Picadillo is a dish traditionally made with ground beef in a tomato sauce and hints of sweet and salty from olives and raisins. It’s perfect for pairing with rice (or a blend of whole grain and cauliflower rice), tacos, quesadillas, or stuffing empanadas or other pastries.
My spin on picadillo uses a few lower calorie ingredients and a pressure cooker to speed things up a bit. It’s an easy recipe that yields a huge batch with 10 servings, making it perfect for meal prep. I’ll walk you through the recipe below, and you’ll find a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Picadillo in the Ninja Foodi
Despite a slightly longer than usual ingredient list, this really is an easy recipe. So easy, in fact, the recipe has just 3 steps!
One thing before we get to the recipe walkthrough. If you don’t have a Ninja Foodi, Instant Pot, or pressure cooker, I’ve included a note in the recipe card for stovetop prep.
Step 1: Cook the Ground Beef Using the Foodi’s Sauté Function
Use the Foodi’s sauté function to cook a diced yellow onion and green bell in olive oil pepper until soft. Then cook a bit of minced garlic until fragrant before adding the ground beef.
Stir the beef occasionally and cook until no pink remains. This will take about 8-10 minutes.
Step 2: Adding the Remaining Ingredients for Pressure Cooking
Once the beef is cooked, add tomato sauce and paste, white wine vinegar, beef broth (or any broth), chopped olives, raisins, and spices. I used jalapeño stuffed olives, but you can use any variation.
Give it a stir, seal, and pressure cook for 5 minutes with high pressure.
Step 3: Pressure Cooking the Picadillo
The recipe gives a pressure cooking time range of 6-8 minutes that yields thicker/thinner picadillo. I like mine a little saucy and go with the shorter end of the range. But if you’re making something like empanadas, a thicker picadillo is probably a good idea.
You’ll notice in the photo above I added a bit of chopped cilantro to my picadillo after pressure cooking, but that’s totally optional!
In the photos, I served my picadillo with a blend of whole grain and cauliflower rice like I used in my Tex-Mex Ground Beef and Rice Skillet. You should also check out the quesatacos I made in a similar recipe, pressure cooker ground turkey tacos.
Side note: If you wanted to add potatoes for picadillo con papas, you could chop up some baby gold potatoes and toss in with the onion and peppers. My pressure cooker cheeseburger soup is a great example of this. You could also serve the picadillo over my air fryer Mexican potatoes or use something like the radishes in my keto cheeseburger skillet for a low carb potato substitute.
Other Ingredient Modification Notes
I don’t see many questionable ingredients other than the white wine vinegar, which I’ve included a note for in the recipe card below. Other than that, a common question in ground beef recipes is whether or not ground turkey or chicken will work. And 99.9% of the time, like with this recipe, the answer is yes.
If you’re wondering about the olives and raisins, I guess you could omit them, but they do add something to the dish in both the flavor and texture departments. Capers or pickled vegetables of some kind might be good olive alternatives. And other dried fruits like dates, figs, or prunes might be good raisin substitutes.
Okay, you should be good to go. If you have additional questions about this picadillo recipe, drop a comment below or join my Facebook group with more than 10,000 Protoners who’d be happy to help you out!
- 2 lbs Ground Beef (96/4)
- 2 Tbsp (32g) Olive Oil
- 1 (250g) Yellow Onion, diced
- 1 (150g) Green Bell Pepper, diced
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
For Pressure Cooking
- 1 C (240mL) Beef Broth
- 8 oz can Tomato Sauce
- 6 oz can Tomato Paste
- 1/4 C (60g) White Wine Vinegar*
- 10 Jalapeño Stuffed Olives, roughly chopped
- 2 oz Raisins
- 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Set the Foodi's sauté function to HI while you prep the vegetables.
- Add the olive oil to the Foodi pot. Once hot, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add the ground beef and cook until no pink remains.
- Add the pressure cooking ingredients and stir well. Seal and pressure cook on HI for 6-8 minutes** with quick release pressure (vent as soon as the Foodi's cook cycle is finished). Optional: Stir in 1-2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro after the picadillo is finished cooking.
*You can use a dry white wine, lemon juice, or white grape juice as white wine vinegar substitute.
**Use the full 8 minutes for a thicker picadillo with very little liquid remaining and 6 minutes to preserve a bit of liquid. If your Foodi displays a "WATR" error, you can vent, stir, and reseal to finish cooking.
Follow the recipe as written up to sealing and pressure cooking. Instead, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the picadillo has thickened. You could also reduce the beef broth slightly to reduce the cook time.
Each 175-gram serving of picadillo has 5 WW Smart Points (blue plan).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Servings Serving Size: 175g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 7.3gSaturated Fat: 2gCarbohydrates: 13.1gFiber: 1.7gSugar: 8gProtein: 21.3g