Fall Picadillo with Candied Pineapple, Raisins, and Pinenuts

This recipe is the perfect way to kick off the fall season. The smell of cinnamon and cloves will make you feel cozy and excited for the cooler temperatures.

Though I originally used this recipe for chiles en nogada, I realized it was so delicious that I wanted to save it for years to come. 

The perfect balance of sweet and salty, this picadillo pairs perfectly al gusto. Whether you want to use it as stuffing for roasted poblano peppers or in empanadas, you really can’t go wrong. 

The best part is, you can use the leftovers for tacos.

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Fall Picadillo

Prep Time: 30-60 minutes

Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Yields: 12 stuffed poblano peppers, 12 empanadas, or 12 tacos


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1.25 lbs ground beef

  • 5 large tomatoes, peeled, stemmed, and blended into sauce

  • 1 medium white onion diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp ground cloves

  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme

  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt

  • 1 large Fuji apple diced

  • 1 large Bosc pear diced

  • 1 large peach diced

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/2 cup chopped candied pineapple

  • 1/2 lemon

  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

  • 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh walnuts

  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Preparing the Ingredients

  1. Prep, chop, and dice Fuji apple, Bosc pear, and peach. Store in the refrigerator for later use.
  2. Dice 1 medium white onion. Store in the refrigerator for later use.
  3. Finely chop four garlic cloves. Store in the refrigerator for later use.
  4. Prep and chop candied pineapple and set aside for later use.
  5. Prep and chop 4 tablespoons fresh walnuts. Store in the refrigerator for later use.
  6. Rinse, clean, and chop about 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley. Store in the refrigerator for later use.
  7. Set aside four tablespoons of pine nuts for later use.
  8. Set aside 1/2 cup of raisins for later use.
  9. Cut 1 lemon in half and set aside for later use.

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Preparing the Tomato sauce

  1. Fill a medium pot halfway with water.
  2. Bring the water to boil.
  3. Add the tomatoes.
  4. While the water is boiling, use a wooden spoon to turn the tomatoes⁠—making sure they are fully cooked on both sides.
  5. Once the tomatoes are fully cooked, turn off the stove and pour the pot of water into a strainer.

    (Please Note: Be extra careful not to burn yourself!)

  6. Use a fork to remove the tomatoes from the strainer and run each tomato under cool water.

  7. Once the tomatoes have cooled down, peel them while making sure to remove the skin and stem.

  8. Making sure the tomatoes have fully cooled down (please be extra careful), place them in a blender and purée thoroughly.

Preparing the ground meat

  1. Warm a 10-12 inch skillet on medium heat and coat with oil.
  2. Add 1 1/4 lbs of ground meat to the pan and use a wooden spatula to break it down into smaller pieces.
  3. Allow the meat to sit and brown without stirring it for about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the meat shows no signs of pink, drain it using a mesh sieve.
  5. Put the meat back in the skillet and and set aside for later use.

Preparing the picadillo

  1. Warm a round wide dutch oven on medium heat.
  2. Add olive oil, onion, apple, pear, garlic, and salt. Stir occasionally for 10-12 minutes on medium heat until tender, but not browned.
  3. Add pepper, cinnamon, clove, and dried thyme. Stir for about 1 minute until your kitchen smells like autumn!
  4. Add lemon juice and stir for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add tomato sauce, peach, raisins, candied pineapple, pine nuts, and walnuts. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add in ground beef and parsley. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
  7. Set the mixture aside and let it cool.
  8. Once it is cool, taste to see if you need to season with more salt and/or pepper. *Note: Mine tasted amazing so I did not add more seasoning.

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Serving the Picadillo

I made this recipe for my chiles en nogada and I used the leftovers to make tacos with these delicious flour tortillas. If you’re not a fan of peppers and if you prefer to use this as a taco or empanada recipe, I promise it will taste just as delicious!


The most time consuming part of this recipe is prepping the ingredients. I recommend prepping everything one day in advance or setting aside at least an hour to prep everything before cooking.I also recommend storing your ingredients in prepping bowls with a lid. I used these from Williams Sonoma and love them because I am able to safely store ingredients in the fridge for later use.


We referenced the following recipes to learn more about chiles en nogada and to come up with our interpretation of the picadillo. This is not a traditional chiles en nogada recipe; however, it does use traditional elements of the recipe to reflect the overall concept.I highly recommend reading all of these articles, if you are interested in making your own version of chiles en nogada.


Would you like us to share the full chiles en nogada recipe we created? If yes, let met know in the comments below and I’ll write up the recipe for you all.

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About the Author


Mexican-American journalist, former national news producer, and graduate of Boston College and Columbia University School of Journalism. Her mission is to shed more light on the beauty and traditions of Mexican culture. This website is dedicated to her grandmothers, Tita Susana and Tita Lupita, who taught her to be proud of her heritage and to always remember where her ancestors came from.

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