vegan cuban

All posts tagged vegan cuban

Vegan Garbanzos con Chorizo (Chickpeas and Sausage)

Published December 14, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


Okay, it’s been a while, but here’s another veganized cuban classic! This was my 1st try at Garbanzos con Chorizo. In an attempt to be thriftier, I made the chickpeas from scratch, but you can easily use can beans. I’ll leave the salt up to you depending on what you decide to do there. When I get the right combination I’ll mark it as such, and add it to my recipe page. This really came out so good, I don’t think I’m going to change the recipe much in the future.

Vegan Garbanzos con Chorizo (Chickpeas and Sausage)

3-4 tbsp. olive oil (cut back from 1/3 c.)

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 oz. tomato sauce (alternatively, you can use a whole 8oz can of tomato sauce and/or the tomato paste & water)
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 c. water

3 cups of well rinsed garbanzos, or 2 cans worth
1 package of vegan sausage (I used a 14 oz. pack of Tofurky Brats, but there are vegan chorizo out there.)

salt & pepper, to taste
dash of cayenne pepper, optional


1. Heat olive oil over low heat in a large, deep skillet. Add onion, pepper, and garlic. Raise heat to medium, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, paste and water, and cook for a few more minutes.

2. Stir in chickpeas and sausage, cover, and drop heat to low to simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, and taste for seasoning.

You’re done! Serve over rice and enjoy.


I’m not the biggest fan of chopping things finely. Especially when it comes to onions, so I cut the onions into eighths, and threw them in with some roughly chopped pepper and garlic.




This worked out really well for the sausages too. I chopped them up and threw them in.


And pulsed them to the perfect, crumbly texture.


Result: I really thought this recipe was going to use more tweaking, but this first attempt came out pretty awesome. Not a whole lot of work yields a whole lot of flavor here. Not only that, it made my kitchen smell like my grandma’s used to. I’m adding it to the recipe page.

Appetite for Reduction’s Chili-Lime-Rubbed Tofu, Mashed Yuca & Kale Salad

Published April 24, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Well, by the end of this past weekend I finally had unpacked and organized all of my remaining kitchen items. (A few things had to be returned to their owners or donated.) I made out a meal plan for the week, for what seemed like the first time in ages, and headed to the store. I’ve been favoring AFR lately in an attempt to make my cooking life a little simpler and leaner. And I even managed to make a couple of dishes from it in the midst of being half unpacked the last few weeks.

This ended up being 3 courses of mixed latin fusion inspired goodness.

The Kale salad was of my own invention to use up some ripe mango and avocado I got from my mother. I used kale because I’m addicted to it and crave it all the time, but I snuck in a little chiffonade of basil since I had just bought it and it smelled so good. It made for a very nice, fresh contrast. I added black beans and some super fresh corn to give it a sort of mexi vibe, and dressed it very lightly with lime juice, a tiny mist of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some fresh ground smoked black pepper.

Mango, Avocado, Kale salad

1 bunch of kale, stems removed, ripped or chopped into tiny pieces
10 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade or chopped finely, optional
1 mango, small dice
1 avocado, small dice
1 can of black beans, well rinsed
1 tbsp. of red onion, chopped finely
fresh corn cut from one ear
lime juice, to taste
olive oil, optional
salt & pepper


I was going to try Isa’s suggested Mashed Yuca with Cilantro & Lime, but both stores I went to were curiously out of cilantro. I was already planning on buying the Goya frozen yuca instead of buying fresh, since that’s all I’ve ever seen my family use, and it was easier. That’s what’s in that pot there below on the right, 2 small bags worth. I had a little red onion left from the salad, so that’s the pink you’ll surely notice in my final result. I used this and 2 big cloves of garlic to make a quickie mojo, because I just can’t imagine eating yuca without it. So I’ll put my little version here as well. It sure tasted good. But honestly, just the yuca straight out of the salted water tasted amazing. I love yuca. I had never made it before. I did use Isa’s suggestion for reserving a cup of the cooking water to mash with.


So I made a double batch of the tofu, because Thomas is a tofu eating machine, and I wanted some leftovers to eat with the leftover salad for lunch the next day. (PS- I did, and they were extremely delicious together!) So that’s me putting fork holes in two bricks of sprouted, prepressed tofu. The only thing I didn’t double in the marinade was the oil. I stuck with just the 1 tsp. and I used less salt in the rub, and not quite double the chili powder.


