Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)

  • 10MINS
  • 6HR
  • 279KCAL

This Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) is one of the best slimming-friendly hearty meals, whether you’re calorie counting or following a plan like Weight Watchers.

Easy Peasy Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) pinchofnom.com

NutritionPer Serving

  • Calories279
  • Carbs17g
  • Protein33g
  • Fat5.8g
  • Saturates2.1g
  • Sugars15g

Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

For the full list of ingredients and comprehensive instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. Before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know in the blurb!

Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) rather unsurprisingly is made with beef! It’s known in Cuba as Ropa Vieja AKA “old clothes”. Don’t worry, it’s no indication of the taste, this Cuban Beef is DELICIOUS!

Rich and hearty, it’s a super simple dish that will become a firm family favourite in no time. The best bit is that you can pop the whole lot in the slow cooker and get on with your day. As the time passes, you’ll start to smell the tomatoey, spicy goodness filling the kitchen until it’s ready to tuck in. Cooking it low and slow gives the beef time to tenderise and all the flavours to combine. It’s worth the wait, we promise!

What diets is this Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) suitable for?

This recipe is suitable if you’re gluten free as long as you swap out the following ingredients for gluten free versions;

  • Stock cubes

You could also enjoy this Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) if you’re dairy free.

Please make sure to double or triple check all of your ingredients if you’re cooking for people with allergies.

How Weight Watchers friendly is this Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)?

  • You need to count 4 Points per portion of this Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) recipe if you’re on WW Green. 
  • You need to count 4 Points per portion of this Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) recipe if you’re on WW Blue.
  • You need to count 4 Points per portion of this Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) recipe if you’re on WW Purple.

Do you need any special ingredients to make Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)?

We like to use ox cheeks for this recipe, but you can use any type of stewing steak. The cheaper cuts of beef tend to work better for this low and slow meal!

We use red or white wine stock pots in this recipe – they add a real depth of flavour to the dish, without all the added calories of actual wine. You can pick them up in several different supermarkets.

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We like to cook this in a slow cooker.  You can pick up slow cookers in most large supermarkets, or online from Amazon.

The Instant Pot is basically a super slow cooker with a whole heap of other functions. It’s the safest pressure cooker out there – and you can have pulled pork cooked in just an hour! Yes, an hour! They’re available on Amazon, and if you follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter we’ll let you know whenever it’s on offer.

How many calories are in this Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)?

There are 279 calories in each portion of our slimming friendly Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja). This means it falls into our Weekly Indulgence recipe category.

This recipe is perfect if you’re following a calorie controlled diet, and fits well with any one of the major diet plans such as Weight Watchers.

As a guide, an average man needs around 2,500kcal (10,500kJ) a day to maintain a healthy body weight. For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000kcal (8,400kJ) a day. Obviously, if your goal is to lose weight then you might want to adjust these slightly! You can read more about these recommendations on the NHS website.

In the slow cooker

Step 1

Season the meat well with salt and pepper, then spray a frying pan with low calorie cooking spray.

Step 2

Heat the pan and brown the meat on both sides.

Step 2 pinchofnom.com

Step 3

Add all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker along with the browned meat.

Step 3 pinchofnom.com

Step 4

Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 6 hours (or medium for 8 hours).

Step 5

Shred the meat with 2 forks (when cooked, the meat should shred easily).

Step 6

If the sauce is still a little thin remove the lid and allow to reduce slightly.

Step 7

Serve on a bed of rice, or with whatever you fancy.

In the Instant Pot

Step 1

Season the meat well with salt and pepper, then spray the bowl of the Instant Pot with low calorie cooking spray – place into Sauté mode.

Step 2

Heat the pot and brown the meat on both sides.

Step 3

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot with the browned meat. Set the Instant Pot to Manual for 1 hour, then use Natural Pressure Release.

Step 4

Shred the meat with 2 forks (when cooked, the meat should shred easily).

Step 5

If the sauce is still a little thin remove the lid and set to Sauté to reduce slightly.

Step 6

Serve on a bed of rice, or with whatever you fancy.

Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) - Pinch of Nom Slimming RecipesWhat should you should serve with Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)?

Any of the following go really well with this recipe. It’s one of those dishes that goes with pretty much anything. It’s so hearty it can of course be eaten on its own!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes pinchofnom.com
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Whatever accompaniment you choose, don’t forget to account for the extra calories and/or other nutritional values.

Can you cook this recipe another way?

You can cook this recipe either in a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker or oven.

Slow Cooker: 6-8 hours or so – see further instructions in the recipe card below.

Pressure Cooker: 1 hour or so – see further instructions in the recipe card below.

Oven: You could cook this in the oven in a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, or in an oven tray with some foil tightly wrapped around the top. Cook for 2-3 hours at 170-180°C, checking every 30 minutes or so.

