Sabores de Cuba Ropa Vieja to #StopDiabetes

I swear I did not time the publishing of this post to occur in the wake of the late Fidel Castro. I love Cuban food, pure and simple. And I’m thrilled there is now a healthy Cubano cuisine cookbook.

November is American Diabetes Month, and so I am celebrating with a series of cookbooks the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has published. But here’s my attitude, as a physician, even if you do not have diabetes, these meals are smart and healthy eating for all who hope to prevent diabetes–a preventable disease with rising prevalence in the United States.


This Cuban-inspired cookbook by Chef Ronaldo from ADA is fantastic because it is published in both English AND Spanish. The recipe I chose to feature, Ropa Vieja, translates to “Old Clothes.” The name refers to the era right after the Castro regime took over when Cuban people were left with very little, such that they had to cook down old clothing into sauce and compensate by adding a TON of spices and vinegar broth to break down the clothes. Well, instead of clothes, this recipe uses round steak, old clothes of sorts for the former cow, I suppose. I love how Cuban cuisine features holiday colors, red and green peppers!


Old-Fashioned Ropa Vieja

Adapted from Sabores de Cuba, by Chef Ronaldo ©2016 by the ADA, Inc.®

2 cups washed and sliced green and red pepper (core reserved)

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tb black peppercorns

1 bunch cilantro

2 tsp garlic powder

2 quarts water

20 oz top round steak

1 TB avocado oil

1 cup sliced onion

4 cloves garlic

½ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp Spanish smoke paprika

½ tsp oregano

¾ tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tb tomato paste

6 oz diced canned tomatoes

8 pitted green olives, chopped

2 dried bay leaves

3 tb cilantro, chopped

In a large stockpot, add the cores of the red and green pepper, apple cider, peppercorns, cilantro bunch, garlic powder to the water and bring to a boil. Add the top round steak. Reduce heat and simmer steak for 90 minutes until the meat is tender.


Remove the steak from the water and shred on a plate. Reserve 3 cups of the stock.


Heat a large saute pan and heat oil. Add red pepper, green pepper, onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute on high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add cumin, smoked paprika,  oregano, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Saute for 3 minutes until flavors “marry.” Add diced tomatoes, olives, reserved stock, and bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the shredded steak and simmer for another 10 minutes. Fold in chopped cilantro and serve.


I served it over the Congri, which I made using half brown rice and half quinoa.

Thanks again to ADA for sponsoring this post! To order this book, or the other books featured on Bake This Day over the last two weeks, please call 1-800-232-6733 or order online at

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