In the marinade…


With their rub on…


Baked, flipped, baked some more & outta the oven…


Ty’s Mojo Infused Mashed Yuca

2 lbs of frozen yuca chunks (I used the Goya Brand), cooked according to package directions/taste. I like mine a bit “al dente” for lack of a better term. Yuca will get mushy, but for me the perfect texture is still firm on the inside.
1 c. of reserved cooking water
1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
2 large cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
mist of olive oil
2 tbsp. lime juice, split


1. In the last 5-10 minutes of yuca cooking, spray a small skillet with a little olive oil and lightly fry up onion and garlic. As it gets dryer, splash in 1 tbsp. of lime juice, and cook down.

2. Drain yuca and return to pot or to a large bowl you can mash it in. Remove the fibrous little strings in the centers of the chunks, preferably with a fork so you don’t burn your fingers. Add “mojo” mixture, additional lime juice and enough cooking water to get to your desired consistency. Mmm! This made a wonderful bed for the tofu.


Final Thoughts…

So if you’re really cool, you could knock this out in 30 minutes flat. If you make the salad while the other 2 cook. I’m not that cool, so it took me somewhere between 45-60 minutes so that I could include dancing and beer drinking too. If you haven’t checked out Appetite for Reduction, it’s worth checking out. The recipes are a lot simpler than let’s say the Veganomicon, but still packed with plenty of flavor and guiltier items too like corn bread and onion rings, etc. I like it so much I even bought the kindle edition with the intent of selling back or giving away my hard copy, but don’t think I will after all. 🙂


Cuban style Sunday vegan dinner

Published October 26, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


You know who makes the BEST cuban food? My Honduran dad! 😉 We went over there Sunday evening for dinner and my dad made my favorite, black beans and yuca with mojo (fried onions in a citrusy olive oil & garlic sauce)! Mmm! My mom was about to cook up some Gardein Beefless Tips in a skillet when I stopped her and showed her my easy toaster oven method. Just throw those in a small baking pan and cook on 425*F. 10 minutes for 1 package, or 20 minutes for 2, stirring once halfway. I don’t know about you, but I find it way easier to pop something in an oven and set a timer. Plus then you can leave them on warm while you finish cooking the other things. These made a nice vegan substitute for the ropa vieja he would have normally have served before he watched Forks Over Knives!

Versailles – Miami, Fl

Published September 7, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


This is just a simple example of how I eat when I’m out at non-vegan restaurants. I happened to be down in Miami with my family, and we stopped in at “the most famous cuban restaurant in the world” (translated from their menu’s claim), a restaurant from my childhood, Versailles. The same restaurant, in fact, that I broke my vegetarianism at on my 16th birthday to have a bistec empanizado (a thin breaded steak with chopped onions & parsley. PS – I came up with an idea for a vegan version the other day!), but I digress…

I ordered sides of black beans*, boniato frito (fried sweet potato, the white kind), and yuca con mojo (boiled yuca with onions and olive oil with citrus).  The boniato was really nice, it didn’t taste deep fried at all, more like oven fried. My pescetarian mom ordered arroz con moros to share with my dad (which had meat that she picked out), black beans, tostones (fried, flattened, salted plantains) and platanos frito (fried, sweet plantains). So yah, a lot of fried food, but still yummy cuban veg food out with the family. We did not hit the bakery. That definitely would have been torture! Which reminds me, the holidays will be here before I know it, and I still need to perfect some cuban pastries by christmas!

*Please ask about the black beans if you want to be sure they are vegan. I didn’t, because black beans usually are.

Vegan Bocaditos w/ Ham Filling – Cuban Tea Sandwiches

Published June 3, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

One of the things I really needed was a vegan recipe for bocaditos. Especially before Christmas rolls around again. These are one of the hardest things for me to resist at my Cuban Christmastime. ; ) I’ve most often seen these served on an egg-type bread, which I will have to work out at a later date. Since it’s only June, I have plenty of time to perfect my recipe, and will currently be eating this smeared on some sprouted grain bread, or rather by dipping pieces of bread into it.

Note:  it came out just a little thinner than I wanted, but it’s still tasty. I’m pretty sure it was from the pimentos, and it was slightly overwhelming the flavor so I dropped down the amount in the recipe below. I’m going to keep thinking about additional tweaks for next time as I eat my way through this batch!