How do you know when Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) is cooked?

You should cook this dish until the beef literally shreds when pulled apart with a pair of forks.

This should take approx 1 hour in the pressure cooker, 6 hours in the slow cooker (high) or 2 hours in the oven (170°C).

How long can you keep Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) in the fridge?

Once you’ve served it, ideally you should eat this dish within 4 hours.

If you allow any left overs to cool, make sure to refrigerate in a container with a lid and chill. You can keep leftovers of Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) in the fridge for approximately 3 days or so.

Can I freeze Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)?

Yes you can! This recipe can be frozen, but please remember to do the following;

  • Freeze it as soon as it is cold enough.
  • Use a container or bag that is suitable for freezing.

Don’t forget to add a label with what it is, and on what date you put it in the freezer!

How do I reheat Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)?

From chilled: Place in a microwave proof container with loosely fitting lid and heat for 4-7 minutes until piping hot.

From frozen: Allow to defrost, and heat covered in the microwave for 3-5 minutes then stir. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes until piping hot.

Standard advice here in the UK is to cook food until it has reached 70°C and stayed at that temperature for 2 minutes. This is to keep your family safe.

 

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Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)

This Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja) is one of the best slimming-friendly hearty meals, whether you’re calorie counting or following a plan like Weight Watchers.
  • Prep Time
    10 MINS
  • Cook Time
    6 HR
  • KCals 279
  • Carbs 17G
WW Points
  • 4 Green
  • 4 Blue
  • 4 Purple

Ingredients

  • 500 g stewing steak
  • 240 ml beef stock 2 beef stock cubes dissolved in 240ml/1 cup of boiling water
  • 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 2 green pepper deseeded and sliced into strips
  • 2 red pepper deseeded and sliced into strips
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
  • 1 red or white wine stock pot
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • low calorie cooking spray
  • salt and pepper to season the meat

We use a fan assisted oven for all of our recipes. Check out our oven temperature conversion guide.

Please do not screenshot this. Recipes are updated often

Instructions

In the Slow Cooker
  1. Season the meat well with salt and pepper, then spray a frying pan with low calorie cooking spray
  2. Heat the pan and brown the meat on both sides
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker along with the browned meat
  4. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 6 hours (or medium for 8 hours)
  5. Shred the meat with 2 forks (when cooked the meat should shred easily)
  6. If the sauce is still a little thin remove the lid and allow to reduce slightly
  7. Serve on a bed of rice, or with whatever you fancy
In the Instant Pot
  1. Season the meat well with salt and pepper, then spray the bowl of the Instant Pot with low calorie cooking spray - place into Sauté mode.
  2. Heat the pot and brown the meat on both sides.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot with the browned meat. Set the Instant Pot to Manual for 1 hour, then use Natural Pressure Release.
  4. Shred the meat with 2 forks (when cooked the meat should shred easily).
  5. If the sauce is still a little thin remove the lid and set to Sauté to reduce slightly.
  6. Serve on a bed of rice, or with whatever you fancy.

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68 comments

See what others have to say

CathyFriday 17th April 2020

Tbis os an amazing recipe! How many grams would be in a serving?

Reply

    Steve CowderoyFriday 8th May 2020

    Hi Cathy, so happy you like this. this recipe works out at 459g per serving. Hope this helps.

    Reply

Heather OSaturday 8th February 2020

Does the stewing steak have to be diced or do you cook it while and then shred?

Reply

    Sharon FitzpatrickMonday 11th May 2020

    Hi Heather, the stewing steak is diced in this recipe. Leaving it a one piece may affect the cooking time. Hope this helps and thanks for getting in touch.

    Reply

KristinTuesday 4th February 2020

I’m the U.S. what can we use in lieu of the red/white wine stock pot? We don’t have that product. Thanks!

Reply

    Sharon FitzpatrickMonday 11th May 2020

    Hi Kristin, thanks for your question. If wine stockpots aren’t available you can use 2 tbsp of red wine or red wine vinegar instead. Hope this helps and enjoy making this recipe!

    Reply

MelissaMonday 3rd February 2020

Hi, please could I ask how many people this serves?

Reply

    Sharon FitzpatrickThursday 7th May 2020

    Hi Melissa, this recipe serves 4 people, do hope you enjoy making it!

    Reply

GeorgiaSunday 21st July 2019

Is there any way to not cook the meat first and just chuck the raw meat in with everything else in the slow cooker? We’ve just broke our oven eek.

Reply

    Emma TWednesday 25th September 2019

    Hi Georgia,

    Oh no! Hope you’ve got it fixed now. You could make this without browning the meat, but there might not be as beefy a flavour and the sauce may not have as rich a colour ????

    Reply

Claire MarshallTuesday 4th June 2019

Absolutely gorgeous! Husband scoffed it too.

