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Cuban Picadillo

The word picadillo comes from the root word picar which means mince and can be prepared in a variety of ways. This dish is can be served on it's own, in a taco, empanada, or as a sloppy joe type sandwhich filling. The dish is a staple in Cuban as well as Latin-American and the Philippines.

The main elements that give this dish so much flavour are; cumin, oregano, cayenne, olives, and bay leaves. It is important that the spices and other ingredients have time to simmer together to get the beautiful flavours that this dish offers.

All of the recipes on my page can be adapted for any type of diet. I will give substitutes throughout and where necessary.

Grocery list

Mince protein - I used Gardein Veggie ground, most classic picadillo dishes use minced beef


Dry beans

Variety of bell peppers




Potatoes (optional)


Broth - I used PC's Beefless broth (it has so much flavour)

Liquid smoke - Wright's Hickory Concentrate

White wine

Tomato paste

1 package of taco seasoning

Can of tomatoes

Tomato paste



Onion powder

Garlic powder




Bay leaves




I will do my best to walk you through how I prepare these dishes start to finish. I tend to go off script and add a like flare here and there. Although I research origin and spices, these recipes are 100% my interpretation of these dishes. Feel free to get creative and go off script whenever you feel (that's when the learning happens).

Here we go....


3 bell peppers

1 yellow onion

1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms

3 medium sized carrots

3 cloves of garlic

2-3 tbsp olive oil

Chop up half of each bell pepper, the onion, carrots, mushrooms and garlic and sauté on medium with olive oil until the veggies soften.

Add your spices

1 tbsp garlic powder

1tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp cumin

tsp cayenne - add more if you would like more spice

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup broth - I used PC's beefless broth

1 can of tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes

1/4 cup of white wine

Add your protein and olives (you can use capers too if you like). Mix and let simmer for 30 mins. If it gets a little dry you can add more broth and tomato paste.

Beans - start these beans hours before the dish (especially if you use dried beans)

1 cup beans - I used dried white beans

2 cups water

1 package of taco seasoning

3 bay leaves

Soak the beans in water the night before, drain the water and add to a pot of 2 cups of boiling water. Add the taco seasoning and bay leaves and put on a medium or low heat for 3-4 hours. Add more water throughout if needed. If you're using canned beans, you can combine all the ingredients (only 1/2 cup of water or the liquid in the can will do) in a pot and let simmer for 30 mins.

When the beans are almost done, add 1 small drop of liquid smoke. A little goes a long way! Once all the liquid is gone and the beans are soft, remove the bay leaves and place a lid on the beans and remove form heat.


1/4 yellow onion

1 clove garlic

tbsp olive oil

2 cups broth

1 1/2 cups of rice - I used Basmati

Sauté the onions and garlic until they are soft. Add the rice to toast for 2-3 mins. Add the 2 cups of broth and bring to a boil. reduce to medium/low heat and put a lid on for 15 mins. Add a little water here and there if the rice starts to stick.

Plating the Dish

Put a heap of Picadillo in a bowl with the beans and rice on the side. Top with fresh parsley and jalapeños for a nice freshness and kick. When plating for picky eaters, offer 1 of these things at a time and in a small amount. You can offer it alongside something they typically eat to help make them feel comfortable. You can also pace a small amount of each item in bowls and allow them to decide which to try first.

If you decide to try this recipe, we would love to hear what you think! Tag us on Instagram @swagekids_ or send us your photos at

Eat. Relax. Period.

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