This Whole30 Ropa Vieja (which literally translates to ‘old clothes’ in Spanish) is a super easy and delicious Cuban dish that is perfect for meal prep or a hearty weeknight dinner. Ropa Vieja is the dish I seek out in Cuban restaurants and one I closely associate with my childhood visiting my grandparents in Miami because that’s where I first tried it.

Whole30 Ropa Vieja Paleo Primal Gourmet Easy Cuban Recipe Shredded Beef

No, I’m not Cuban, or Latino for that matter. I’m a Toronto-born, Russian Jew, but my grandparents made the eventual pilgrimage (read: retirement) to Miami after living in New York for many years. I spent many a happy childhood summer eating at some top-notch Cuban joints and ropa vieja was almost always on the menu.

My Ropa Vieja may not be 100% authentic or traditional, but it is easy, delicious and Whole30 and Paleo compliant. And, in my books, that’s all that matters! You can definitely stick to the traditional recipes if you want, which calls for golden raisins and capers and doesn’t use smoked paprika. You’re the boss, applesauce.

Can You Make Ropa Vieja in the Instant Pot?

You can make Ropa Vieja in a Dutch Oven, slow cooker or an Instant Pot. The meat breaks down really quickly when you use a pressure cooker and becomes super juicy. Since this is a very saucy dish, you don’t have to spend too much time reducing the sauce down after it cooks in a pressure cooker, which is one of the reasons I think using an Instant Pot is great here – you’ll save quite a bit of time.

If you haven’t jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet, feel free to read my Instant Pot Review. I can summarize here by telling you that I love it and recommend buying one (Amazon seems to always be the cheapest option). The reason why I fell in love with it is the sautée function, which allows you to sear directly in the multi-cooker – something I can’t do with my slow cooker.

Oh, and if you’re on the meal-prepping kick, rest assured that the soft, shredded flank steak and sauce taste even better the next day! Try serving it with my Cilantro-Lime Cauli Rice &/or my Tostones.

**The Instant Pot version of this recipe was originally shared in March, 2018. It has since been updated it to include a stovetop version. It’s just as easy as the Instant Pot version and uses almost identical ingredients. The only differences are that it takes a bit more time to cook on the stovetop, and you will need 2 cups of crushed tomatoes, instead of the one cup called for in the Instant Pot version. The reason is because cooking ropa vieja in a Dutch oven allows for quite a bit of steam to evaporate because the lid doesn’t fit as tightly as it does on a pressure cooker. Therefore, you need more liquid to ensure that the ingredients don’t dry out and burn.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Cheers,

Ronny

5 from 1 vote
Whole30 Ropa Vieja Paleo Primal Gourmet Easy Cuban Recipe Shredded Beef
Whole30 Ropa Vieja - Instant Pot Version
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 55 mins
 

This Whole30 Ropa Vieja is a super easy and delicious Cuban dish that is perfect for meal prep or a hearty weeknight dinner.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: cuban cuisine, ropa vieja, shredded beef, whole30 ropa vieja
Servings: 5 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 medium onion - julienned
  • 1 green pepper - julienned
  • 1 red pepper - julienned
  • 1 yellow pepper - julienned
  • 5 cloves garlic - roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes look for a BPA-free can
  • juice of 1 lime - plus extra lime wedges for serving
  • 1 cup compliant olives - sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro - roughly chopped (optional)
  • jalapeño and avocado - for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Set Instant Pot to the sauté function and preheat 5 minutes. Add avocado oil and heat until shimmering.

  2. Slice the beef in half so that it fits in the pot and season both sides with salt & pepper. Add the beef to pot and cook until browned, around 5 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the second side, around 5 minutes. Transfer the browned beef to a plate and set aside.

  3. Add onion and peppers to the pot and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring and scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pot, until softened, around 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, another 60 seconds.

  4. Add garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika & cumin & toss everything to coat. Cook, stirring, for 60 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes, lime juice, & olives. Stir to combine and add the beef back to the pot. Push the beef down so that it's partially covered by the vegetables and some of the liquid. Close the lid, set the valve to the sealing position and cook under high pressure 45min.

  5. Release pressure manually and shred the steak in the pot using two forks. Taste the ropa vieja for seasoning and adjust with salt & pepper as desired. Add cilantro, if using, and stir through.

  6. Serve ropa vieja with cauliflower rice and/or plantains (see my blog for recipes) and garnish with jalapeño, avocado and cilantro

5 from 1 vote
Whole30 Ropa Vieja Paleo Primal Gourmet Easy Cuban Recipe Shredded Beef
Whole30 Ropa Vieja - Stovetop Version
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
 

This Whole30 Ropa Vieja is a super easy and delicious Cuban dish that is perfect for meal prep or a hearty weeknight dinner.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: cuban cuisine, ropa vieja, shredded beef, whole30 ropa vieja
Servings: 6 people
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil plus extra, if required
  • 1 medium onion - julienned
  • 1 green pepper - julienned
  • 1 red pepper - julienned
  • 1 yellow pepper - julienned
  • 5 cloves garlic - roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes look for a BPA-free can
  • juice of 1 lime - plus extra lime wedges for serving
  • 1 cup compliant olives - sliced such as castelvetrano or manzanilla
  • ½ cup cilantro - roughly chopped (optional)
  • jalapeño and avocado - for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add avocado oil and heat until shimmering.

  2. Slice the beef in half so that it fits into the pot and season both sides with salt & pepper. Working in batches, carefully add the beef to the hot oil and cook until browned, around 4 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the second side, around 4 minutes. Transfer the beef to a bowl and set aside.

  3. If necessary, add avocado oil to the pot so that there is a total of 2 tablespoons cooking fat. Add the onion and peppers and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring and scraping brown bits off the bottom of the pot, until the vegetables have slightly softened, around 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 60 seconds.

  4. Add garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika & cumin and cook, tossing everything to coat, for 60 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes, lime juice, and olives and stir to combine. Return the beef to the pot and push it down so that it's partially covered by some of the vegetables and liquid. Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover with a lid, turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the beef is easily shredded with a fork.

  5. Shred the ropa vieja with two forks and return it to the pot. Toss everything to coat, taste the ropa vieja for seasoning and adjust with salt & pepper as desired. Add cilantro, if using, and stir through.

  6. Serve the ropa vieja with cauliflower rice and/or plantains (see my blog for recipes) and garnish with jalapeño, avocado and more cilantro, if using.