Vegan Cuban Cuisine

Vegan Cuban Cuisine

Food is a great way to explore a country’s personality, diving into its heritage and local traditions. This is certainly the case with Cuba. 

When you can’t travel to the country, the next best thing is to bring food to you. Cuban food is notorious for being flavor-rich, full of color, and utterly delicious – you need to try it. 

If you’re vegan, you don’t have to worry about missing out on the action since there is a wide variety of plant-based Cuban recipes to choose from. 

With this in mind, let’s get straight into some mouth-watering vegan Cuban cuisine! 

1. Cuban Lentil Soup with Baked Plantains and Lemon Crema

This recipe is like a warm hug in a bowl – packed with vegetables and classic Cuban flavors of garlic and onion essence to pack a kick. 

This Cuban lentil soup with baked plantains and lemon crema is hearty enough to keep you full without making you feel bloated and heavy. 

With plenty of vegetables, you are guaranteed to receive your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Plus, when spiced with traditional Cuban flavors, you won’t even realize you’re eating your veggies. 

Garnished with charming plantains and lemon crema, this recipe is both full of nutrition and warming – the perfect combination!

2. Arroz Con (No) Pollo

The great thing about traditional Cuban recipes is that you can really easily switch out non-vegan ingredients with vegan alternatives, this would be the case with this recipe. 

Once you know how to make modifications to your meal, the recipe possibilities become endless – with no dishes off-limits. 

In this instance, the chicken (or ‘pollo’) has been replaced with some tempeh and seasonings (in specific poultry seasoning – which doesn’t contain any chicken!) to mimic the original taste and flavors

Speaking of flavor, this recipe is packed with it – from paprika, cumin, garlic, and much more – you’ll certainly be in for a treat. 

3. Rellenos de Papas

Traditionally, Rellenos de papes are composed of fried mashed potato balls filled with ground beef and are a popular Cuban dish. 

However, if you’re vegan and want to try this delicious recipe, then not to worry! This recipe is a vegan twist on the classic with the same mouthwatering flavors. 

With a few simple tweaks – plant-based eggs for dipping and vegan butter – the potato layer can be made vegan. 

For the filling, instead of meat, you’ll find a meaty oyster mushroom in its place. Cooked with sazon and sofrito, it infuses the dish with those incredible Latin flavors. 

If you’re looking to achieve a more classic texture, you can also opt for plant-based meat filling instead. Either way, these Rellenos de papas are delicious, you’ll have to stop yourself from eating them all in one sitting! 

4. Cuban Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

Cuban black beans are inexpensive, delicious, and the epitome of classic Latin American Food. In fact, we can’t have a Cuban recipe list without this recipe! 

The traditional recipes are cooked with meat, however, this vegan twist tastes just as amazing, and you won’t even notice the difference. 

Plus, it is the perfect recipe for batch-cooking meals throughout the week or whipping up something the whole family can enjoy and eat.

These black beans are slow-cooked to perfection in a sauce brimming with flavor – you’ll experience a burst of flavor with every mouthful, with bold, rich, and tender black beans. 

Serve it with rice, steamed vegetables, baked plantains, or anything else for an utterly delicious meal. 

5. Vegan Cubano Sandwich

This vegan Cubano sandwich can be whipped up in as little as 10 minutes – the perfect recipe for when you want to make a delicious lunch without the effort!

Using simple ingredients and techniques, this Cuban-inspired sandwich tastes just like the traditional version. 

Whether you’re looking to add a new recipe to your collection or a handmade Cubano sandwich, you’re in the right place – with only seven ingredients, you’ll have this whipped up in no time. 

The cheesy, meaty classic Cubano sandwich is a favorite in the Cuban community of South Florida, containing everything you know and love about a hearty sandwich.

From mustard, pickles, and a delicious filling all pressed together into two toasted buns. 

For this recipe, simply cook your favorite vegan meats, spread your soft loaves with mustard, add some vegan cheese, then toast your sandwich under a press or a skillet until toasted to perfection. The cheese should be gooey and melted. 

