Who doesn’t love a set it & forget it kind of meal like this Whole30-friendly Slow Cooker Picadillo for busy weeknights?!
I know this probably isn’t new news but…
Life is crazy busy right now. For everyone. I can’t recall a single person in the last month who’s said otherwise. Is it the change of seasons? The arrival of warm weather? The pursuit of too much all the time? Gah! I’m feeling it, too. Which is just one reason why I’m absolutely in love with this Slow Cooker Picadillo right now.
It easy to prep the night before (or even in the morning as your coffee brews) because you just have to brown up a little ground beef and onion and toss it into the slow cooker with a diced pepper, a can of tomato sauce and three spices (how’s that for keeping things simple? Just three spices you likely already have on hand).
The only thing easier than this Slow Cooker Picadillo is our Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde which is ridiculously easy. But I digress, we were talking about this saucy, sweet and savory loveliness that pairs perfectly with a bowl of cauliflower rice and a side of fresh greens and/or fried plantains. It’s so good! If you’ve never heard of picadillo then let’s get you up to speed before you run to the kitchen.
Cuban Picadillo, on which this recipe is loosely based, is a meat and potato hash of sorts that’s traditionally made with ground pork or beef or sometimes both. It has layers of sweet and savory flavors thanks to the addition of green olives, raisins, wine and capers. You’ll often find in served over a big pile of white rice and black beans or used as a filling for empanadas.
To keep things simple and Whole30-friendly I left out the wine and substituted tomato sauce for fresh tomatoes and wine. I also left out the potato and instead opted to serve this with fried plantains (because, let’s be honest… they’re the perfect vehicle for getting this saucy goodness to your mouth). You could add some diced potato but I didn’t think it really needed it after testing the recipe with and without it. Besides that, I found that the potato was a bit mushy for my taste and freezing and thawing. So, it’s entirely up to you. If you’re adding it, add it at the beginning with the meat and vegetables and spices.Layers of flavor in this easy Slow Cooker Picadillo won't disappoint! #whole30 Click To Tweet
Wondering if you should purchase grass-fed beef? Learn how to choose quality red meat in this post!
The olives, raisins and capers that make picadillo so magical (think sweet, salty, savory all at once) are added to the slow cooker an hour before the end of the cooking time but don’t sweat it if you don’t get them in there with exactly an hour to go. It’ll be fine. Roll with it. Trust me, this has happened to me more than once and it was still delicious. Just get them in there because it’s what make this dish picadillo and not just a pot of Latin American-inspired sloppy joes.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the other reason why I love this Slow Cooker Picadillo so much!
It’s very freezer-friendly so don’t be shy about doubling the recipe and freezing half for another time. I like to cool mine in a glass container (like this one) in the fridge before transferring individual portions to a zip-top freezer bags. Laying the bags flat on a baking sheet to freeze makes them easier to store in the freezer (yeah, I may or may not have a plastic shoe box-sized tote with quart-size bags of frozen soups, stews, chilis and picadilo in my freezer…) #mealprepnerd
And leftovers. Even my hungry family leaves enough in the pot for leftovers because this recipe makes enough for six generous servings which makes my overly-busy heart oh, so happy.
- 2 lb. ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 1 14-ounce can tomato sauce
- ¾ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup green olives, pitted and drained (use olives packed in water for less sodium)
- 2 Tbsp. capers, drained
- ½ cup raisins
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh cilantro and limes wedges for serving
- Optional: Cauliflower rice, fried plantains and fresh greens like spinach or power greens.
- In a large skillet, add ground beef and onions. Cook until onions start to soften and beef is partially browned. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.
- Transfer meat mixture to slow cooker. Add green pepper, tomato sauce, cumin, oregano and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Place lid on slow cooker and turn heat to low.
- Cook on low for 6-7 hours, adding olives, capers and raisins during the last hour of cooking time.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper before serving over cauliflower rice (or rice, greens, etc.)
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- Serving Size: 1/6th recipe
- Calories: 370
- Fat: 18g
- Sodium: 528mg
- Carbohydrate: 19g
- (Fiber: 3g
- Sugar: 12g)
- Protein: 33g
What’s your favorite slow cooker meal when you want leftovers? How about when you’re serving a crowd? Tell us in the comments below!
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