This classic Cuban Ropa Vieja has been transformed into a Keto Slow Cooker Cuban Beef stew that is so much easier to make than the original! Keto beef stew is the ultimate cold-weather comfort food and this version with peppers and olives is absolutely delicious!
With an almost perfect 5-star review on America's Test Kitchen, this keto slow cooker beef stew is the all-time most popular recipe on my website. It is the ultimate cold-weather comfort food.
This easy keto slow cooker stew starts with a quick browning of onion and peppers and then adds in nice and lean flank steak. After a few hours in the slow cooker, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a deeply flavourful sauce. Add in some briny olives at the end and this keto ropa vieja recipe is ready with almost no hands-on time! Feel free to make it ahead of time as this Whole30 beef stew flavour continues to improve the longer it sits.
This easy keto slow cooker beef stew is part of other keto slow cooker collection, which includes similar slow-cooking comfort food recipes, like Keto Pork Birria Recipe, Keto Slow Cooker BBQ Pot Roast with Pepperoncinis as well as this French Onion Beef Stew.
The History of Ropa Vieja
Since we all know that I love to learn, I decided to do a quick Google search to see where this recipe got its start.
As it turns out, Ropa Vieja translates into "old clothes" in Spanish.
The story is that a man was too broke to afford meat for his family. He decided to stir some old clothes into a pot of broth and proceeded to say a prayer as he was stirring. After some divine assistance, the old clothes were transformed into a stew of delicious meat and vegetables.
The more I pondered the story, the more I realized how fitting the story really is for this dish... simple and humble ingredients coming together to create the most mouth-watering meal.
What exactly is "sofrito"
Many Cuban and Latin American dishes call for a special mixture of peppers, onions, and spices known as "sofrito".
The word "sofrito" is Spanish and means to lightly fry something, such as by sauteing or stir-frying. It typically consists of aromatic ingredients cut into small pieces and sauteed or braised in cooking oil.
Most recipes for sofrito require a time-consuming process of slow-cooking peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes twice in order to produce both a broth as well as a second time, to produce a stew.
I don't know about you guys, but I am a working woman and although I love to cook, I have a million other things on my "to-do" list.
Sweating in front of a stove for a couple of hours would definitely put a damper on my time, so I knew I had to figure out a more "efficient" way of making sofrito.
That's when the Ninja All-in-One was pulled out!
I knew I could save time by using only 1 pot and simmering everything together, nice and slowly to recreate the richness of this dish.
Keto Slow Cooker Beef Stew Ingredients and Substitutions
Below are the ingredients you will need to make this easy keto slow cooker stew. I have included substitutions to create a Whole30 beef stew for those of you on a Whole30 diet.
- Oil - I have used avocado oil or olive oil
- Beef - You will need approximately 1.5-2lbs of flank steak. Cut the stead across the grain into 4 somewhat even sections.
- Veggies - You will need 1 pepper (I used half of a red pepper and half of a yellow pepper as I had them left over) as well as an onion. Slice all the veggies into strips that are approximately ¼" wide.
- Tomato Paste - Check the ingredients and try to find one that is only made from tomatoes. You can also substitute this ingredient with pasta sauce or sugar-free ketchup if you are in a bind.
- Garlic - I used leftover Homemade Garlic Confit but you can easily use plain cloves of garlic
- Spices - You will need ground cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves. Mexican oregano works best but if you only have Italian oregano, feel free to use it instead.
- Soy Sauce - You can use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce to keep this a Whole30 beef stew recipe
- Green olives and vinegar - Once the keto slow cooker Cuban beef stew is ready, sliced green olives and a tablespoon of vinegar give this stew a nice briny flavour.
How to Make this Keto Ropa Vieja Recipe
This easy keto slow cooker stew only takes about 10 minutes of hands on time with only 3 basic steps
Step 1 - Brown the veggies
Add the oil to your all-in-one cooker and set it on "Saute - HI". Once the oil has been heated, add the veggies and cook for about 8 minutes or until the veggies soften and begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Push the veggies to the side and add the spices, tomato paste and garlic. Cook for about 1 minute and then stir the veggies into the sauce. Add in the soy sauce and bay leaves and sit to incorporate all the ingredients.
Step 2 - Add the beef
Cut your flank steak across the grain into 4 even pieces and sprinkle each piece with some salt. Nestle the steak into the veggies. Place the slow cooker lid on the pot (making sure that the "vent" is "open") and turn on the slow cooker function. Slow cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Step 3 - Assemble the Whole30 beef stew
Once the beef can be easily pierced with a fork, turn the slow cooker off. Pull the beef apart, along the grain, into ½-inch pieces and stir it into the sauce. Add the sliced olives and vinegar to the pot and stir everything together. Let the stew sit in the warm sauce for about 5 minutes before serving.
What is the difference between Mexican and Italian oregano?
Mexican oregano is brighter with floral and citrus notes and a hint of anise. Italian oregano is strongly aromatic, with a slightly bitter, pungent flavour with hints of earthy/musty, green, hay, and minty notes.
Can I use a Dutch oven instead?
Yes. Follow the recipe using the stovetop and cook, covered until the beef falls apart.
Can I use a different type of beef?
I do not see why you could not use a different type of beef but since I have only made this using flank steak, I do not know for sure.
What do you serve with this Whole30 beef stew?
I like to serve this with riced cauliflower or a side of broccoli.
More Keto Slow Cooker Recipes
Looking for other keto slow cooker recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favourite dishes to serve with keto slow-cooker Cuban beef stew:
- 3 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
- 1.5 lbs flank steak, cut against the grain into 4 sections
- 1 red pepper, sliced thin
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tsp oregano, dried
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
- ¾ cup sliced green olives (can omit)
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- Heat the oil in your all-in-one on "Saute -HI". Add onion, and pepper and cook covered until starting to brown (about 8-10 minutes) stirring occasionally. Push veggies to the side.
- Add tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt to pan and cook 1 minute. Stir veggies into paste.
- Stir in soy sauce or coconut aminos and bay leaves. Season steak with salt and pepper and nestle in vegetable mixture.
- Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
- Remove bay leaves. Shred beef and add olives and vinegar. Stir to combine.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Category: Main Meals
- Cuisine: Whole30, Low Carb, Dairy Free, Gluten Free
- Serving Size: 8 servings
- Calories: 202
- Sugar: 2
- Fat: 11
- Carbohydrates: 5.9
- Fiber: 1.4
- Protein: 20
Keywords: PSMF, keto, low carb, stew, slow cooker, Ninja foodi, low carb, healthy, high protein, crockpot