Recipe courtesy of Gabriela Rodiles

Vegan Picadillo

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Picadillo is typically made with ground beef, but plant-based meat is makes a fantastic substitute here without sacrificing one ounce of flavor! The onions, bell pepper and garlic come together with the tomato sauce to form a rich and comforting sauce that gets studded with tangy, briny olives.



  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onion and bell pepper. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and oregano and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the plant-based meat and cook until no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the vino seco and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Stir in 1 cup water, the tomato sauce and bay leaf. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomato sauce thickens and turns a deep red color, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the olives and lime juice. Discard the bay leaf. Serve the picadillo with the rice. 

Cook’s Note

Vino seco is a golden cooking wine often used in Cuban cooking. It's available online or at markets that specialize in Cuban groceries. Some wines are clarified with animal products, so read labels to make sure the wine you choose is vegan- or vegetarian-friendly if that’s important to you.