CUBAN PICADILLO BOWLS | WITH CILANTRO RICE & AN AVOCADO CITRUS SLAW

CUBAN PICADILLO BOWLS

The other day I found myself craving picadillo, a rich and savory Cuban meat sauce. This craving was most likely influenced by seeing two of my friends share about picadillo in the same week, lol! But once picadillo was on my mind, I absolutely had to make it happen! I put together these Cuban picadillo bowls that feature cilantro rice and the most delicious avocado citrus slaw and the combination was SO good, I just had to share the recipe here on the blog!

CUBAN PICADILLO BOWLS

THOUGHTS ON EATING MEAT

If you’ve been following along here, you may have noticed that I typically share vegetarian fare here on ful-filled. This has been my food approach for some time because I really want to inspire people to eat less meat. But, I decided to share this recipe featuring grass-fed beef because it just felt right. We are currently living in a time when eating meat has come under extreme scrutiny, and truth be told, eating meat should be under extreme scrutiny. Our modern food system needs major overhauling and one of the most pivotal changes that needs to happen is to the meat industry. 

But, the truth of the issue is that the most important step to changing the meat industry is not to stop eating meat altogether, but is to instead, support regenerative agriculture. If you are not familiar with regenerative agriculture, I urge you to listen to this short podcast episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy. This podcast episode does a great job of quickly, but thoroughly explaining regenerative agriculture and how it is the key to fixing our food system to be good for the earth, for the animals and for us. 

So I share this recipe for Cuban picadillo bowls featuring grass-fed beef as a way to bring awareness to this important topic during a pivotal time in our history. I hope that everyone who reads this takes the time to understand just how important our food choices are and that we truly can make a difference with the foods we choose to nourish ourselves with.

BUILDING A CUBAN PICADILLO BOWL

CILANTRO RICE: Picadillo is typically served with rice. In this case, we are serving it over cilantro rice because we LOVE cilantro and have a ton of it growing in our herb garden at the moment. But, if you are one of those people who can’t do cilantro, simply leave it out & squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice into your rice when it is finished cooking!

CILANTRO RICE

PICADILLO: is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries and the Philippines that is typically made with ground beef, tomatoes, raisins, olives, and other ingredients that vary by region. If you’re not a fan of raisins, you may want to reconsider for picadillo’s sake because they are the perfect complement to the briny olives and savory meat sauce. Our first picadillo experience was based on the Cuban way, so that is the version we are most fond of and what I am sharing with you here :)

CUBAN PICADILLO

AVOCADO CITRUS SLAW – I am always looking for ways to incorporate elements of freshness to our meals, so I whipped up a version of a Cuban avocado salad to accompany the picadillo & rice. It features a most delicious citrus dressing, finely shaved cabbage for some crunch and some more cilantro, because, as I said above, we love it!

AVOCADO CITRUS SLAW

These Cuban picadillo bowls are a great representation of how we like to enjoy meat in our house. One pound of grass-fed ground beef turns into 4 adult servings worth of picadillo, which means that hubby and I get two meals out of this recipe. Grass-fed ground beef is one of the most affordable types of animal protein that is raised sustainably, so it is a great choice if you are looking to support regenerative agriculture on a budget.

CUBAN PICADILLO BOWLS

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CUBAN PICADILLO BOWLS


  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

FOR THE CILANTRO RICE:

  • 2 cups broth, vegetable or chicken (you can also use water)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced

FOR THE PICADILLO

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika (use smoked paprika if desired)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup pitted stuffed olives (if using small olives you can leave whole, or if using large olives, you will want to slice them into halves or quarters)

FOR THE AVOCADO CITRUS SLAW

  • 2 avocados, firm ripe, sliced thin
  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice, fresh
  • 3 tbsp orange or mandarin juice, fresh
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cilantro for garnish
  • lime wedges for serving

Instructions

FOR THE CILANTRO RICE:

  1. Add borth to a medium saucepan or deep skillet set over medium-high heat. Bring broth to a boil.
  2. Stir in the rinsed rice and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook the rice for 15-18 minutes, until it is cooked through and the water is fully absorbed.
  3. Remove the rice from heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.
  4. Add cilantro, lime juice, to cooked rice stirring gently to mix together.

FOR THE PICADILLO:

  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onions, red pepper, and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add ground beef and cook, breaking the meat apart, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the salt, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, paprika, & fresh ground pepper, stirring to combine.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, stir in tomato paste, broth & raisins. Cover & allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes and then add in the green olives.

