Cuban Paleo Picadillo

Paleo Picadillo Close up

Paleo Picadillo. The Cuban Paleo Shepard’s Pie. Looks messy, but tastes DELICIOUS!

Ok folks, here is another Cuban inspired recipe with a new Paleo twist. Picadillo comes from the Spanish word “picar” which means to mince or chop. Picadillo is Latin America’s version of a hash that is made with ground beef, tomatoes and spices. I love this recipe for three reasons:

1. The most obvious reason is because it reminds me of my Mama’s (my grandmother) cooking. I LOVE Cuban food. Anything Mama cooked that was fried, pork, beef, or served with rice and beans I was all over it. No wonder I was a little heffer growing up. My dad used to call me “Cara de Luna” which translates to Moon Face. What a term of endearment, wouldn’t you say?!?!

2. Second reason this Paleo Picadillo is AWESOME is because it uses my new favorite fall ingredient…butternut squash. Have I mentioned that Cosco sells 2lbs of already peeled and chopped, organic butternut squash for only $3.99??? For those of you who know me, you know this girl loves a bargain. So because it is Über healthy (rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants and packs a lot of fiber and potassium) AND its inexpensive, I am trying to find as many recipes as I can that uses butternut squash. Do you blame me? It’s cheap and I don’t have to get squash hands from peeling? Sign me up; it’s a win win. Last week alone I cooked over 6lbs of butternut squash. I am not exaggerating. Yum.

3. Lastly, I love to try and cook different international dishes. I love the Irish year round and not just on St. Patrick’s Day. The reason I bring this up is because this recipe actually reminds me of Shepard’s Pie. My dear college roommate, Serene, is going to marry a hunky Irish man, Collin, this upcoming summer and when I made this dish it made me think of him and his Gaelic roots. So if you are a fan of Shepard’s Pie, you will like this new Paleo twist that was inspired by this recipe I found awhile back. Good luck and happy cooking!


Cuban Paleo Picadillo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Another favorite Cuban meal I loved growing up but now it is new, improved and PALEO!
Recipe type: Paleo Dinner
Cuisine: Cuban
Serves: 8-10
  • 2lb of lean ground beef (I use 96%)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon of oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • ¾ cups of Spanish green olives, drained (I used Goya Alcaparrado which is a mixture of olives and pimentos)
  • ¼ cup of dried apricots, chopped
  • ¼ cup of whole raisins
  • 2 medium butternut squashes, peeled and chopped into cubes (yields about 8 cups).
  • (I only had one 2lb package of butternut squash and I wish I had enough to double it. The butternut squash added such a great flavor and texture to the meal that I wish I had 4lbs of butternut squash rather than 2lbs but again I LOVE BUTTERNUT SQUASH)
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of almond flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Peel, de-seed and chop your butternut squash. Coat with melted coconut oil or olive oil and sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of oregano and roast for 35-40 minutes until soft. Midway through the baking process stir the butternut squash to avoid burning.
  3. While the butternut squash is roasting, heat a sauté pan with olive or coconut oil and brown the beef.
  4. After about 5 minutes, cook onions, garlic and peppers until the onions are translucent. Add spices (remainder of the oregano, cumin, salt and chili powder) and mix evenly.
  5. Once the beef is almost browned and vegetables are somewhat soft, add the tomatoes, olives, apricots and raisins. Stir and bring to boil.
  6. Take the meat mixture off the heat and spread it in a greased 3 quart cooking dish and set aside. Note, I had a lot of extra liquid in the pan so I drained the meat and vegetables when putting it in the Pyrex cooking pan. Your preference of course, I was just afraid too much liquid would make the dish soggy. It's your call.
  7. Reset oven temperature to 375 degrees and with a hand masher or big fork mash the butternut squash along with the egg and almond flour.
  8. Spread the butternut squash on top of the beef mixture and bake in the 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.


Paleo Picadillo with Butternut Squash Ingredients

Paleo Picadillo with Butternut Squash Ingredients sans butternut squash in the picture because it was roasting in the oven

Butternut Squash Ready to go in the oven to roast

Butternut Squash is ready to go in the oven to roast after it is peeled, seeded, and cut. It is seasoned with oil and oregano.

Sauteing beef with vegetables

Sauteing vegetables after the beef was browned. Added spices and garlic.

Adding the raisins apricots and olives to the Paleo Picadillo

Adding the raisins, apricots, and olives to the Paleo Picadillo to add a touch of sweetness

Adding tomatoes is the final ingredient to the Paleo Picadillo

Adding the diced tomatoes is the final ingredient to this delicious Cuban Paleo Picadillo

Adding the paleo picadillo to baking dish pan

Adding the Cuban Paleo Picadillo to the baking dish pan

Ready to mash the roasted butternut squash with almond flour and egg

Ready to mash the roasted butternut squash with the almond flour and egg

Hand mashed the butternut squash

Hand mashed the butternut squash. Easy peasy.

Spread the butternut squash on top of Paleo Picadillo

Spread the butternut squash on top of Paleo Picadillo

After baking 40 minutes the paleo picadillo is done

After baking for 40 minutes the Cuban Paleo Picadillo is done!

Paleo Picadillo in the roasting pan

Cuban Paleo Picadillo in the roasting pan. Doesn’t that look amazing?!?!?

So I know I say every meal I blog about is amazing but how did this Cuban Picadillo fare in your Casa? Was it as good as I said? Buen Provecho!

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One Response to “Cuban Paleo Picadillo”

  1. BenNovember 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    Long-time reader, first time commenter. My wife is out of town, and I have to say this recipe was easy enough for me to make all myself, even with 2 kiddos screaming in the background. It even came out of the oven looking like the pictures. Very good. I recommend this one.

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