Maybe you’re wondering how to vacation like Katy Perry in Cuba, or maybe you even have a favorite restaurant that serves up a mean Cubano sandwich. Regardless, there’s no denying that Cuban food is a favorite. There’s that shredded beef dish you still dream about from your trip to Miami, the plantains you know nobody could improve upon and the marinated pork you had at your friend’s family’s house over the holidays. You’ve always wanted to make one of these delicacies yourself, and now you can! If you’re looking to take your sandwich game to the next level with a homemade version of the classic, or you want to try your hand at another Cuban recipe favorite, these 14 traditional Cuban dishes are sure to WOW your taste buds.
1. Arroz con Pollo (Spanish Chicken and Rice): A traditional dish if there ever was one, this one-pot delicacy combines the incredible flavors of saffron and cumin to give the rice that golden hue. Make it on Sunday for you and bae, then enjoy the leftovers all week long. (via Spoonful of Flavor)
2. Cuban Sandwich: This classic ‘wich requires five key ingredients: ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. And, of course, Cuban bread. When you’re pressed for time, go for a deli-style honey ham like in this easy recipe, which takes just 10 minutes to make. Don’t skip out on the panini press, though, since it gives it that extra special texture of a true Cubano. (via Hapa Nom Nom)
3. Fried Sweet Plantains: These can (and should!) be served as a side dish with virtually any and every Cuban dish. All you need are ripe plantains and some fearlessness when it comes to frying them up. When choosing plantains, make sure the edges are fairly curved and the peel is almost completely black. (via Joy of Kosher)
4. Picadillo (Cuban-Style): The next time you see a ground beef sale at the supermarket, grab some to make this dish filled with extras like potatoes, raisins, olives and tomatoes. Serve with a side of plain rice, and let it soak in all of the flavors like you would with a nice chili. (via No Recipes)
5. Yuca con Mojo (Cuban Style Yuca): If you’re having company over and looking to impress, this side is sure to do it; it’s often served around the holidays and is great for BBQs. Prep ahead of time and bring extra mojo sauce for dipping — or coating on your favorite ready-for-the-grill meat. (via The Curious Coconut)
6. Lechon Asado (Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork): No holiday table in a Cuban household is complete without this delectable pork dish. Make extras to serve in your Cuban sandwich or to add to your quinoa salad for an easy lunch later in the week. (via The Food Charlatan)
7. Sofrito Salsa & Tostones: Made with green plantains instead of yellow, these double fried tostones topped with a fresh salsa make perfect party appetizers. Finish with a piece of avocado, a sprinkling of cilantro and maybe even a small dollop of sour cream. (via The Noshery)
8. Cuban Pumpkin Flan: Dessert doesn’t get any better than this creamy and delicious concoction full of traditional fall flavors. It’s much easier to make than you ever imagined, and you won’t be able to resist the DIY caramel after trying your hand at this recipe. (via Adore Foods)
9. Fricasé de Pollo (Cuban-Style Chicken Stew): This dish is perfect for make-ahead meals. Although it’s traditionally prepared with russet potatoes, try using a seasonal starch like sweet potato or summer squash for an added boost of flavor. (via Saveur)
10. Papas Rellenas (Cuban Potato Balls): Snack time has never been happier than with these potato balls that are — surprise! — stuffed with a picadillo-like meat mixture. You may need to make extras to bring to your next potluck, because these are sure to go fast. (via The Candid Appetite)
11. Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls With Fried Bananas: Although quinoa originally came from Peru, it’s easy to incorporate the healthy protein into a bowl of your favorite Cuban chicken and black beans. Don’t skip the spicy mangoes, or swap out for pineapple or cantaloupe if you favor those tropical fruits. (via Half Baked Harvest)
12. Shrimp Empanadas: Empanadas are a staple in several Latin countries, and the Cuban version, made with shrimp, is a tasty treat any day of the week. Whip these up for a summer fiesta and everyone will be begging for seconds (and thirds, and fourths…). (via Good Taste)
13. Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef): Can’t go wrong with a big pile of meat served over classic white rice. The best part is that it’s mostly made in the slow cooker, which saves you hours of prep time so you can focus on more important things. Like another round of empanadas, perhaps? (via The Cooking Jar)
14. Cuban Croquetas: If you’ve never had a traditional Cuban croquette before, you’re seriously missing out. This ham version is about as easy as it comes. Take out that trusty food processor and get to work! (via Cooking Channel)
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