try something new: cuban cuisine.

by Janetha on February 24, 2015

in recipes

i had been thinking about the delicious cuban meal my friend jenn made for us almost every day since she made it. yep, it was THAT good. it was actually both mine and marshall’s first time trying cuban food, and most definitely not the last.

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jenn passed her recipe for picadillo onto me and it’s been on my list to make for awhile now. i knew i would need a little extra time in the kitchen to figure it all out, so i decided a sunday was my best bet.

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this past sunday, i successfully made the picadillo, beans, and rice!

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we also tried to make fried bananas—that was one of the best parts of the meal jenn had made for us—but failed at that one. they turned out soggy and weird. maybe next time!

i have to share the three recipes that i made—they are so good and, actually, so easy. now that i know how simple it really was, i will be making this again and again on week nights.

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cuban picadillo
serves 4-6


  • 1 onion, diced (i used half a red and half a yellow)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup green olives, diced
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • lots of salt & pepper


  1. sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a little oil until soft.
  2. add ground beef and sauté a bit more.
  3. add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. serve with rice & beans, recipes follow.
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cuban black beans
serves 4-6


  • 1 onion, diced (i used half a red and half a yellow)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans black beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar


  1. sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a little oil for five minutes.
  2. add a little liquid from the canned black beans and sauté until everything is soft.
  3. add beans with remaining liquid.
  4. add spices and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. add the vinegar just before serving.
  6. eat alongside picadillo and rice, recipe follows.

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garlic rice
serves 4-6


  • 2 TB oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups long grain white rice or jasmine rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt


  1. sauté oil and garlic in a saucepan until fragrant.
  2. add rice and sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. add water and bring to a boil.
  4. turn to low and cover, let simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  5. serve with picadillo and black beans.

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once you have plated everything, it’s best to just mix it all together before devouring.

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this was SUCH a delicious meal! and since many of the ingredients are similar, it was really easy to prep everything first and then throw it all together.

it felt so good to have three burners going at once! it had been a long time since i played around in the kitchen and i realized how much i really miss it. can’t wait to make this one again!


1. have you tried cuban cuisine? do you like it?

2. what was the last new recipe you made?

xo. janetha g.

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Erica February 24, 2015 at 6:41 pm

YUM! IT all looks so so good. I don’t like olives…do you think taking them out would ruin the picadillo? I make pretty much Aggie from Aggie’s Kitchen posts- I made her taco bowls yesterday.

Janetha February 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Yes you could totally leave them out and it would still be good! Maybe add more raisins!

Kendra February 24, 2015 at 7:13 pm

This meal looks delicious. I must try it!

lindsay February 25, 2015 at 1:29 am

look at you! a recipe and one i’d love. same me a dish, mmm k?

Mollie @ Sprinkles of Life February 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

Yum! This looks awesome! and different than what is our normal dinners! Will be trying soon!

Calee February 25, 2015 at 11:33 am

Haven’t tried Cuban but have been bugging my Colombian friend to get some recipes from his mom (he can’t cook …) so I can try making some awesome south american food.

Heather @ fit mama real food February 25, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Love cooking different cuisines! My question, how much do you taste the olives? Neither Jacob or I are big fans of them. Thanks for sharing it!

Janetha February 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

You could definitely omit them and be fine! It was weird, because the original recipe has green olives that taste like, well, green olives. But these green olives I bought from Trader Joe’s taste like black olives. I used them anyway and it was still good, just missing that vinegar-y bite from green olives. So you could leave them out and I think it would still be delish.

candice s February 26, 2015 at 12:15 pm

this looks delicious and easy. Good thing I love olives!

sarah February 26, 2015 at 12:41 pm

You mentioned fried bananas, the reason it might not have worked, is because plantains are what are normally used. They have the ability to stand up to heat and cooking much better. Also, keep an eye out for Spanish olives, they are green and are best in dishes like this.

Janetha February 27, 2015 at 11:05 am

Thanks for the tip on the olives! So I know they typically use plantains, but Jenn and her husband had made fried bananas for us and I actually liked them better than fried plantains (I have had those many times)–I am not sure how she pulled off making the fried bananas so good! I will have to try again.

Cathy February 26, 2015 at 1:38 pm

If you wanna make it even more delicious squeeze some fresh lime juice over it next time. :)

Janetha February 27, 2015 at 11:04 am

Thanks for the tip!

Cassie February 26, 2015 at 3:22 pm

I haven’t tried Cuban, but I’m a big fan of Jamaican cuisine. I highly recommend plantains, which is like a banana. You can find them in most grocery stores– they look like big bananas. Wait until they are very ripe- like banana bread black, ripe, and then slice them up and fry them in a bit of oil. SO GOOD!

Janetha February 27, 2015 at 11:03 am

I LOVE fried plantains! And all Jamaican cuisine, really. That’s where I got engaged and we ate fried plantains like crazy on that trip.

Traci February 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm

I’ve never made or considered making a Cuban dish at home and I don’t know why! The flavor combo on this one looks really good and different.

I love traditional Cuban sandwiches, and my parents make a great Cuban pulled pork sandwich. But beyond sandwiches, I guess I haven’t really tried other dishes.

The last new recipe I tried was Ina Garten’s shrimp scampi for Valentine’s Day–came out awesome.

Petra February 28, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I’ve never tried any Cuban dish, but I love how all the elements work together in this simple recipe. Hmm, maybe I should give it a try: looking at your photos, I’m hungry! :)) I really admire your food-styling skills! Honestly, if I was cooking, the result never looked so amazing – and definitely not in the pictures! I recently realized how important is how we see the food we are we eating, creative dining events like helped me a lot: the combination of an ordinary place and professional cooks revealed that creating a dish that looks delicious is easier than I thought and it’s all about the small details… Pretty eye-opening… Glad to find inspiration in different cuisines, too!

Nagore March 4, 2015 at 5:11 am

Picadillo means literally “ground beef” (or gound porc,) in Spanish from Spain. And Cuban food is delish!!!! all Caribean is :)

Janetha March 4, 2015 at 11:41 am


Drew May 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm

All of these ingredients together sound like they would be fantastic together. I can’t wait to try it myself. Thanks for sharing!

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