Reply

    Emma TThursday 20th June 2019

    Whoooop! So glad you enjoyed it! ????

    Reply

Maureen RowlandWednesday 29th May 2019

Hi guys
Thank for this recipe. I’ve just made ‘Cuban venison’ with diced stewing Venison. lower cholesterol, but seriously good.

Reply

    CateFriday 31st May 2019

    Oooh that sounds lovely! 😀

    Reply

Lisa DrakeSunday 28th April 2019

Hi Ladies, I made this for lunch today and it was absolutely delicious as always. I served it with rice and chunky potato wedges.
I was unable to get the stock pots in my local Tesco, they don’t seem to stock them anymore so I used a beef stock pot and and added a dash of balsamic vinegar at the end to taste.
I’ve just rejoined SW and your recipes are inspiring me again! Thank you so much! X

Reply

Kerrie AstonMonday 25th March 2019

Making this for tea tonight… can’t wait ????

Reply

    RosieThursday 18th April 2019

    Just tried this and it is lovely. I’ve served with roasted garlic, chilli and herb potatoes roasted with green beans, shallots, carrots and leeks and it worked really well. For the PKP question earlier I’ve just done 45 mins on meat setting and it was perfect. I’ve used diced beef ????

    Reply

Tracy WilkinsonTuesday 26th February 2019

I’ve just made this with 5% frying beef, and just seen what you say about using stewing/braising steak, is my meat going to be tough? 🙁 Also, it says 2 of each colour peppers, are these the big peppers that we get in the UK, seems like huge amounts of pepper. Thanks.

Reply

KellyTuesday 19th February 2019

Hi there.. iv put in thick cut steaks, I couldn’t find stewing steak, will this be ok still?..

Reply

RebeccaMonday 18th February 2019

Hi I have frozen peppers at the moment, do you think these would be OK or would I be best getting fresh? Thanks xx

Reply

Debbie WebsterWednesday 6th February 2019

It says 240 ml water 2 cups but 1 cup equals 250 ml

Reply

SueWednesday 30th January 2019

Cooking the Cuban Beef recipe with diced beef (small pieces) in a slow cooker. Will the cooking time be the same?

Reply

Denise BartramSaturday 26th January 2019

Same as Louise above – I have read the ingredients and method cards several times and it just says season the meat. It doesn’t say what to season it with?

Reply

LauraSaturday 12th January 2019

Hi could I use pork for this dish instead of beef?
Thank you x

Reply

Rebecca CaveThursday 3rd January 2019

I have made this today and my family want it a bit more spicy. What do you suggest I add to it.

Reply

LouiseSaturday 17th November 2018

Hi, this might sound silly but are the all of the spices listed to be used to season the meat or to go into the sauce?

Reply

LizFriday 2nd November 2018

Hi
I have a large slow-cooker and have not yet tried this dish so am unsure how much space it takes up. I would like to double the recipe – do you think it will fit?
Thanks

Reply

JaneEllWednesday 17th October 2018

Can I use a tagine in the oven as no slow cooker? If so how long would you suggest on what temperature? X

Reply

NikkkTuesday 9th October 2018

Hi I’m waiting to use rump steak. Will the cooking times be the same? Thanks

Reply

GemmaMonday 8th October 2018

I am struggling with this, it’s been 6 hours and my beef steaks are so hard! It’s cookwd throughout, Will this soften or am I just best bining the lot! I have followed the recipe completely word for word.. any tips please where Iv gone wrong?

Reply

ClementinaSunday 16th September 2018

Hi guys
This looks smashing and I know I would love it, is there any other cubes I could use that do not have alcohol in or the vinegar please, I cannot touch anything with alcohol in.
Many thanks
Clementina

Reply

ClaireThursday 6th September 2018

Do you just add the stockpot straight from the packet or dissolve in water first?

Reply

KayThursday 16th August 2018

Crap I only have high/low on my slow cooker, put it on this morning for 8/9 hours on low, will it be done in that time? I just saw on an earlier comment I should have left it on high. TIA.

Reply

Tracy McKerrellTuesday 3rd July 2018

Absolutely delicious! Used diced braising steak, just threw all ingredients in a casserole dish and cooked in oven on a low heat for about 4 hours. Served with rice and natural yoghurt. Thank you for another great recipe xx

Reply

SamSunday 17th June 2018

Hi could I use beef mince instead?
Thanks

Reply

KellyMonday 9th April 2018

I got some beef joint left over from Sunday dinner. Could I use that?

Reply

stephThursday 5th April 2018

I would like to slow cook this in a normal fan oven, what temp should i have it at and roughly how long should it take? thanks 🙂

Reply

LaurenWednesday 28th March 2018

Im just cooking this now with ox cheeks, does it still shred like beef steak would?
Smells delicious!

Reply

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