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.

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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.

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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.

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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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  • 176KCal
Rustic Potato Wedges pinchofnom.com
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  • 45MINS
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Garlic Green Beans 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
  • WW
    4 Smart
    Points
  • 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.

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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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72 comments

See what others have to say

MoyaWednesday 6th January 2021

This looks amazing!!! Unfortunately I’m not in the UK so wine stockpots are not available here (don’t want to use wine/wine reduction) could I substitute extra white wine vinegar or would that be too acidic? Failing that I’ve heard you can use white grape juice (trying to keep the Syns as low as possible).

Thanks again for yet another fabulous recipe!! You agree a genuine lifeline that LOVE to cook but need to watch the weight X

Reply

    HollyWednesday 6th January 2021

    Hi Moya, so glad you enjoy our recipes! You could try adding in a little grape, pomegranate or cranberry juice instead of the stock pot or as you said a little extra of the white wine vinegar. Hope that helps!

    Reply

Nicole McguireSunday 3rd January 2021

Make this weekly! Absolutley love it! I use the hob/oven method available in the book, and use white wine stock cubes… absolute hit! Even my fussy 9year old stepson loves this… it’s our new mince and tatties!

Reply

    HollyMonday 4th January 2021

    Hi Nicole, so glad to hear that you enjoy the Cuban Beef!

    Reply

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