Osso buco is a classic Italian dish of veal shanks braised in tomato sauce plus various other herbs and spices and vegetables. However, it is possible to make delicious braised veal shanks with just sea salt and bone broth or a few basic herbs and this post will show you how.

You may be unfamiliar with the dish or haven’t tried to cook it before, but making this delicious dish is even easier than cooking a steak.

While you may overcook a steak if you don’t pay attention, it’s very hard to go wrong with braised veal shanks.

What is Osso buco?

Osso buco in Italian means “bone with a hole” referring to the marrow bone at the center of a veal shank cut crosswise.

Osso buco dish is traditionally made with cross-cut veal shanks that come from the top of the shin which has a high meat-to-bone ratio. If it’s hard for you to find veal shanks beef, lamb or pork shanks can be perfect substitutes.

The veal shanks are generally braised on low heat with tomato sauce, cooking wine, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and various other seasonings. Flour is sometimes used to thicken the sauce.

Osso buco is usually served with mashed potato, risotto, polenta, or even pasta.

For a strict carnivore recipe, you can just brown the veal shanks on high heat then add a bit of salt and bone broth and simmer on low heat for a few hours until tender.

This can be a nutritious meal on its own with a lot of protein, moderate fat, and an abundance of many vitamins and minerals. The bone marrow, the defining feature of the dish, is a source of alkylglycerols which makes it even mover nutritious.

If you can tolerate herbs and spices, you can add a few basic seasonings for added flavors as shown below or modify the traditional osso buco recipe and keep the seasonings that you enjoy.

However, I would stay away from tomato paste and tomato sauce. As a member of the nightshade family, tomato is very high in lectin.

Lectins are toxic and inflammatory. They have the ability to resist digestion, bypass the human defense system, travel all over the body and cause diseases such as autoimmune diseases, intestinal permeability, Crohn’s disease, Coeliac-Sprue, and colitis by breaking down the surface of the small intestine.

If you just want the added flavors but don’t want to eat the herbs and spices, you can put all the seasonings in a spice bag and remove them after the braising is finished.

If you don’t have a spice bag handy, a piece of unbleached cheesecloth or cotton muslin and kitchen twine can work too.

Carnivore osso buco recipe


  • 4 pieces veal shank (about 2-3 pounds or 0.9- 1.4 kg)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups bone broth
  • Optional seasonings: ½ chopped brown onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, 1 dry bay leaf.


  1. Heat a heavy-based pan (e.g. a Dutch oven or cast iron pan) until very hot but not burning
  2. Add veal shanks to the pan, turn regularly and cook till the shanks are well-browned all over. If you are going for a strict carnivore version, it’s important to well brown the shanks because this is what creates the flavor for the dish. Please check out the tips on browning in this post
  3. Add bone broth and all seasonings, bring to boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 2 hours or till the meat is fork-tender. A slow cooker will take around 8 hours and an instant pot will take around 40 minutes
  4. If you like a thicker sauce, increase the heat toward the end to let some juice evaporate.


To plate the braised shanks and avoid the meat from falling off the bones, you would need a cake lifter or a big serving spoon to carefully lift them up.

Alternatively, use kitchen twine to tie the shanks up just after the browning step.

I like to buy the largest veal shanks that I can get from the butcher to get more marrow out of the shanks
Uncooked osso buco on a chopping board
Browning them well to bring out the flavors thanks to the Maillard reaction
Browned osso buco in a pan

Add bone broth and braise them for a few hours till fork-tender

Braised osso buco in a pan
Osso buco is a nutritious and delicious meal on its own
Braised osso buco in a plate

Please check out my other carnivore diet recipes in the recipe library here which is updated regularly.


Osso buco – Wikipedia

Nutrition in Osso buco

Italian Osso Buco (Braised Veal Shanks)

Antinutrients in Plant-based Foods: A Review

Do dietary lectins cause disease?

Lectin Activity in Commonly Consumed Plant-Based Foods: Calling for Method Harmonization and Risk Assessment

Slow Cooker Osso Buco

What is the Maillard Reaction?

DisclaimerThe information in this post is for reference purposes only and not intended to constitute or replace professional medical advice. Please consult a qualified medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.