Born and raised in South Florida, Cuban food tastes like home to me. It’s funny because whether you are Hispanic, American, Asian, European, etc., if you are a South Florida local you know every Cuban dish in the book! Cuban cuisine was another very difficult thing for me to even think about giving up to go vegan. Luckily, most of the traditional sides are vegan or can easily be made vegan. With this specific meal it is actually extremely easy to include the pan-fried chicken because products like Gardien’s Chick’n Scallopini are a damn blessing!
Most Cuban meals are beef or pork heavy, which is a little more difficult to imitate on a time crunch, so I went with the more popular chicken dish, bistec de pollo a la plancha! This entree includes pan-fried “chicken” topped with sautéed onions and smothered in their incredible mojo sauce, accompanied by some white rice, black beans, and platanos maduros (sweet plantains).
As always, rice is the first thing to get started on, since it takes the longest. Once the rice is cooking everything else is pretty simple and quick!
Ingredients: 4 SERVINGS
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 pieces of Gardien Chick’n Scallopini
- 1/2 large white onion, sliced
- Pour olive oil in skillet over medium heat
- Place onions on skillet and stir constantly
- Place chick’n in skillet (you may need to use 2 skillets, one large one for 4 pieces)
- Let cook for 3 – 5 minutes over medium heat or until golden brown (I like the burnt crunchy bits)
- Flip and let cook on other side for 3 – 5 minutes as well
- Place onions on top of each chick’n piece
- This chick’n scallopini is already lightly seasoned but you can add salt to taste for extra flavor
This marinade is a staple in Cuban cuisine. They literally put that shit on everything, and I don’t blame them because it adds incredible flavor! My personal favorite is mojo on chick’n because it just absorbs the juicy citrus liquid so well.
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgen olive oil
- 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl
- Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you eat
- If you prefer less garlic-y or leafy, strain
- Pour over chick’n
In my Sudado de Pollo recipe I made plantains as well, but those were salty plantains made from green bananas. This time I made maduros, or sweet plantains. They are made from the same bananas, except you have to wait until they are super ripe, almost black! This makes them extra sweet and gooey. Unfortunately, when I went grocery shopping there were no extra ripe bananas, so I had to settle for the best thing I could find. The steps are the same and they were still delicious, just not as soft and gooey as I like.
- 1 or 2 extra ripe (brownish-black) large plantain banana
- 4 Cups Canola oil (or what ever amount fits in your pan but completely covering the cut plantains)
- Pour oil in sauce pan and turn on medium-high heat (depending on how hot your stove gets)
- Peel banana(s)
- Cut at an angle, making slices about 3/4 inches thick
- Once oil is bubbling, place plantain slices in oil and brown for 4 – 5 minutes
- Stir/flip constantly to make sure they cook evenly, and so they don’t stick together
- Remove from hot oil carefully and place in paper-towel lined bowl so that the oil drains
At this point your rice should be ready and all you need to do is heat up the black beans. Yes, cooking dry beans can taste a little more homemade and fresh, but if you are on a time crunch, canned black beans are just as good! I simply pour them into a sauce pan over medium-high heat, add a little salt and let them heat up for about 5 minutes. Make sure you cover the sauce pan so that the liquid does not evaporate, and become dry. Now that everything is ready, just serve and enjoy this delicious Cuban meal!