This past January, I completed my first Whole30. Essentially, Whole30 is a 30-day elimination diet where you can only eat meat, fruits, vegetables, and some nuts. In turn, you cannot eat sugar, grains, legumes, gluten, alcohol, dairy, or anything that masks itself as a treat (like paleo pizza or paleo banana pancakes). In doing so, you abstain from eating foods that might make you feel tired and bloated, and then you slowly reintroduce certain foods to your diet after the 30 days to see what effect they have on you, making diet changes from there.
As I write this, I’m realizing that I have a lot of thoughts about Whole30, so I might use future blog posts to talk more about it, especially since January is almost here and it’s a big Whole30 month! In terms of the diet, I do think it’s more than just about what you can and can’t eat. The program addresses a lot of the struggles we have when it comes to food, like emotional eating, losing your willpower with certain foods, etc.All of this is to say that you need variety in the meals you create, and you need to plan these ahead, to have a successful Whole30. That way, you’re excited to eat something new and you’re not tempted to grab the first thing you see.
Which brings us to this dish – Colombian-inspired Picadillo. I created this recipe while looking for ways to change up what I was eating during Whole30, and was inspired to combine one of my favorite Cuban dishes with Colombian flavors.Traditionally picadillo is a Cuban dish where ground meat is cooked with olives, tomatoes, bay leaves, and cumin. I put a Colombian spin on the dish and replaced the olives and bay leaves with something called hogao – which is a tomato and onion-based sauce that’s popularly eaten with patacones (also known as tostones or tachinos or fritos verdes depending on where you come from . . . let’s just call them fried plantains).This meal is so satisfying and flavorful, and adding the hogao creates a wonderful sauce. This is my go-to meal for Sunday cooking because it comes together in 30 minutes, it goes great with roasted vegetables (which is what’s always cooking in my apartment on a Sunday), and it tastes so good. It’s also easy to pack up to take to work for the upcoming week.When I’m on Whole30, I love eating this over spiced-roasted cauliflower (recipe coming soon!) and love to top it with avocado and plantains. If you’re not doing a Whole30 or on a paleo diet, have it over white rice! I really think this is a meal that everyone in your family will love.
Also – if you are planning on doing a Whole30 – here are the links to some of my favorite compliant recipes:
- Pan-Seared Salmon with Pineapple Salsa (shameless plug)
- Asian Lettuce Wraps from 40 Aprons
- Jalapeno Turkey Burgers from The Organic Kitchen
- Yellow Chicken Curry from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Adapted from: My Colombian RecipesPrint
Whole30 Colombian-Style Picadillo
A delicious Colombian-inspired picadillo that is flavored by tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and cumin. It is Whole30 compliant, but above all very delicious.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
For the Picadillo
- 1 pound of ground meat (or ½ pound of ground meat and ½ pound of ground pork)
- ⅓ cup of chopped white or yellow onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ⅓ cup of red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of cumin
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of pepper
- Cilantro for garnish
For the Hogao
- 4 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 ½ cups of scallions, chopped
- 3 cups of tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons of cumin
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of pepper
Instructions for the Hogao:
- Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.
- Add the rest of the hogao ingredients and gently stir for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue simmering for about 10 more minutes. At this point, the tomatoes should have broken down and it should be a thicker sauce. Once this is ready, remove it from the heat and set it aside.
Instructions for the Picadillo
- Heat a medium/large sized skillet to medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers, and cook until they are somewhat soft for about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently.
- Add the meat and spices and break down the meat with a wooden spoon while it’s cooking, stirring occasionally until the meat is all browned – about 5-7 minutes.
- Once the meat is browned, lower the heat to low and stir in the hogao and cook for about 10 more minutes. At this point, taste to check for seasonings. You might need to add ½ teaspoon more of salt.
- At this point, the hogao should have cooked off a little, so you are left with the slightly saucy ground beef. Serve over cauliflower rice or white rice along with plantains and avocado slices.