Filipino Beef Picadillo is one of the comfort foods I grew up on. It is a simple meal of ground beef or ground pork cooked with potatoes, garlic and onions and sometimes bell pepper. We ate it with rice. In this version of the dish, I serve it with black rice to amp up the fiber and nutrients of the meal.
A Bit Of History
Just from the name, Picadillo is of Spanish origin. In the Philippines, it is simply called ‘giniling’ or sometimes ‘Arroz a la Cubana’. As you probably already know, the Philippines was under Spanish rule for more than 300 years and our language has a lot of Spanish words in it.
This dish is very popular in Latin American countries as well as the Carribean. Picadillo comes from the word ‘picar’ which means ‘mince’ and it refers to the ground meat used in this dish. In the Cuban version, capers or olives and raisins are used as well as the juice from the capers to flavor the meat.
Black rice has a long history coming from ancient China. It was called ‘Forbidden Rice‘ or ‘Emperor’s Rice‘ because it was reserved for the emperor and used as a tribute food. It was prized for its health properties benefiting the kidney, stomach and liver. Eventually, through the centuries, common people like us were allowed to eat the rice. Doesn’t this make you feel very privileged?
Filipino Picadillo Recipe and Healthy Black Rice Recipe
This is a simple meal of ground beef or ground pork cooked with potatoes, garlic and onions and sometimes bell pepper. We ate it with rice. In this version of the dish, I serve it with black rice to amp up the fiber and nutrients of the meal.
- 1.5 lbs ground beef or pork
- 1/2 pc pc medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pc tomato chopped
- 1/2 pc red or yellow bell pepper chopped
- 3 tbsp cilantro
- 1/2 tsp salt and dash of ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp capers or green olives sliced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 oz tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pc bay leaf
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas, left outside to defrost
- 1 cup black rice
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 tbsp vinegar any vinegar will do, balsamic is best
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
Ground Beef Picadillo
Heat olive oil in a pan
Saute garlic, onion, tomatoes and bell pepper.
Add ground meat to the pan and cook until browned. Add cumin and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.
Add tomato sauce, capers or green olives and water and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add raisins if desired. Add green peas on top.
Wash black rice. Put in a pot with water and cook uncovered until boiling.
Cover partially and lower the heat. Cook for about 35 minutes until water is absorbed.
Test if rice is cooked. If not, add 1/2 cup water and cook 10 more minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes. Add vinegar and olive oil and mix.
Add slivered almonds on top.
How to Serve:
Serve the picadillo warm as topping to the black rice salad. This can be eaten with a small greens salad as well. This is good as part of meal prep with a portion of picadillo and black rice and greens for every container.
Health Benefits of Beef Picadillo and Black Rice
Red or Orange Bell peppers:
Brightly colored bell peppers are full or Vitamin C and A. They are good for eye health and for fighting colds. They can prevent anemia and has loads of lycopene which prevent many kinds of cancers.
There’s a reason why they were reserved for emperors. Black rice has a lot of antioxidants, has a lot of fiber and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help stop diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even weight gain.
The pigments that give black rice its purple hue is the same compunds that give blueberries, purple grapes and goji berries their rich color.
Almonds have a lot of healthy fats, magnesium, protein and vitamin E. They can lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Snacking on a handful of almonds can reduce hunger and help with weight loss.
Other healthy black rice recipes:
Serve the black rice with shrimps cooked in olive oil and seasoned with rosemary. Splash some white wine to the pan to deglaze it and remove the shrimp bits and add the shrimps and sauce on top of the black rice.
Serve it the same way they make desserts in Asia -make black rice pudding with slices of mango on top.
Make Filipino black rice ‘biko’: black rice cakes made with coconut milk, black rice and sugar. For a stickier rice cake, soak black rice in water for a couple of hours and mix it with glutinous, sticky white rice before adding the other ingredients.
Make black fried rice with scallions, bell pepper, green beans and bits of ham or chorizo. Cook the black rice first before making fried rice. Or use leftover black rice.
Make black rice and chicken soup with carrots, celery, mushrooms and whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator (except greens).
Other things you can do with left-over picadillo:
Use it as filling for baked stuffed red bell peppers.
Use it as filling for Mexican quesadillas and add shredded white cheese before pan-grilling.
Cook fried rice with left over ground meat, add chopped green beans.
Add it as topping for pizza and bake with shredded cheese.
What do You Think?
I hope this article convinced you to try making beef picadillo and black rice. These are simple recipes that do not require hard-to-find ingredients. The only thing you may not be able to find in your mainstream grocery is the black rice.
The health benefits of black rice outweigh the slight difficulty of finding it and the slightly longer cooking time it requires. It is delicious and a little chewier than Jasmine white rice.
To help you, here are some options for buying black rice. I am an affiliate marketer so I get a small (very small) commission when you buy through this link but the price for you is exactly the same.
Kain Na! (Let’s Eat).