Bringing all those amazing Cuban flavors together with this delicious, hearty, and comforting oil-free Vegan Cuban Picadillo.
- 1 cup yellow onion, fine dice
- ½ green bell pepper, small dice
- ½ red bell pepper, small dice
- 2 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1– [ 14 oz. can ] petite diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup low sodium vegetable broth *
- ½ cup pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
- ½ cup raisins *
- 1 cup cooked/canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda *
- 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, cut into ½-inch cubes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onion flakes
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon regular chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (+/-)
- Chopped cilantro
- Steamed rice
- Sliced avocadoes
- Baked potato
- Place the Spice/Herb Ingredients (except the bay leaf) in a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- In a small stock pot, add the diced potatoes, cover with water, sprinkle a little sea salt. Bring to a rolling boil, then lower to a slow simmering boil. Boil for approximately 7 minutes (+/-) just until the potatoes are tender. Drain and rinse with cold water, set aside.
- In a large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven/pot (or similarly large stockpot) add the diced onions and bell peppers, sauté over medium-high heat for 7 to 9 minutes to soften the veggies. Add a splash of water or broth to prevent burning, if needed. Then add the finely minced garlic and tomato paste, sauté over medium heat for one minute. Then add the Spice/Herb Ingredients, sauté for one minute just to allow the spices to release their fragrance.
- Add the water, vegetable broth, bay leaf, and petite diced tomatoes, bring to a boil, then immediately decrease to a simmer, add the baking soda, stir really well. Then add all the remaining ingredients except the potatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, gently stir in the potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Taste test the flavors, ramp up any spices if needed to reach the desired flavor.
- Remove the bay leaf. Serve with rice (or over a baked potato), top with freshly chopped cilantro and avocado slices. Enjoy!
TIPS for SUCCESS:
- Cooked Yukon Gold Potatoes: If you plan to add the potatoes, cut them into small ½ inch cubes and cook them separately in a small pot. Place the cubed potatoes into a small sauce pot, cover with water, add a sprinkle of sea salt, then boil just until tender, approximately 7 to 9 minutes. Do not over-cook them. The reason the potatoes are cooked separately is because this dish traditionally does not have a lot of liquid (to cook the potatoes). That coupled with the tomatoes (acidity) requires a lot of cooking time to soften the potatoes. Cooking them separate ensure a tender potato.
- Tenderness of the Potatoes: It is really important to cook the potatoes just until tender. If you cook them to the point that they fall apart, then they will fall apart completely when you stir them into the Picadillo. They should be just tender with a tiny hint of firmness. They will cook a tiny bit in the dish at the very end. When you add them to the Picadillo, gently stir them in, then stop. If you continue to stir, you can accidentally break them apart. They taste amazing in the Picadillo, but you do need to exercise a tiny bit of care.
- Briny and Sweet: The pimento stuff green olives combined with the raisins adds this lovely play on brininess versus sweetness. If you are not a huge fan of pimento stuffed green olives, then this recipe is not for you.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
*Baking Soda: Baking soda is often used as a neutralizer for dishes that contain a lot of acidity, typically from tomatoes. We use it in this dish to remove some of the tomato acidity (from the tomato paste and petite diced tomatoes) without losing the tomatoey flavor. When you add it, the mixture will bubble up, then settle down as it neutralizes the acidity.
*Raisins: We used golden raisins, but you can use regular raisins as well. Additionally, if you enjoy the play between the sweetness of the raisins and the brininess of the olives, feel free to use more raisins.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Storage: Refrigerate and use within 5 days.