Healthy Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja with Baked Plantain Chips on white and blue plate.

Try this lightened-up version of the classic Cuban dish, Ropa Vieja. So easy to make, just add all ingredients to the slow cooker in the morning and dinner will be done when you get home. The baked plantains are a tasty take on their fried counterparts.

What is Ropa Vieja?

Ropa Vieja is a Cuban dish that consists of shredded flank steak in a tomato-based sauce. It is typically served with white rice, black beans, and plantains.

The dish is said to have originated in the Canary Islands, where it was known as ropa vieja (literally “old clothes”). It eventually made its way to Cuba, where it became a popular dish among the Cuban people.

There are many different variations of ropa vieja, but the most common ingredients include flank steak, tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers, cumin, and oregano. The dish can be cooked in a variety of ways, but the most common method is to stew it slowly over low heat until the meat is very tender.

Yellow, red and green bell peppers

Why we love this Healthy Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja with Baked Plantain Chips

Ropa vieja is a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for any occasion.

You can make this dish a lot healthier by replacing the white rice with riced cauliflower and by serving it with baked plantain chips instead of fried like we did.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja with Baked Plantain Chips

Baked Plantain Chips

There’s nothing quite like the taste of a freshly-fried plantain chip. But there’s something to be said for the healthier alternative: baked plantain chips. Here’s why we think baked is better than fried:

For one, baked plantain chips are lower in fat and calories. That means they’re not only better for you, but they’ll also leave you feeling less guilty after indulging.

Another reason to love baked plantain chips is that they retain more of their nutritional value. When you fry food, some of the vitamins and minerals are lost in the process. Baking helps preserve those nutrients, so you’re getting more bang for your buck with every bite.

Finally, baked plantain chips have a lighter, crispier texture that some find more enjoyable than their fried counterparts.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

Making your favorite dishes healthier

When it comes to making your favorite dishes healthier, there are a few simple swaps you can make that will allow you to enjoy all the food you love without the guilt. For example, swapping out white flour for whole wheat flour in your favorite recipes will add some extra fiber and nutrients. Or, using leaner cuts of meat and lower-fat dairy products can help reduce the amount of saturated fat in your meal.

Making small changes like these can make a big difference in the nutritional value of your favorite dishes, and it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor or texture. So next time you’re in the kitchen, don’t be afraid to experiment with healthier ingredients – your taste buds (and waistline) will thank you.

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Healthy Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja with Baked Plantain Chips

Amanda Keefer
A lightened-up version of the classic Cuban dish, Ropa Vieja. So easy to make, just add all ingredients to the slow cooker in the morning and dinner will be done when you get home. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Course Entree & Main Dishes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 360 kcal


Healthy Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper sliced
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion sliced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 pound lean flank steak

Baked Plantain Chips

  • 2 firm green plantains peeled, cut diagonally into slices
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt


Healthy Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

  • Add broth, peppers, onion, lime juice, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and peas to slow cooker; mix well. Add steak and coat with mixture. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Shred steak in slow cooker when ready to serve.

Baked Plantain Chips

  • Place slices on parchment lined baking sheet and brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in oven 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.


Calories: 360kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 28gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 2108mgPotassium: 1058mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 820IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 4mg
Keyword cuban, easy dinner, easy dinners, healthy dinner, plantains, skirt steak, slow cooker, slow cooker recipes, steak
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Slow Cooker Chicken And Tomatoes

Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas With Homemade Pico de Gallo

Baked Cauliflower and Cheese Latkes