6. Cuban Sweet Potato Picadillo Bowls

This Cuban sweet potato picadillo bowl is the perfect combination of both sweet and savory flavors.

Roasted chickpeas, stewed tomatoes, olives, sweet potatoes, raisins, and an array of spices come together in one pot to create a simple yet delicious meal. 

The star of this dish is certainly the stewed tomatoes, when spiced to perfection with Cuban flavors, they become heavenly. 

Of course, this recipe does an amazing job of honing in on those Cuban flavors, and with the added veggies; it becomes irresistible. 

This recipe focuses on sweet potatoes and tomatoes then boosts the plant protein with roasted chickpeas – the perfect hearty meal for those cold winters. 

7. Cuban Fried Quinoa with Black Beans and Smoky Tempeh

Quinoa is one of those ingredients that can be used in virtually anything! Salads? Yes. Burgers? Of course. Baked goods? Why not! Quinoa is a versatile ingredient and a great source of protein. 

Therefore, replacing rice with quinoa seems like a no-brainer! In most cases, you can get away with making the direct swap, and the results are an improved, new, and nutritious meal. 

This Cuban fried quinoa with black beans and smoky tempeh takes everything you know and love about fried rice and transforms it into a healthier alternative. 

Quinoa provides the perfect crispy texture and savory flavors of the Chinese buffet classic. Plus, you’ll find another twist with the infamous Cuban beans and inspired flavors. 

Cuban flavors and Chinese techniques come together to create a truly mouth-watering dish. Traditionally, this recipe encompasses pork, however, this is replaced with smoky tempeh to achieve the same flavors. 

Think fried rice, but 100% better! 

8. Oyster Mushroom Ropa Veja

Ropa Vieja is one of Cuba’s national dishes. In Spanish, Ropa Vieja translates to ‘dirty rags’ or ‘old clothes’, but trust us, it tastes much better than it sounds! 

Shredded oyster mushrooms are used as a meat alternative in the recipe, which when pulled apart, mimics the look of dirty rags, hence the name! 

The dish is packed with flavors – between the capers, mushrooms, olive, and wine – you simply can’t go wrong. 

Serve with rice for a hearty, warming dish that is packed with Latin flavors and spices, this is a dish that the whole family is sure to love. 

9. Natilla (Custard)

Natilla is a traditional Cuban dessert typically made with eggs to create a creamy custard. However, you can enjoy this delicious dessert without any animal products using this recipe. 

Instead of egg yolks and milk, in this recipe; you’ll find fresh almond milk and vegan eggs as a substitute. In fact, vegan eggs can be used to substitute a wide variety of your favorite recipes requiring the ingredient! 

For this recipe, you can use store-bought almond milk to make the custard. Simply place the milk in a pot along with some cinnamon sticks and lemon rinds and heat it up on a stove. 

Add the other ingredients and follow the instructions until you have reached a thick custard consistency. 

Serve with as much cinnamon as you like. While it may not have the yellow custard color, it tastes just as delicious! 

10. Cuban Rice and Beans

This Cuban rice and beans recipe is packed with flavors and tastes. It’s hearty, tastes finger-licking good, smells amazing, is made with pantry stables, is protein-rich, and brings out all the bold flavors of Cuba all within one pot. 

Plus, it is incredibly easy to make! Whether you’re whipping up a batch for your friends and family, or looking to meal prep for the week – this recipe is the one for you. 

All you have to do is heat some oil or vegetable broth in a large saucepan, adding the bell paper, garlic, and onion to the pan. 

Fry this for approximately three minutes, then all the remaining rice and vegetable broth, cooking for another 10 minutes. 

Lastly, add all the other ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper, plus whatever optional add-ons you desire, such as maple syrup or laurel spice – and you’re done! 

Final Thoughts…

Bring Cuba to your kitchen with these mouth wateringly delicious recipes! Packed with an array of vegetables and oh-so-much flavor, your kitchen will be smelling amazing in no time.

From traditional Cuban recipes to meals with a Cuban twist, hopefully, this guide has provided you with some Cuban inspiration for your next meals!

Brandon White
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