14 Tasty Cuban Recipes
Cuban food is absolutely delicious and extremely affordable to make at home. Many people have the misconception that Cuban food requires a ton of ingredients because it is so flavorful, but many of the dishes are slow-cooked, allowing the flavors to meld and really pop. (See also: 5 Best Slow Cookers)
Below is a list of items that crop up frequently in Cuban cooking. If you like to cook, I'll bet you have a lot of this around, already:
- Spices/Seasonings: Garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, cilantro.
- Fruits/Vegetables: Oranges, limes, red, green, and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, avocados, onions, cilantro, black and green olives.
- Meats/Fish: Shrimp, chicken, pork chops, hamburger or ground turkey.
- The Rest: Black beans (I substituted canned, rather than soaking them), white beans, rice.
Here are some of my favorite Cuban recipes.
1. Garlicky Chicken
I love this Garlicky Chicken because it is something I could make without going to the store, and wait until you smell it cooking. Not only that, but I could use chicken drumsticks (very cheap) and it was easy. I like bread with it to mop up every drop. (See also: Chicken Leg and Thigh Recipes From Around the World)
2. Ropa Vieja
Ropa Vieja is traditionally made with shredded beef but I wanted to try a twist on that, since chicken breast was on sale at my grocery store. This Chicken Ropa Vieja was just great. I served it with black beans and rice. The recipe served four.
3. Roasted Pork Sandwiches
The marinade for these Roasted Pork Sandwiches is really easy and gives the pork a wonderful flavor. I serve them with a simple lettuce, avocado, and Roma tomato salad, which is traditional.
A post about Cuban food is not complete without Picadillo. This inexpensive, filling, and delicious meal should be a staple in every home. I tried it with ground turkey, and it was wonderful. Serve over rice and toss a salad. (See also: Money-Saving Homemade Salad Dressings)
5. Shrimp in Cilantro Cream Sauce
Use of frozen shrimp (cook and peel yourself) keeps down the cost of this delicious Shrimp in Cilantro Cream Sauce. This was my first experience making shrimp stock, and it was very easy. I cut the recipe in half for the two of us and we still had leftovers. (See also: 8 Fancy Ways to Use Leftovers)
6. Pork Chops with Mojo
When pork chops are on sale, I buy the big packs, break them apart, and freeze in smaller ziplocks. Then I can make these Cuban Pork Chops With Mojo , which has such great flavor. The marinade contains orange and lime juices. We eat them with rice and a salad.
Sure, you can make your own empanada dough. On a weeknight, however, don't we prefer speedy things? These were so incredibly easy, and if you are looking for kid-friendly recipes, bookmark this one for Cuban Empanadas.
This Cuban Pizza is my husband's favorite. It begins with a sofrito sauce. I could not find the suggested crust, but instead used the Doughboy's "Artisan" whole-wheat crust and that worked out great. I made the traditional Cuban salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados to go with and this recipe fed us for two meals.
9. Ham Croquettes
These Cuban Croqueta de Jamon require a little planning, because the ham mixture needs to cool. However, as instructor Nydia says, "A party just isn't a party without them."
10. Fried Sweet Plantains
Fried Sweet Plantains are really easy and inexpensive. You can use a variety of shortenings. I used butter and they were delicious.
11. White Bean Stew
This White Bean Stew is not only economical, but it is also a timely Fall dish. Talk about stick-to-your-ribs! Add a little water or broth when you go to reheat leftovers, because it thickens up after being refrigerated.
12. Pumpkin Soup
In the fall when pumpkins are inexpensive and plentiful, chow down on this Cuban Pumpkin Soup.
13. Black Bean Soup
Cuban Black Bean Soup is another fantastic, inexpensive soup. If you don't see ham hocks in your meat department, just ring that bell and ask the butcher. Mine usually keeps them frozen, in the back, and they're really cheap. (See also: 20 Cheap and Delicious Black Bean Recipes)
14. Split Pea Soup
Try this distinctive Cuban version of Split Pea Soup. If you can't find calabaza in your area, butternut squash is a good substitute.
If you have not tried Cuban cuisine, I recommend you do. Readers, do you have any to share?