Quinoa Beef Picadillo

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 25 mins

From: "Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way" by Lorna Sass. "Picadillo, a zesty ground beef stew of Spanish orgin, was welcomed enthusiastically into the kitchens of many Caribbean and Latin American cooks during the Colonial period. Variations abound, but I favor the ones that achieve a balance of sweet and salty by including raisins and pimento-stuffed olives. Though picadillo is traditionally served over rice, by mixing high-protein quinoa right into the stew, you can go easy on the meat and still have a very satisfying meal."

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large, deep skillet.
  2. Add the onion and green bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cumin seeds and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add the beef and salt. Break the meat up into bits. Continue cooking until the beef is brown and crumbly, 3 or 4 minutes. Pour off any rendered fat.
  5. Stir in the oregano, chili powder, cinnamon, tomatoes, olives, raisins, and capers. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer the mixture until the flavors have mingled, about 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the quinoa and adjust the seasonings, adding pepper to taste. Cook until the mixture is hot, about 1 minute more.
  7. Serve in large, shallow bowls.
  8. Accompany with a bowl of lime wedges.
  9. A dry grenache-based rose wine from Spain or southern France is a recommended to drink with this dish.


Most Helpful

The whole family loved this. I added some water and rinsed, uncooked quinoa rather than cooking the quinoa separately. Worked great!

Gingernut July 10, 2010

Glad I found this here so I don't have to type it in myself! We liked it a lot. I'm always looking for quinoa recipes. I used 3 10-oz. cans Rotel tomatoes and left out the raisins. Next time I'm going to add some cubed sweet potatoes or butternut squash. I'll also make it spicier and use ground turkey as others suggested.

Fran6 June 22, 2009

We ultimately decided we liked it (much better on the second day after the flavors have melded -- yes you would want to mix this with the quinoa to go for the max blending of flavors), but the combination of flavors does take a bit of getting used to. I would skip the raisins next time -- this recipe is non-committal...either go all out with the sweet (1/2 cup+ raisins) or skip them altogether, because it was weird getting that super-sweet taste in every 3rd or 4th bite...sort of a shock to the palate. Just a helpful hint, 3 cups of cooked quinoa is about 1 cup uncooked (or a bit less). If you can't find diced tomatoes with green chiles, get a 28oz can of diced tomatoes and a small 6oz can of diced green chilies.

Debbie F. March 23, 2009

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