You can use any ground meat that you have in your refrigerator or freezer instead of ground beef. Ground pork is a great substitute for ground beef!
You can use chicken broth or vegetable broth instead of beef broth.
Be sure to use tomato sauce and not pasta (or spaghetti) sauce. You can usually find tomato sauce in grocery stores on the shelves with diced tomatoes, tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, etc.
You can use 1 cup (240 ml) of canned tomato puree instead of tomato sauce. Just make sure that there isn’t any added sugar in the tomato puree.
However, you can also use 1/2 cup (120 ml) of tomato paste blended with 1/2 cup (120 ml) of water as well. This is in addition to the 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) of tomato paste that is used in the recipe to sauté with the ground beef and ground cumin.
If you don’t have any raisins in your pantry, you can substitute them with dried currants or chopped pitted dates to give you the hint of sweetness that is unique to Cuban picadillo recipes.
Of course, you can omit the raisins if you want a lower carb dish or if you just don’t care for raisins. However, they bring a bit of sweetness to the dish that helps balance the saltiness from the olives.
If you like spicy food, feel free to add a bit of red pepper flakes or hot sauce to the recipe.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
Add the tomato paste and ground cumin to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, until the beef is slightly caramelized.
Add the tomato sauce, beef broth, green olives, and raisins to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.