Study Snacks: Ropa Vieja

Did you know that nearly one-third of Florida Tech’s on-campus students are from outside the United States, representing more than 100 nations? To give our international students a taste of home, the Panther Dining cafeteria regularly features food from around the world.

To bring that same joy of diversity to our Study Snacks series, we are featuring dishes that celebrate Florida Tech’s international students. Our third recipe in the series, Ropa Vieja, is a stew of beef and vegetables. The name, meaning “old clothes” in Spanish, comes from the appearance of the long strands of beef and tomatoes.

By combining beef with sofrito, a common flavor base in Latin American cuisine containing tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic, Ropa Vieja is rich in umami and has a great depth of flavor. Although the dish technically dates back to the Middle Ages, Cuba really made it their own, and to this day it is their national dish. The following recipe serves 6-8 people.


  • 3 lbs. flank or skirt steak
  • 4 tbsp. Badia complete seasoning
  • 2 quarts water or beef stock
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 2 tbsp. garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 15 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 small jar green olives, drained
  • 1 cup peas (frozen work the best)


    1. Cut beef into large pieces, place in a large pot add seasoning and water.
    2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-2 ½ hours until beef starts to pull apart.
    3. Remove meat from cooking liquid and reserve liquid. Shred the meat with a fork.
    4. Dice the peppers, onion and celery.
    5. Place a large pot over medium high heat, add oil, onion, peppers, celery and garlic.
    6. Cook for 5-7 minutes until onions begin to clear, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute.
    7. Add the tomatoes, sauce, beef and 4 cups of cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half.
    8. Add peas and olives, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
    9. Remove from heat and serve with white rice.

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