Vegan Cuban Sandwiches

Jump to Recipe Print Recipe

Bursting with flavor, these vegan Cuban sandwiches are made with smoky seasoned jackfruit and tofu, dairy-free Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, stuffed into crusty bread and grilled to crispy perfection.

Generally speaking, I’d have to say that the Cuban sandwich is not my thing. It’s a sandwich that’s made with two kinds of meat, Swiss cheese, and butter. Oh, and bread that’s made with lard. So it’s probably not for me. Although I’ll gladly take the pickles and mustard.

But the vegan Cuban sandwich is another story. Replace those two meats with jackfruit and tofu, use vegan cheese, butter and bread, and I’m in!

So that’s exactly what I did. And while I’ve never had a non-vegan Cubano, I have to say I think I nailed this one. One bite and I was like “oh yeah, this is so right.”

So, if you’re a vegan who has never enjoyed a Cuban before, now’s your chance. And if you’ve had a regular Cuban and loved it, well I think you’ll love my vegan version even more.

Jump to:
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How They’re Made
  • Leftovers & Storage
  • More Vegan Sandwiches
  • Vegan Cuban Sandwiches

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Olive oil. Feel free to substitute any high heat oil.
  • Onion.
  • Garlic.
  • Jackfruit. Use canned jackfruit, which is available at most Asian markets as well as Trader Joe’s. Make sure your jackfruit is packed in brine and labelled as “young” and/or “green.” This means it’s unripe, and perfect for savory recipes like this one.
  • Spices. We’re using ground cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  • Orange juice. You only need a few tablespoons, so just buy an orange or two if orange juice isn’t something you normally use.
  • Lime juice.
  • Soy sauce. Tamari or liquid aminos can be substituted if needed.
  • Brown sugar.
  • Smoked tofu. You can buy this at the store, or use homemade smoked tofu.
  • Italian bread. Traditional Cubanos are made on Cuban bread, which usually contains lard, so we’re subbing the closest equivalent I could find: Italian bread. Ciabatta would also work well.
  • Vegan swiss cheese. I used Daiya brand.
  • Yellow mustard.
  • Dill pickle slices.
  • Vegan butter. Look for this near the regular butter at your supermarket. Earth Balance and Miyoko’s are a couple of popular brands to try.

How They’re Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Heat up your oil in a medium skillet and add sliced onion. Cook it for a few minutes, until the pieces soften up.
  • Add garlic, spices, and jackfruit. Cook everything briefly until the mixture becomes very fragrant.

Tip: When working with jackfruit you have the option of picking out the seed pods and cutting out the cores, which I did here. You can read more about how and why to do that in my jackfruit tacos post. If you don’t mind leaving these bits in, you can use a bit less than 2 cans.

  • Stir in the orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar.
  • Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes, until the jackfruit softens up a bit. Use a fork or two to pull the pieces apart and create a stringy texture.
  • Slice your bread into 4 sections and slice each one open.
  • Slather the insides with mustard and layer slices of smoked tofu, jackfruit, vegan Swiss and pickles inside each sandwich.

Tip: If your bread is very thick and seems like it will dominate the sandwich, feel free to scoop out some of the insides before layering the fillings.

  • Butter the outside of each sandwich, then working in batches, place them in a skillet or grill pan, grilling each side until crispy.
  • Either place a second skillet on top of your sandwiches to weigh down and flatten them, or use a sturdy spatula to press them down.
  • Enjoy your sandwiches right away!

Leftovers & Storage

Vegan Cuban sandwiches are best served immediately, but if you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

The best way I’ve found to reheat them is by briefly microwaving them until hot in the middle, then briefly placing each sandwich in a nonstick skillet and grilling each side for a minute or two to get it crispy again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *