Vegan Picadillo Recipe | Easy + Flavorful!

GFGluten Free

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Hearty and Flavorful, this Cuban-Style Vegan Picadillo tastes just like the original! Made with “Beef” Crumbles, Olives, and lots of spices.

Picadillo is a classic Cuban dish comprised of sauteéd Onions and Peppers (also known as Sofrito), Ground Beef, fragrant spices, and chunks of Green Olives. It’s cozy, filling, and satisfying; a classic Latin “comfort food,” if you will. This completely plant-based version ticks all of those boxes as well, plus it comes together in just over 30 minutes! 

black skillet with cooked vegan picadillo and wooden spoon

Believe it or not, Picadillo is actually a very easy recipe to “veganize.” All you really have to do is replace the Ground Beef with a Vegan alternative! Nowadays there are loads of options on the market to choose from, and they’re pretty dang realistic, too.

People often say that they can’t go Vegan because meat “tastes good,” but when you think about it, most of that flavor comes from plants to begin with! Yes, Traditional Picadillo is made from Beef, but it also wouldn’t be Picadillo without the Onions, Peppers, Spices, and Green Olives. And all of those items are already plant-based…..get where I’m going here? 😉 two bowls of vegan picadillo with skillet of picadillo and two silver forks

Picadillo #FromYourBowl: Meet Coco

This recipe comes from my dear friend (and talented photographer), Coco. Born and raised in Miami, Coco grew up eating a delicious fusion of Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican foods. Her grandmother taught her how to make this recipe while growing up, and she was determined to make a plant-based version that her meat-eating family would still love and enjoy. I’d say she was pretty successful!

Coco also taught me how to make her famous “Arroz con Guandules,” which is also on the blog. Be sure to check it out after you finish reading this post!

Caitlin and Coco laughing in white kitchen with plate of picadillo

Picadillo can be used as a filling for empanadas or other fritters, but is normally served as-is with Rice and Beans. We decided to serve ours with a simple Cabbage Salad to lighten things up a bit and add some color. If you’d like to do the same, simply mix some Shredded Cabbage with Cilantro, Salt, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

However you serve it, don’t forget to top it with extra Cilantro! Coco also told me that the biting into a salty chunk of Green Olive is are also one of the best parts of this dish…so if I were you, I would add extra 😉

white plate filled with vegan picadillo, rice, and a cabbage salad

A Few Final Thoughts:

  • Try to use all 3 colors of Bell Pepper for this recipe, as they each have slightly different flavors! An easy “hack” is to use a frozen Bell Pepper Mix from the store and thaw before cooking.
  • Coco likes to use either Beyond Meat or Gardein Vegan “Beef” Crumbles with this recipe. If you don’t have access to either of those, she recommends using cooked Brown Lentils instead!
  • Want something to serve alongside this Picadillo? I’d highly recommend some Arroz con Guandules. And if you’re looking for more culturally inspired dishes from the #FromYourBowl series, you’ll also love these Spicy Sesame Noodles that I made with my friend Liz!

woman in black dressing holding plate of picadillo, arroz con guandules, and cabbage salad

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂


Vegan Picadillo

Hearty and Flavorful, this Cuban-Style Vegan Picadillo tastes just like the original! Made with “Beef” Crumbles, Olives, and lots of spices. 

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cuban


  • 1 tbsp Neutral Cooking Oil (can sub Water or Veggie Broth)
  • ½ Yellow Onion, diced
  • ¼ of a Red, Yellow, and Green Bell Pepper, diced*
  • ½ bunch chopped Cilantro, stems and leaves divided
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 cube of Vegan Beef-Flavored Bouillon
  • ½ tbsp Badia’s Sazon Tropical
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt-Free Seasoning Blend*
  • ½ tsp Oregano
  • ¼ cup Filtered Water
  • 11 oz Vegan Beef Crumbles, frozen*
  • 610 Pitted Green Olives, cut in half if desired


  1. First, add the Oil to a large pan and bring to medium heat. Add in the Onion, diced Bell Peppers, and all of the chopped Cilantro Stems. Sauté until translucent, then add the minced Garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the Tomato Paste and Beef-flavored Bouillon Cube to the pan and use a spoon to “mash” them into the mixture. Add all of the spices, then sauté for an additional minute. Add ¼ cup of Water to the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  3. Let this mixture cook down for 3-5 minutes, then add in the Vegan Beef Crumbles, Mix well and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until everything is thawed and all of the flavors are well-incorporated. Finally, stir in the Green Olives and remaining Cilantro. Serve as desired; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.


  • Try to use all 3 colors of Bell Pepper, as they each have slightly different flavors!
  • Coco uses and recommends the 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s
  • We used 1 package of Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles for this recipe, but feel free to use any meat substitute of your choice! You can also substitute the “beef” with 3 cups of cooked green lentils if you do not have access to alternatives.

Keywords: vegan picadillo, vegan cuban food, cuban picadillo, healthy, easy cuban food

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Hearty and Flavorful, this Cuban-Style Vegan Picadillo tastes just like the original! Made with "Beef" Crumbles, Olives, and lots of spices. #vegan #glutenfree #picadillo #plantbased |

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. this recipe is incredible and didn’t need too many ingredients to try bland TVP into something incredible. Thank you!!

  2. This was a great recipe. I would like to suggest adding a couple of bay leaves to the grounds after everything is mixed in and being brought to a simmer. Thanks!

  3. This dish satisfied the vegans and the meat-lovers at my house! It was super easy to make and came together perfectly. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. This was a SUPER flavorful recipe and I am so glad I took a leap to try this!!! I had never heard of this dish before and it was so flavorful and like nothing I have ever had before. One note, is that I used the Beyond Meat frozen beef crumbles, and (I’m not sure how many varieties they have) I had to choose between a “taco”-type flavor or what I assumed was just “plain.” I chose the plain crumbles but I think the seasonings on them were more suited to Italian foods, so in the future I might go with the other flavor. Anyway, it wasn’t a deal breaker either way as this is a super SOLID recipe and it all came out well! I served mine with pinto beans and was happy.

  5. Looks even better than Chipotle! I love how delighted you both are to try the picadillo. Is it necessary to add in the olives? I honestly really don’t like the taste of them but I am not sure if they are necessary.

  6. Wow. Just WOW. I didn’t have any tomatoe paste not Bouillon, but I really wanted to try this recipe out. And I have to say this was just amazing. I used lentils instead of beef crumbles. I boiled the lentils in vegetable broth first. While that was going I cooked the veggies as instructed and instead of adding 1/4 of water I added 1/4 of veggie broth since I didn’t have the bouillon cube. When lentils were finished I added it to the pan of veggies and finished the recipe as instructed. It was so damn good! Thank you! You haven’t fail me yet, and everything you make is so healthy!!!