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Picadillo Tacos and Calabacitas

Picadillo is a dish of stewed ground beef that is enjoyed all over Latin America and the Philippines. The dish will vary by region and even by household wherever you go and will often include a base of Sofrito – made with onion, garlic, peppers and tomato. Other common ingredients in picadillo are olives, raisins, capers, potatoes, carrots, pine nuts and sometimes hard boiled eggs.

For this dish, we’re using the picadillo as the main ingredient for tacos. You’ll find you won’t need much more than the filling because of how flavorful this recipe is. It’s served alongside calabacitas, which is a super simple and healthy vegetarian dish that screams summer. It’s been eaten for thousands of years in Mexico, using only indigenous crops such as squash, tomatoes, corn and chiles. Once you try it, you’ll understand why this recipe has stood the test of time.



  • Olive oil to coat pan
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp California Love
  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 Serrano, seeds removed if desired and chopped finely
  • 1 tsp California Love All Purpose Chile Blend
  • 2 zucchini or other summer squash, diced into thin quarter wedges
  • 2 cups fresh corn, removed from cob
  • Cotija to garnish

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Photo of Picadillo Tacos and Calabacitas



      1. Heat a sauté pan to medium high heat and add oil to coat, Add onions and bell pepper cook until beginning to caramelize, about 5- 8 minutes
      2. Add garlic followed by the beef.
      3. Continue to cook while breaking the beef apart in the pan.
      4. When the beef is mostly browned add the spices and then the tomato sauce.
      5. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so before adding the olives and pine nuts and seasoning to taste. Add a splash of water if all of the liquid evaporates. You do not want it soupy or dry.
      6. Serve in tortillas or over rice.


    1. Heat a sauté pan to medium heat and add oil to coat.
    2. Add onions and begin to cook down.
    3. While onions are cooking broil tomatoes for 5 minutes or until it has a couple charred spots.
    4. Add the garlic, poblanos and Serrano chile to the onions and continue to cook for 3 minutes or so before adding spices and the zucchini.
    5. Crush or chop the tomatoes until it is a coarse purée.
    6. Once the zucchini is beginning to turn translucent add the tomato purée.
    7. Cook for only 3-5 minutes longer before adding the corn.
    8. Just heat the corn through, season with salt and top with grated cheese.


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