Low-Carb Cuban Ropa Vieja

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Ropa Vieja is the national dish of Cuba, with delicious braised beef, tomatoes and peppers in a rich and flavorful broth. All the flavors meld together into one amazing dish.

Ropa Vieja
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I love this dish. When we traveled to Cuba, we ate it as many times as we could and I took notes to I’d be able to make it properly at home. Then once I got my Instant Pot, I started making it all the time because it’s so easy!

The flavors are just incredible. It’s like a meat stew, but with only low-carb veggies. You add some capers, onions, and roasted red peppers in the end to give it even more texture and flavor. Yum.

When I started a low-carb diet, I was thrilled that I could keep eating this dish even on keto restrictions. It’s actually perfect for this diet.

Usually you would see Ropa Vieja served with rice and beans. That’s the way it’s served in Cuba. And while I love those sides, it’s not part of a low-carb diet. However, it’s great to note that Ropa Vieja is a very low carb dish by itself. You don’t need the rice and beans, or you can serve it over cauliflower rice, if you wish. It’s the perfect dish because it’s keto and low-carb all by itself.

How to Make Ropa Vieja

Cut the beef into 4” chunks. Pat it dry and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper.

Heat the cooking oil in the Instant Pot on saute mode. Once hot, add the beef and sear on all sides. Cancel saute mode. Remove the beef from the pot. Pour in the white wine and deglaze, whisking up all the browned bits.

Add the onion, peppers, garlic, seasonings, chicken broth, canned tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot and stir well to combine.

Making Ropa Vieja

Add the beef back to the pot, along with the bay leaf, carrot and celery. Lock the lid and seal the vent. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure.

Discard the celery, carrots and bay leaves. Transfer the beef to a plate and shred it with two forks so it’s in long thin strands.

Ropa Vieja

Add the beef back to the pot, along with the olives, roasted red peppers, and capers. At this point, it’s ready to serve, but I like to turn on saute mode for about 5 minutes to let some of the extra liquid cook off and thicken the stew.

Making Ropa Vieja

You’re going have a hard time not devouring it as it bubbles away. The aroma is mouth watering.

Once the dish is thickened a bit, you really don’t need to serve it with rice, or cauliflower rice in this case, but you certainly can, if you want to. I typically just spoon it onto the plate with a slotted spoon and it’s perfect on its own, with a little fresh cilantro on top.

Ropa Vieja

What Cut of Beef to Use

Ropa Vieja typically has long strands of shredded beef and to get that affect, you’ll need to use a chuck roast or flank steak that’s at least 5 inches lenthwise. Chuck roast is the more economical cut, but I almost always use flank steak because I like how tender it gets.

While it’s not traditional, you can also use pork in this dish. A pork shoulder shreds well and tastes great in this dish as an alternative.

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Ropa Vieja

Instant Pot Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja is the national dish of Cuba, with delicious braised beef, tomatoes and peppers in a rich and flavorful broth. All the flavors meld together into one amazing dish.
5 from 6 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: Beef
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 337kcal
Author: Laura

Ingredients

  • 1 lb flank steak or chuck roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 each small peppers green, red, and yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 carrot cut in half
  • 1 stalk celery cut in half
  • 1/3 cup green olives drained and sliced
  • 2 roasted red peppers drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp capers plus 1 tbsp caper brine
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Instructions

  • Cut the beef into 4” chunks. Pat it dry and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper.
  • Heat the cooking oil in the Instant Pot on saute mode. Once hot, add the beef and sear on all sides. Cancel saute mode. Remove the beef from the pot. Pour in the white wine and deglaze, whisking up all the browned bits.
  • Add the onion, peppers, garlic, seasonings, chicken broth, canned tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot and stir well to combine.
  • Add the beef back to the pot, along with the bay leaf, carrot and celery. Lock the lid and seal the vent. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure.
  • Discard the celery, carrots and bay leaves. Transfer the beef to a plate and shred it.
  • Stir back in the beef, along with the olives, roasted red peppers, and capers.
  • If the sauce needs to thicken, turn the pot back onto saute mode for 3 minutes.
  • Serve with fresh cilantro.

Notes

Serve the ropa vieja on its own or over cauliflower rice, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 1457mg | Potassium: 985mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3482IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 5mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Ropa Vieja
Low-Carb Cuban Ropa Vieja

5 thoughts on “Low-Carb Cuban Ropa Vieja

  1. Marie-Charlotte Chatelain says:

    5 stars
    Oh this is a dish I remember from a food festival! Loved the olives and raisins it had and the tangy briny flavor! Need to try

  2. Jenn says:

    5 stars
    Heck ya! Not only is this one of Cuba’s most loved dishes, it’s also one of mine! I can’t wait to dive into a bowlful of this!

  3. Kay says:

    5 stars
    I love how the pressure cooker makes the meat so tender in record time! Served mine with brown rice.

  4. Emily Flint says:

    5 stars
    I used to order ropa vieja at my favorite tapas restaurant which has now closed. I’m so sad they are no longer around, but, I am SO HAPPY I can make this at home. Your recipe is so easy to follow, thank you!

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