy? It just says pull meat out and make the gravy… Do you use cassava flour or something?

    1. Hi Pamela. As I say in the introduction, this gravy is 100% flour-free. That’s the beauty of it! The vegetables and broth combine to make an easy, quick, flavorful gravy. Just follow the instructions in the recipe. It doesn’t just say to “make the gravy.” It gives you the steps on how to do that. It’s very easy and delicious. Enjoy!

  2. Thank you so much, you are a real gift to the world and I can see you want to heal people! I will be looking into this book after I have done the Nightshade Elimination Diet to see if I am allergic to Nightshades. I feel a Paleo diet is evolutionarily closest to the one we ‘should’ have as omnivores. Can you tell me why Legumes are forbidden/bad?

      1. Thank you, Eileen! Although I must admit peanut butter is my weakness and I adore legumes such as beans and lentils, I will eliminate them and try the AIP diet. I really want to get rid of chronic inflammation, diabetes, chronic pain, and other health issues! I can live with the alternatives! I like almond butter. I’ve heard cashew butter is good (are cashews AIP accepted? I thought all nuts must be cut out during the initial trial…) and what about Sunbutter, aka Sesame Seed butter? It’s quite delicious and I’ve seen AIP approved or at least Paleo approved recipes with it. Yum!

          1. I recommend Eileen’s book! It’s concise yet thorough. It’s definitely doable, even with brain fog. 🙂

  3. Wendy Tortoriello

    I’m surprised about your note on black pepper not being AIP friendly. EVERY other pepper is a nightshade, which is why they are not on the AIP list, but black pepper is a completely different plant family.

    Here is Sarah Ballantyne’s AIP page: – Black pepper is not on the avoid list. I was Paleo AIP for a year (now just Paleo w/certain omissions) and I can tell you that you want EVERY possible option! Thanks for listening 🙂

    1. Wendy, while you are right that black pepper isn’t a nightshade, you are wrong that it’s AIP-friendly. Sarah is actually the one who excluded it from the protocol and asked that I educate people accordingly. She excludes not only nightshade spices during the elimination phase, but ground fruit-based & seed-based spices as well. Thankfully, those latter 2 categories are considered Stage 1 reintroductions (and most people are able to reintroduce those successfully). However, her website is very confusing – I agree. For that reason, I wrote this post, which is a more clear representation of the spices that are & aren’t allowed on the protocol. . It looks like you’re new to my website, but I’ve been a leader in the AIP community for 5 years now. You can trust that all the information I present here is accurate.

  4. Wendy Tortoriello

    Thank you for the recipe. I’ve always just served my pot roast w/the liquid from the pot, kind of soup style, but I’m excited to try your holy grail gravy over it tonight. I love sneaking more veggies into the kids 😉

  5. This is pretty much the way I make pot roast except that I cover it and put it in the oven (325 degrees for 3 to 4 hours, or until fork tender). Slow cookers can give food a slightly canned flavor that I don’t care for. Oven-roasted tastes fresher. Also, thickened gravy isn’t necessary. The resulting meat/veggie juices are just as delicious served “au jus” style.

  6. I know this is an old post but I just came across your recipe and made it exactly as directed. It turned out perfectly. I’m fighting Lyme again and knowing that there is still a way to have real comfort food on the AIP diet means everything to me right now. Thank you!

  7. Made this tonight, it was delicious. The only thing is I think my slow cooker is running a bit hot so next time I will take it out earlier. The gravy was dynamite. Even for my picky, vegetable phobic kid who asked for seconds! This is a keeper for sure. <3

    1. Stephanie, I’m so glad. Thanks for taking the time to write. Believe it or not, I made this last night myself and enjoyed some of the leftovers for dinner tonight. We’re menu twins this week.

  8. This was delicious! Amazing comfort food! I didn’t have celery so my gravy was more orange in color, but tasted divine! My husband despises pot roast, but loved this recipe. Thank you!

    Also, I made this in my Instant Pot on the beef/stew setting for 35 mins. 🙂

  9. So, I have Hashimotos and a host of other wierd symptoms that we haven’t quite figured out. I have temporarily been reduced to a fairly limited list of foods I can tolerate. Its been a rough ride and I have steeled myself to think of food as medicine instead of something to enjoy. I made this recipe and I seriously started crying. It is the most flavorful and delicious thing I have eaten in months. It is the first time in a long time that a meal has made me feel “normal”. I’ll have to use a bigger roast next time since my husband and my son joined me for the meal and LOVED it. I can’t remember the last time we got to sit down at the table and share the same meal. Thank you Eileen.

    1. Oh, Connie. This brought tears to my eyes. I truly believe food can be medicine and absolutely delicious. I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Gentle hugs coming your way.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

    1. 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.

  12. 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!!

  13. 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.


    1. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

  18. Adrian Klingel

    I’ve been on the AIP diet for a month now. Your gravy is going to rescue my hasenpfeffer tonight!

  19. 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!

  20. 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??

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

  21. 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!

    1. 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).

  22. 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!!!

  23. 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. 🙁

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

        1. 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!

          1. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

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