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Spanish Picadillo

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Spanish Picadillo

Spanish Picadillo

Jessica Braider
Picadillo is a sweet, spiced and tangy ground meat mixture popular in Spain and some other Spanish speaking countries. It may sound like an odd combination of ingredients but it bursts with flavor and is super-flexible. You can serve it over rice or potatoes or eat it in a tortilla or a lettuce leaf, scoop it up with tortilla chips, stuff it inside empanada dough, or serve it with a fried egg on top (isn’t everything better that way?). You can also add half a finely diced bell pepper if you have one on hand. Scramble recipe tester Jamila Mergerson said, “The combination of ingredients at first sight sounds kind of strange, but when everything comes together, this meal is really good, and easy to prepare which is always a winner in my book! My kids scraped their plates clean.”
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced, about 1 1/2 tsp.
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or beef, preferably lean grass fed beef, or meatless crumbles
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon or more to taste
  • 15 oz. diced fire-roasted tomatoes with their liquid
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. capers or use 1/4 sliced green olives
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro for serving (optional)


  • Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat, and when it is hot add the oil. Let the oil heat for a minute, then add the onions and let them cook for about 5 minutes until they are tender and just starting to get golden.
  • Stir in the garlic for about 30 seconds, then add the meat and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 – 4 minutes until the meat is mostly cooked through.
  • Add the tomatoes, raisins, capers and vinegar, bring it to a low boil, and simmer it, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about half and the flavors are melded.
  • Season it with salt and pepper to taste, and serve it immediately, topped with cilantro, if desired, or refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. This is one of those dishes that’s even better the next day.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Omit the oil. Add all ingredients except the cilantro to the slow cooker, mix well, and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours, until the meat is cooked through. Add the cilantro before serving. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)


Do Ahead or Delegate: Dice the onion, peel the garlic, combine the dry seasonings, chop the cilantro if using, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the dish.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Serve it with hot pepper sauce or sriracha.
Tip: If you have any leftovers, picadillo is great the next day stuffed inside tacos or as a filling for burritos or tamales.  You can also reheat some the following morning, put it in a thermos, and send it with your kids for school lunches with some tortilla chips.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 185, Total Fat: 9g, 13.5%; Saturated Fat: 2g, 10%; Cholesterol: 56mg, 18.5%; Sodium: 309mg, 13%; Total Carbohydrate: 12g, 4%; Dietary Fiber: 2g, 5%; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 16g
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Keyword All, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fall, Freezer-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Low Fat, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, No Added Sugar, Nut-Free, Slow Cooker, Spring, Summer, Winter
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