This Cuban picadillo is flavorful and nourishing. It’s easily adapted to be paleo, whole30, and AIP compliant.


Have you ever had picadillo? It’s a flavorful and filling way to turn simple ground beef in a delicious meal! It’s traditionally made with simple ingredients ground beef, tomatoes, onions, olives, garlic, and herbs. Best of all, it’s easy to make and can be made in one pan (plus some optional cauliflower rice for serving.

Traditional Cuban comfort food is typically made with bell peppers, red spices, and other nightshade foods, which you can certainly add to this meal. However, I’m going to show you how to also make it nightshade free!  This is one of those dishes that I seriously used to feel left out on as I’m nightshade free, but I promise this tastes just as good without nightshades.


The Ingredients You’ll Need for the Cuban Picadillo


Ground chuck (or ground beef)

Ground beef chuck yields really great flavor in this recipe, but you can also just normal ground beef to keep it simple.

Onions and garlic

These add a lot of flavor to picadillo and cook quickly.

Green olives

Green olives are my favorite part of picadillo! I’m not a huge green olive fan just as a snack by itself, but they really add a lot of depth to the picadillo. You can use canned green olives to make it easy.


Capers add a lot of extra salt to the picadillo, so be careful with salting to taste. In my opinion, you’ll want to taste it first, and then add salt!


This is an optional step, but it adds a nice touch of sweetness

Tomato sauce (or nomato sauce)

You can use a canned tomato sauce without any strong seasoning, or a nomato sauce to keep it nightshade free.


What to serve this picadillo with…


The Latin flavors of plantains and picadillo pair really well together. You can make tostones, simply pan-fried plantains, or homemade plantain chips!

Cauliflower rice (or regular rice)

Picadillo is often paired with white rice, but cauliflower rice is another great option.


Picadillo with cauliflower rice

You’ll also love these recipes…

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Cuban Picadillo (Paleo, Whole30, AIP, Nightshade Free)

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


This Cuban picadillo is flavorful and nourishing. It’s easily adapted to be paleo, whole30, and AIP compliant.


  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef chuck (sub ground beef)
  • 1 tsp cumin (omit for AIP)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, sugar-free (sub nomato sauce for AIP)
  • 2 tsp blackstrap molasses (omit for whole30)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp raisins (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped


  1. Using a large deep skillet, heat the avocado oil on medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and saute minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the ground beef and seasonings. Brown the ground beef, using a wooden spoon to crumble the beef. Drain the excess fat from the pan if necessary.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, molasses, water, bay leaves, and stir. Bring to a low simmer and cover for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  5. Stir in the olives, capers, raisins, and cilantro and salt further to taste.
  6. Serve warm with cauliflower rice or plantain chips 


The photos of this recipe and all written content on my website are copyright protected and cannot be copied or shared. Please do not copy this recipe or photos and share it on your own website, Instagram, or other written materials. If you’d like to feature a photo in a roundup, please contact me. If you’d like to tell people about this recipe on social media, your own website, or elsewhere please link back to the recipe here rather than copy and pasting.  Thank you so much!!

All nutrition facts are estimations and will vary.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: one pot meals
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Latin


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 277
  • Fat: 12.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.1g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Protein: 26.5g

Cuban picadillo