Easy Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Easy Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo

Easy Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo is a delicious, quick fix dish full of flavor and pizzaz. When made with lean ground beef, it's also a great healthy ground beef recipe for a weeknight or weekend meal the whole family will enjoy! 

Easy Cuban Style Beef Picadillo in a pan with a spatula ready to serve

Easy Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo | By Renee's Kitchen Adventures - Easy healthy recipe for flavorful Cuban-Style Beef that is crazy good! #SundaySupper @Beeffordinner

Healthy Ground Beef Recipe

I'm all about flavor when it comes to my meals, and there is nothing I love better than a healthy ground beef recipe with tons of flavor!

My husband and I were introduced to Cuban food (Picadillo) last month at Bongo's, a Cuban restaurant, in Orlando, FL and we both instantly fell in love with the bold flavors.

When it comes to protein-rich foods, lean beef is a nutritious, wholesome choice. By using the Interactive Butcher Counter on the Beef Checkoff website, it was so easy to identify the lean ground beef I needed to purchase to create my version of picadillo.

The leanest cuts of beef are identified with a green icon, making it easy to make a healthy choice.

Some of my favorite flavorful and healthy ground beef recipes are Carne Picada Breakfast Tacos and Lightened Up Johnny Marzetti.

Easy Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo | By Renee's Kitchen Adventures - Easy healthy recipe for flavorful Cuban-Style Beef that is crazy good! #SundaySupper @Beeffordinner

What is Picadillo?

If you've never had picadillo before, you can think of it as sort of a Cuban "sloppy joes" but, according to my husband, better!  It's a really quick to prepare dish, full of ripe tomatoes, green olives, red peppers, onions, garlic, spices and of course, lean ground beef.

Traditional recipes also call for raisins, however, we prefer to leave them out. But if you like raisins, feel free to add them! Everything cooks together into a beautifully flavorful mix! 

I served this healthy ground beef recipe over brown rice and black beans.

When we enjoyed the restaurant picadillo, it was served with an over-easy egg, but I decided to omit the egg this time around.

I rounded out the meal with some sweet, sliced mango.  Perfection! 

Easy Cuban-Style Beef Picadillo | By Renee's Kitchen Adventures - Easy healthy recipe for flavorful Cuban-Style Beef that is crazy good! #SundaySupper @Beeffordinner

beef picadillo, picadillo beef, ground beef picadillo, beef picadillo recipe
main dish, beef, ground beef
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Renee Paj
Easy Cuban Style Beef Picadillo

Easy Cuban Style Beef Picadillo

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 30 Min
Lean ground beef is sauteed in flavorful ingredients to make a classic, slightly spicy Cuban dish healthy and delicious!


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic and onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced pimento stuffed green olives
  • 1- 2 TBSP brine from olives
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 - 2 splashes of red wine vinegar
  • fresh chopped cilantro for garnish, if desired


  1. In large skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add onion, red bell pepper and both bay leaves. Stir and cook until the peppers and onion begin to soften (about 6 minutes). Add in the garlic and stir. Cook for another minute or so, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  2. Add the lean ground beef to the pan and break up with a spoon or spatula. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown ground beef stirring and breaking up occasionally. There should be no need to drain once browned, since you are using lean ground beef.
  3. Once beef is browned, add in the cumin, cayenne pepper and tomato paste, Stir to coat meat. Cook for about 1 minute. Add in the canned tomatoes, olive, raisins (if using) and brine. Stir. Turn heat down to simmer and allow the mixture to cook for about 8 minutes to blend flavors.
  4. Sprinkle in the red wine vinegar and stir. Remove bay leaves and test for additional salt and pepper and adjust to your liking.
  5. Serve over brown rice and garnish with chopped cilantro just before serving.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

9.44 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

3.09 g

Cholesterol (grams)

70.31 mg

Carbs (grams)

21.29 g

Fiber (grams)

3.38 g

Sugar (grams)

13.97 g

Net carbs

17.93 g

Protein (grams)

27.02 g

Sodium (milligrams)

647.84 mg

Nutrition information is an estimate and only provided as a courtesy.

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This post is sponsored by the Beef Checkoff in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions are my own. 

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  1. Yum! I love it the way you served it and the sliced mango is a perfect side! You have my mouth watering!

    1. Mango is a perfect side for this dish! Thanks!

  2. Oh, yeah! This is SO much better than sloppy joes!!!

  3. YUMMMMMMMMMM! I love finding ways to flavor lean ground beef - living in Tampa, we have lots of Cuban restaurants, but it's been years since I have had picadillo, and I clearly need to change that!

  4. This is a new recipe for me, the recipe looks great.

  5. This sounds great with rice and beans and skip the bread!

  6. this RECIPE looks like it's bursting with delicious flavors!

  7. Looks like a very yummy beef dish!

  8. I have tried a few picadillo recipes and some are just meh. I can't wait to try this one. I KNOW I will love it.

  9. First had this when living in FL. Wanted to see your recipe but goodness, overwhelmed with ads, pop ups, etc. here.

    1. Thank you for your feedback! I recently changed ad managers and trying to find a happy medium. Will keep your comment in mind when adjusting them.

  10. One of my favorite Cuban meals! I make it all the time. Yet next time I'm using your recipe because it looks a little better than the one I've used for years. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. You can just see all the flavor in there. Wow!

  12. The flavors here are just amazing!! I have to try this!

  13. Love everything in this dish, what an amazing easy dinner for any night of the week!!

  14. I fixed this last night and it was delicious!! I substituted Adobo seasoning for the cayenne and used red wine instead of red wine vinegar. We will definitely make this again and again and again.... Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Great substitutions! So happy you enjoyed it Anna!


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