Ropa Vieja- A Classic Cuban Dish!

Enough High Protein / Low Fat Meat To Last The Week!

by Magical1980 - July 28th, 2014

Looking for a starter recipe for your slow cooker?  Braising is the technical term for what a slow cooker does, and it takes a few hours to cook. I usually put it together right before I go to bed, and the next morning it is done. I generally use 5 pounds of meat to last me 6 to 7 days of meals.

Whoever says you can't have good tasting food that is also really good for you doesn't know what they are talking about.

Here is one of my favorite easy recipes of all time!

Ropa vieja ("old clothes" in Spanish) is a classic Cuban dish. I grew up eating it. My godfather was from Cuba, and weekend dinners were usually at his house. It is in effect a thick shredded beef stew--high in protein, and low in fat, especially if you cook with flank steak. Stew meat is cheaper, but look carefully at the presence of fat to meat ratio when buying stew meat--the leaner the better for your diet.

A slow cooker is a fitness foodie's best friend in the kitchen, and makes this dish incredibly easy to cook!

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Nutritional Facts

Serving Size: Enough meat to last 6 – 7 days (depending on portion sizes)

Cooking Instructions


  • 5 lbs stewing beef, as in shank, or the traditional flank steak

  • 2 Medium Onions (Sofrito)

  • 3 Medium Green Bell Peppers

  • Garlic

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin, or more to your taste level

  • Salt and pepper to taste (I generally allow 1 tbsp of salt to season the entire recipe)

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes (lowest sodium content you can find)

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste


  1. Slice two medium onions and 3 medium green bell peppers into thin strips. Make sure to discard the ends of the onions and peppers and the seeded heart of the pepper.

  2. Sweat the onions, peppers, and several cloves of garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until they are softened and aromatic. Don't change the color of the veggies by cooking them too long or on too high of heat.

  3. If the canned tomatoes aren't already pureed, do so in a blender or food processor. Mix in the tomato paste.

  4. Portion the meat into bit sized pieces.

  5. Layer the meat and sofrito into the slow cooker, seasoning the layers with the cumin, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Pour the tomato mixture over everything, and toss around a few times with tongs spreading the liquid evenly.

  6. Set the slow cooker to "low" and cook until meat falls apart as you spoon into it. It is generally a 6 to 8 hour cook time.

  7. Enjoy!

The dominant flavor should be the beef. Everything else should play off of each other. Too many people make the mistake of using too much tomato, which takes away from the rest of the dish's other ingredients.

If the rope vieja gets too thick as it simmers you can add water or beef broth to thin it out. As the beef and veggies cook they release their own juices, so between that and the tomato puree, that is usually all the liquid needed.

Traditionally, rope vieja is served with white rice and stewed black beans on the side but brown rice is the dietary better choice for us here. Eat well Nation!

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posted by Magical1980
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Studied under Martin Yan- The King of Chinese Cuisine
Prep & line cook for 2.5 years before becoming Maitre d'

I love this recipe, I made it a few days ago. I didn't know it was called "Ropa Vieja" I have always halled it "Desebrado De Res"

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

haha, well you would know Arturo! You are Mexican