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Vegan Cuban Sandwiches – Connoisseurus Veg

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.

Two Vegan Cuban Sandwiches stacked on a plate with potato chips.

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

  • 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.

Jackfruit and spices cooking in a skillet with wooden spoon.
  • 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.
Hand with a fork pulling apart pieces of jackfruit in a skillet.
  • 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.
Two Vegan Cuban Sandwiches cooking in a grill pan.
  • Enjoy your sandwiches right away!
Plate of Vegan Cuban Sandwiches, pickles and chips with napkin and water glass in the background.

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.

More Vegan Sandwiches

Like this recipe? If so, please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you try it! Also be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter for more recipes like this one!

Two Vegan Cuban Sandwiches stacked on top of each other on a plate with potato chips.

Vegan Cuban Sandwiches

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.

Ingredients

  • 2
    (20 ounce or 567 gram) cans
    young green jackfruit in brine
  • 2
    tablespoons
    olive oil
  • 1
    small onion,
    cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2
    garlic cloves,
    minced
  • 2
    teaspoons
    ground cumin
  • 1
    teaspoon
    smoked paprika
  • Pinch
    cayenne pepper
  • 3
    tablespoons
    orange juice
  • 1
    tablespoon
    lime juice
  • 2
    tablespoons
    soy sauce
  • 2
    tablespoons
    organic brown sugar
  • 1
    loaf
    Italian bread
  • 8
    tablespoons
    yellow mustard,
    or as needed
  • 8
    ounces
    smoked tofu,
    sliced as thin as you can get it
  • 4
    slices
    vegan Swiss cheese
  • 12
    dill pickle slices,
    or as needed
  • 4
    tablespoons
    vegan butter,
    or as needed

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the jackfruit, then optionally remove the seed pods and cut out the cores. Set aside.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

  3. Add the onion and cook it for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften.

  4. Stir in the garlic, jackfruit, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Cook everything, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute, until the mixture becomes very fragrant.

  5. Stir in the orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar.

  6. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to cook for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the jackfruit is tender. Use a fork or two to pull the pieces of jackfruit apart and create a stringy texture while it cooks.

  7. Remove the skillet from heat when done.

  8. Slice the loaf of bread open (Note 1) and cut it into 4 equal sections. (Note 2)

  9. Slather the insides of your bread with mustard, then stuff each portion by layering a few pieces of smoked tofu, jackfruit, cheese, and pickle slices.

  10. Heat a medium nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium heat. (Note 3)

  11. Butter the top and bottom of each sandwich, and when the pan is hot, add a few sandwiches to it, cooking as many as you can at a time without crowding the pan.

  12. Compress the sandwiches while they cook, either by weighing them down with a second (heavy) pan, or pressing them firmly with a spatula.

  13. Cook the sandwiches for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until the filings are heated and the bread is golden brown and crispy.

Recipe Notes

  1. If your bread is very thick you can scoop out some of the insides to make room for fillings.
  2. Each of your sections should be appropriate for a medium to large sized sandwich. If your loaf is very large, cut smaller sections and save the leftovers for another use.
  3. Feel free to cook your sandwiches in a panini maker instead if you have one.

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Cuban Sandwiches

Amount Per Serving (1 sandwich)

Calories 623
Calories from Fat 271

% Daily Value*

Fat 30.1g46%

Saturated Fat 7.6g38%

Sodium 1874mg78%

Potassium 164mg5%

Carbohydrates 71.6g24%

Fiber 13.7g55%

Sugar 8.4g9%

Protein 17.1g34%

Calcium 196mg20%

Iron 11mg61%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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