It's not easy to find healthy, easy, quick and Weight Watchers friendly recipes made with ground beef; especially recipes that use mostly pantry ingredients.
But this Healthy Picadillo recipe is exactly that! And it has been one of my go-to recipes for years. It is popular around Cinco de Mayo in May but great for any time of the year!
What is picadillo?
Picadillo is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries and the Philippines that is similar to hash. It is made with ground beef, tomatoes, raisins, olives, capers, and other ingredients that vary by region. I LOVE my picadillo with not only olives but capers too and that is the Cuban version!
I'm actually so caper crazy that I vividly remember the first time I had capers. It was in a pasta dish at the Olive Garden restaurant and my first thought was, "where have these glorious little bursts of deliciousness been all my life?!" I was in food love! If you're not familiar with capers, they are a flower bud from the caper bush (you can read more about what capers are HERE )
Capers are extremely bitter when eaten straight up, so they are generally eaten pickled. That brine essentially turns them into little flavor bombs that elevate simple dishes to entirely new levels. You can read more about capers HERE. But from that day forward I made it my mission to find and create more recipes with capers. My WW Boneless Pork with Caper Sauce is another WW friendly caper recipe and I highly recommend it!
🥗 Side dishes & how to eat picadillo
It is often served with rice or used as a taco filling, with corn tortillas, savory pastries or croquettes. But I prefer to simply serve it over brown rice or cauliflower rice (to bring down the points).
🥘 Ingredients for picadillo with extra lean ground beef🐄
- Extra lean ground beef - I love making healthy and Weight Watchers friendly recipes with extra lean ground beef; there aren't enough of them out there.
- My Hamburger Soup is another one of my faves - it's only 5 WW points! (shown below)
- Many WW picadillo recipes use ground turkey for the ground meat and although I enjoy it, I can't give up my ground beef! However, you make make it into turkey picadillo by using ground turkey, or use ground chicken breast, if you wish.
- Raisins - The original recipe I use as a base calls for raisins, but since most of my family is not crazy about raisins, I add a little brown sugar instead.
- Cilantro - Although this is a Cuban Picadillo recipe, I do like to add a Mexican flair to this version of picadillo by including lime and cilantro - this combination gives this recipe such a fresh flavor!
- Oil - You don't need olive oil or any other kind of oil to cook this dish. Oil just adds unnecessary calories.
- Bay leaves - you can add bay leaves to this recipe
- Tomato sauce - tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine vinegar make a great low-calorie tomato sauce!
- Bell peppers - you can use any type/color (yellow, orange or red peppers) if you prefer
*See recipe card for ingredient quatities
This easy picadillo recipe is 5 ww points per serving (not including the rice). You can use cauliflower rice to reduce the points or serve it in a hard or soft taco shell.
Store leftover picadillo in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
You will need a large skillet (affiliate link) or a large sauté pan for this recipe.
👪 Serving Size
This healthy picadillo recipe makes 8 servings. However, you can half, double, or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. If you are making a big batch, you'll need additional skillets.
- Cook ground beef to an internal minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
- Never leave cooking food unattendedSee more guidelines at USDA.gov
So, if you're looking for a delicious meal the whole family will love, give this Healthy Picadillo a try!
📋 Healthy Picadillo Recipe
- 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 teaspoon minced or pureed garlic
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 5.5 oz -can tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup chopped pitted olives
- 2 tablespoon capers drained
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro finely chopped
- lime wedges
- cilantro sprigs
- whole green olives
- In a large non-stick skillet, cook ground beef over medium-high heat until browned. Drain and return to skillet.
- Reduce heat to medium heat, then add onions, cook stir. Add garlic and green peppers. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, water, then stir in olives, capers, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, cilantro and Worcestershire sauce.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
- Serve over brown or white rice, cauliflower rice or use as a filling for tacos.
- Garnish with cilantro sprigs, lime wedges and whole green olives, if desired. Squeeze lime over dish, and sprinkle on black pepper, if desired.