Ropa Vieja

Photo By: Real Simple Magazine

Ropa vieja is a traditional Cuban dish of shredded beef stewed in a tomato-based sauce. The words translate to "Old clothes."

Our very close family friend Gloria is from Cuba. She used to make this dish for me all the time. It is the ultimate comfort meal. I found a slow cooker version of the recipe in Real Simple Magazine. I've been making it this way ever since. Shh...don't tell Gloria. 


  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (or you can use fresh plum tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 red bell (or green) peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick 
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime (use to squeeze a little juice on top when serving)
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste


  • In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, oregano, cumin, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Season the steak with salt and pepper and rub ketchup on steak.
  • Cook, covered until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  • Twenty-five minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  • Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid with vegetables. Serve with the rice and top with the avocado, cilantro and a little fresh lime juice squeezed over top.