Tofu Picadillo


Picadillo is a staple throughout most of Latin America.  It is normally a beef, potato and tomato dish simmered with fragrant spices.  I remember having it as a main dish with steaming hot tortillas lying next to it on the plate however I see it a lot at Mexican restaurants as a filling for tacos, burritos or tostadas.  This recipes subs tofu for ground beef and although the dish does not have the familiar dark, caramelized color associated with picadillo, it still has the flavorful, spice-filled flavor and aroma connected with the dish.  A nice and cozy comfort-food laced meal for wintertime.  Mmmm.



-1 potato, peeled and diced;

– ½ yellow or white onion, diced;

-1 green bell pepper, diced;

– 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped;

– 12 oz. container firm tofu;

-10 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles;

– ¼ cup of green olives, sliced or chopped (optional);

-3 tablespoons of El Pato brand tomato sauce*;

-2 tablespoons of chile powder;

-1 tablespoon of cumin;

1 tablespoon of paprika;




Drain tofu as much as possible and set aside (to drain, wrap tofu in paper towels and press between two plates.  Repeat until most of the moisture is gone).  In a large sauté pan heat oil on medium heat.  Add diced potatoes and sauté until potatoes begin to soften but not completely cooked through (to check stab a fork into a potato.  Fork should be able to easily puncture the potato but no be able to go all the way through.  If the potatoes have the crisp of an apple-keep cooking they are not there yet).


If potatoes are taking a while to soften pour about 2 teaspoons of water into the pan and cover (this creates a nice, cozy steam bath for the potatoes so the inside of the potato cooks as the outside crisps up).  Salt potatoes as needed.  Add onion and green bell pepper and continue sautéing for 5 minutes.  Next toss in garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the delicious garlic smell permeates the kitchen.  Using your hands, crumble tofu into pan (tofu crumbles should be about the same size as the potatoes).  If using olives, toss in and combine.

before sauce

Pour in canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, chile powder, cumin and paprika and mix thoroughly.  Sprinkle in more salt to taste.  Add water, if needed, in order to create a light sauce.  Turn heat to low and let gently simmer for at least 15 minutes in order for flavors to combine.  Serve with a side of beans and tortillas.

in saute pan

*El Pato brand tomato sauce is a flavorful tomato sauce infused with jalapeños.  It has a mild heat that lingers throughout a dish.  It is usually in the International or Mexican food aisle of the grocery store but if for some reason it is not available standard tomato sauce can be used just keep in mind the dish won’t have that little kick El Pato brings.

el pato

4 thoughts on “Tofu Picadillo

  1. This looks amazing! I love vegetarian picadillo. I’ve made it with those veggie “meat” crumbles but never thought to try tofu! I’ll have to give this a shot.

    • Let me know if you ever try to make it with tofu. I’m actually not a big fan of the meat crumbles. Something about the texture of the crumbles but I can totally see how it works with the dish! I enjoyed reading your blog!

  2. Oh, looking at this recipe I can understand why this is a staple 🙂 And I can totally imagine that is still comes into its own even without the meat or the dark colour you mention. Yum!

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