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Mexican Picadillo & Cilantro Lime Rice (GF/DF Vegan Option)

Happy Hispanic Heritage month! Just your fellow Latina health coach glad you're here (Hispanic or not!) for what I'm rating as an easy-medium (cooking skill level) Picadillo recipe and bonus Cilantro Lime Rice to go with it.

If you are a part of my Instagram community you saw my IG story briefly talking about how growing up my family was incredibly Americanized and I have had to learn so much about my own culture, heritage, and traditional Mexicano dishes from my grandmothers and through my own research.

Still learning a lot to this day, and what really sparked a deep dive of my Hispanic roots was

getting a DNA test done and finding out beyond my parents saying we were simply "Spanish and Mexican", getting to really uncover what that actually entails was so incredibly fascinating and eye-opening to find out the majority of my DNA is Native American. This is something I knew, as being "Mexican" commonly means being the product of the Spanish and Native Americans procreating after/ during the conquest of the Aztec empire- but I digress!

My grandmother taught me a handful of recipes including how to make tortillas, Carne Guisada, and Caldo from scratch (which if you've never had either of those, for sure hop on that) but as for Picadillo, this recipe is what I've personally come up with the 4-5 times I've experimented getting it down. It's really such a versatile dish and paired with either the cilantro lime rice bonus recipe you're getting today or in a couple of corn tortillas as tacos, there's really so many options for how you can switch up and enjoy the leftovers.

And with that- Let's make some GF/DF Picadillo

What you'll Need:

  • Instant Pot / Large Skillet

  • Cutting Board & Medium Knife

  • 1 Packet of Lean Ground Beef (Vegan Option: 2 Packets of Neat Mexican Mix)

  • 1 Medium White Onion (diced)

  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves (minced)

  • 1 of Each Red, Green & Yellow Bell Pepper (diced)

  • Optional 1 Yellow Potato (diced)

  • 1 Large Carrot (diced)

  • 1 Jalapeno ( also optional, but diced)

  • 3 tsp Ground Cumin

  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder

  • 1tbsp Olive Oil (for skillet cooking only)

  • 1/2 tsp Paprika

  • 1/2 tsp Garam Marsala

  • 2 tsp Salt

  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

  • 2 Bay Leaves

  • 3 oz of Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Water (Or Chicken/ Veggie Broth for more flavor)

  • 1/3 Bunch of Cilantro (de-stem)


  1. Pre-chop and prepare all your ingredients first

  2. Instant Pot: Use the Saute function and set for 15 minutes - Add in your meat of choice seasoning with pepper, salt, garam marsala, paprika & cumin (If using the vegan crumble you can skip seasoning with salt & pepper) Use a spatula to break up your meat into little pieces. Make sure you don't have any pink pieces before moving onto step 3. Skillet with a lid: Heat pan with olive oil and then add in your meat. Brown your meat on medium heat combining the spices above until you don't see any pink bits

  3. Add in the onion, garlic, bell peppers, 1/2 of the cilantro, and the tomato and continue sauteing with the beef (Around 2-3 minutes)

  4. Add in your Bay Leaves, tomato sauce, and water/ broth and mix them thoroughly

  5. Instant Pot: Pop the lid on and seal the pressure valve. Cancel Saute mode if it's still going and switch to pressure cook (high) and set the pot for 5 minutes. Skillet: Cover skillet and reduce your heat low-medium and simmer for 25 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking

  6. When done, let the instant pot sit for 2-3 minutes to release a little pressure on its own then quick release the valve and add in the remaining cilantro

  7. Enjoy traditionally over rice (cilantro lime rice recipe below) or in whatever modern Mexican way you come up with!

BONUS Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe


  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1 cup white / basmati rice

  • 1 1/4 cup Vegetable Stock

  • 1 tbsp ghee (vegan option: coconut butter)

  • Zest of 1 lime

  • 2 tbsp Lime Juice

  • 2/3 Bunch of Cilantro (de-stemmed)

  • Salt to taste

Directions: (Instant Pot)

  1. Rinse and drain your rice in a colander until the water runs clear

  2. Click the saute function on the instant pot, set to 5 minutes then add in your olive oil

  3. Add in your rinsed rice and stir thoroughly to help prevent the rice sticking to the bottom

  4. Add in your veggie stock and stir a bit more, let that simmer for a minute, and then cancel saute mode.

  5. Pop on your lid, make sure the valve is sealed - Press pressure cook (high) for 5 minutes

  6. Once the rice is done, let that sit for 2-3 minutes to allow for a bit of natural release and then quick release by using the valve after

  7. Once the lid unlocks, take it off and fluff your rice with a fork

  8. Add in all the remaining ingredients and stir together thoroughly

  9. Enjoy with your favorite pairing like Picadillo ;)

If you enjoyed these two recipes, please let me know in the comments below or send me a DM on instagram- I'd love to hear from you! Also feel free to stay awhile, take a look around at some of the other gluten free-dairy free tex-mex recipes I've created like these black bean tacos or vegan chili nachos.

Until the next recipe - Thank you guys for being here today!



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