Red meat is one of those foods that have gravely suffered at the hands of diet culture. While there is a wealth of evidence to support the numerous benefits of choosing a diet rich in plant-based foods, that is not to say that red meat cannot be included as part of a well-rounded diet. In fact, red meat boasts many nutritional benefits including being a significant source of highly bioavailable (heme) iron.

Now, I am not here to sell anyone on meat. There are many paths to nutritional adequacy. And the foods we eat should nourish us – physically, emotionally, even spiritually. So, naturally, that will look different for every family! If your family chooses not to serve meat, keep in mind that you may need to do just a little more planning to ensure that your child is receiving adequate amounts of certain nutrients – namely iron. And that’s totally doable!

What I don’t want, however, is for people to cut out foods they enjoy because they believe that those foods do not and cannot fit into a “healthy” lifestyle. There is room in our diet for all the foods we love. And that includes red meat if you choose to eat it.

These ropa vieja tacos have become a summertime favorite in our house. They’re fairly easy, colorful, and delicious. Even better, the filling is made in the crockpot – which is a major win in the middle of a Cincinnati summer. 

Ropa vieja is the national dish of Cuba. While traditionally served with rice and beans, we like to throw ours on a tortilla. Because what isn’t good on a tortilla? So, from our family to yours, I hope you enjoy this recipe for ropa vieja tacos!


Yield: About 8 Tacos

Ropa Vieja Tacos

ropa vieja tacos

These ropa vieja tacos are inspired by the national dish of Cuba. While traditionally served with rice and beans, ropa vieja taco-style is pretty tasty too!


Ropa Vieja

  • 2–3-pound flank steak or chuck roast
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 roasted poblanos, peeled and chopped** (optional)
  • 3/4 cup Spanish olives, finely diced + 1/2 cup of its juices
  • 1/2 cup white wine***
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano

Taco Fixin's

  • 8 tortillas of choice (or as many as needed)
  • 2 Diced Avocados (if desired)
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled (or any cheese of choosing)
  • Cilantro, finely chopped for garnish
  • Any other taco toppings your heart desires!


  1. Roast the poblanos: Preheat broiler or set oven to highest setting. Roast peppers for approximately 15 minutes until charred. Set aside until thoroughly cooled before removing the charred skin.
  2. Sear the meat: Pour olive oil into a deep pan on medium heat. Peel and roughly chop the garlic, pressing into both sides of the meat. Place the meat with garlic into the pan and cook until brown on each side, ~3-5 minutes per side. Add to slow cooker.
  3. Dice the peppers, onions, and olives. Add to the slow cooker.
  4. Add remaining ingredients for ropa vieja and cook on low for 7-8 hours*****


*Ropa vieja recipe adapted from Cuban Shredded Beef (Slow Cooker) Recipe | Little Spice Jar and Ropa Vieja (

**May also use 1 can diced green chiles instead if desired

***I use 1/2 cup olive juice and 1/2 cup white wine as the olive juice adds a bit of salty flavor to the dish. You could also omit the olive juice and instead use 1 cup white wine. Dicing the olives finely also helps to add a bit of salty flavor to the dish.


Disclaimer: The information on this site is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only. Always seek personalized medical advice and consult your practitioner with questions regarding your or your child’s health.

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