Vaca Frita — literally “fried cow” — is a Cuban staple and a protein-packed powerhouse! The layers of flavor come from slow-cooking the beef… marinating it with peppers and onions in lime and garlic… then searing it all to crispy perfection. It’s hearty, healthy, and oh-so-delicious!

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 20 min.

Cook Time: 10 hrs. (20 min. hands on)

Total Time: 11 hrs.


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 3 small lemons)
  • 1 cup warmed no salt added black beans
  • 1 cup cooked jasmine rice
  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast


1) Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.

2) Season all sides of the chuck roast with salt and pepper. Once the skillet is hot, add the beef and sear for 5-7 minutes per side, or until it becomes crispy and rich brown in color. Using tongs, also sear the edges of the chuck roast for 1-2 minutes. Place the chuck roast in a 6-quart crockpot and cook on low for 10 hours.

3) Remove the chuck roast from the crockpot and shred it using two forks. Place in a large reusable bag. Add the peppers, onions, lime juice, olive oil, and garlic. Seal, removing as much air as possible, then gently massage to make sure everything is well combined. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

4) Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add ¼ of the beef and vegetable mixture to the dry, hot pan, and while turning occasionally, cook until crispy in some spots, about 2-3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining beef and vegetable mixture.

5) Serve with rice or cauliflower rice, black beans, and optional toppings as desired.

Beef chuck roast is a great option to keep in the refrigerator for fast and easy protein during the work week. Throw an extra chuck roast into the crockpot while you’re making this to make weeknights a little easier!