FOR THE AVOCADO CITRUS SLAW:

  1. While the picadillo & rice cook, prepare the avocado citrus slaw:
  2. Add the finely shredded cabbage to a wide & shallow bowl. Add the avocado slices and red onion over the top of the cabbage. Mix the olive oil, citrus juices & salt in a small bowl until mixture is homogenous. Drizzle the dressing over the avocado, onion & cabbage. Garnish with cilantro if using.

TO SERVE:

  1. Add some rice to a bowl, top with picadillo and some of the avocado citrus slaw. Garnish with cilantro and serve with a lime wedge. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Cuisine: Latin

MORE MEAT RECIPE INSPIRATION:

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Heather February 11, 2020, 5:43 am

    I might be missing something, but when would you add the ground beef?

    • bella | ful-filled February 11, 2020, 8:27 am

      Oh sheesh! I missed the line about adding in & cooking the ground beef, lol! Thank you for letting me know! I added that instruction, so it’s all good now! ;)

  • niko February 19, 2020, 12:36 pm

    man oh man, where do i even start???

  • niko February 19, 2020, 12:37 pm

    i guess let me start with what drew us in from the start, the freakin PHOTOS!!! ahh W-O-W, can your photography get any more on point??, don;t know but it is CRAZY BEAUTIFUL!!

  • niko February 19, 2020, 12:38 pm

    you had my entire household wanting to eat our computer screens, so, we were ALL onboard and sold to try this gem of a recipe out for sure!!!

  • niko February 19, 2020, 12:40 pm

    even though i come from a culture where olives are life, i am a self professed olive hater in general, but these specific olives in this specific recipe were just THE highlight of this recipe and probably my culinary life as well!!!

    • bella | ful-filled February 19, 2020, 2:57 pm

      haha! That is awesome! So happy you enjoyed the olives so much!

  • niko February 19, 2020, 12:44 pm

    The Way that the ground beef is spiced and seasoned and mixed with the olives and topped with all the veggies and the avo, WWWOOOWWW, it is all just such a perfect compliment to each other the way all the flavors go so well together, this was a legit top-5 all time recipe. thanx SO MUCH from my family to yours Bella!!!
    Oh, and i forgot to mention, freakin LOVED that cilantro rice and with the lime wedges on the side it was a PERFECT base for this dish!!

    • bella | ful-filled February 19, 2020, 2:54 pm

      OH WOW! Reading your comment made me SO happy! I am just delighted that my recipe was a hit with you and your family!

  • Marian Stobbe March 8, 2020, 11:07 am

    I never had picadillo so when I saw the beautiful picture on Instagram I decided I should make this. When I read the ingredients, raisins and olives together, I had no idea what to expect but I can tell you now after making and eating this dish, it is amazing! Best of all, no expensive ingredients and not to difficult to make. This will definitely be something I will make many more times! Thank you Bella!

    • bella | ful-filled March 8, 2020, 1:27 pm

      Wow! This is the best compliment I could hope for one of my recipes! It is a surprisingly delicious combo! So, so happy you enjoyed it and that you will make my recipe again!!! Thank you Marian :)

  • Lisa Mueller April 12, 2020, 11:09 am

    I made the recipe today for me and my boyfriend. He got the classic version (without raisins) which he LOVED and I made a vegan version with crumbled tempeh and a bit more spice of everything. So delicious and such a wonderful summer dish!

    • bella | ful-filled April 12, 2020, 7:32 pm

      Oh yay! I am SO grateful that you made my recipe and that you both loved it! And so cool that you substituted with tempeh for a vegan version!

  • Ashley Cuoco April 17, 2020, 1:49 pm

    I’m so glad I saw this, reminded me that I was drooling over it when you first posted. I am obsessed with cilantro (that rice!!!) and love all the crunchy toppings. This sounds like the world’s greatest lunch!

    • bella | ful-filled April 17, 2020, 4:21 pm

      YAS! I need to make this again! We absolutely love this dish and we could legit eat it ALL the time! Can’t wait for you to try it!

  • Carolyn Jensen April 18, 2020, 12:26 pm

    These look amazing Bella! I am a big fan of any recipe that combines sweet and salty (chicken marbella is a fav) so I’m totally into this!
    XO,
    Carolyn

    • bella | ful-filled April 18, 2020, 1:32 pm

      Oooh yes! Us too! And you and the family would absolutely love this dish!

  • Aubree July 10, 2020, 10:35 pm

    This is the best fast dinner. It is so very delicious. Our whole family loves it, but our four-year-old cannot get enough of it! I made it three times in a row and he still wanted it again.
    Thank you!

    • bella | ful-filled July 11, 2020, 11:21 am

      That makes me so happy! I am thrilled that your four-year-old is such a big fan of this dish! Thank you for sharing!

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