Vegan Bocadito Filling

1  5.5oz package of vegan ham slices (about 10)
2/3 c. vegan cream cheese
1/4 c. vegan mayo
1/4 c. sweet pickle relish
3 tbsp. chopped pimentos
1 tbsp. chopped pitted olives
2 tsp. dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste


1. Cube ham slices and add to food processor. Pulse into well ground.

2. Add additional ingredients and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mix in a little pickle relish after blending for texture.

Ty’s Super Awesome Vegan Empanadas / Picadillo

Published February 23, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So, I’m a half Cuban, half  Honduran vegan. Why should you care? Well, because as a cuban raised in South Florida, I can tell you confidently that I know a thing or two about empanadas, and these are like [vegan] heaven deep fried in dough.

Coincidentally, I’ve been making these for years. Way before I was vegan. When I was still eating meat even! (Only I was making them with Boca Burger crumbles then.) It never occurred to me that they were vegan until after I made the transition and checked out all my ingredients.

Mary & Bobby love these, and I thought I’d suck it up and make them since they were coming over. I probably only make them once a year (or two!), and I even bought a deep fryer last year specifically for this purpose. If you’re too lazy to roll out the thawed frozen dough and shape and fry these ( As I have been on many occasions), it’s still a delicious picadillo that you can serve with some brown rice. Which is actually what I brought to Thanksgiving a year and a half ago and all the meat eaters ate it, and loved the flavors. ; )

$$$      If you don’t wanna deal with rehydrating the TVP, you can use vegan burger crumbles instead, but just a warning, TVP is 3 billion times cheaper! For example, the TVP necessary for this recipe cost just over $1. Equivalent amount of vegan crumbles would have cost $9-10! You can use veggie broth in place of the water and bouillon cubes too, if you have it on hand. But again, the bouillon cubes are another great way to stretch your dollar.

Ty’s Super Awesome Vegan Empanadas / Picadillo

1 recipe for rehydrated TVP (below) or 2 lb equivalent of vegan burger crumbles

2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 – 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (with green chiles or habaneros if you like it hot!)
1 c. water
1 vegan bouillon cube, crumbled
1/3 c.  tomato paste
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar or cooking sherry
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I like to use a little extra)
2/3 c. raisins
1/2 c. sliced olives with pimentos
1/2 c. slivered almonds
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
cayenne pepper to taste (leave it out or amp it up!)

your favorite empanada/turnover dough recipe, enough for 20! or 2 packages of frozen vegan empanada dough circles, thawed

Rehydrated TVP:

2 c. of TVP granules
2 c. of water
1 vegan bouillon cube
4 tsp. liquid smoke
4 tsp. vegan worcestershire

Makes 20 empanadas or 6-8 servings of picadillo


1. To rehydrate TVP, bring stock, liquid smoke and worcestershire up to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in TVP. Cover and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, cook onions on medium heat until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add TVP and all other ingredients. Simmer over low heat for 25 minutes to let flavors combine. Let it cool if using for empanada filling. If using as picadillo, serve with some hot brown rice and skip step 3.

3. Roll out empanada dough circles lightly with rolling pin, and place about a 1/4 cup of filling in half of the circle and fold to close. Use a fork to crimp the edges closed and deep fry until golden brown. Drain on paper bags or paper towels. These are great served with vegan sour cream for dipping!

Prepare your broth to hydrate the TVP.

Hydrate begin.

I totally didn’t feel like chopping that much onion. A few quick pulses minced them.

Subsequently, I minced the garlic in there too while the onions cooked.

This left me time to slice up my olives and have the rest of my ingredients ready to go.

Simmer and cool. That’s a lot of filling!

About a 1/4 cup in each should do it.

Fold in half and press closed.

I like to fold the edges over to make sure it stays closed.

And then crimp the edges with a fork to seal it tight.

20 empanadas, ready for frying.

Drained empanadas and waiting on the last couple batches to plate.

I served these with a very lightly and simply dressed red cabbage slaw. (agave, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper.)

Seitan Ropa Vieja

Published September 11, 2010 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Okay, so I did end up trying out the Viva Vegan! seitan as the base for this ropa vieja dish. I didn’t use her version, but instead adapted a recipe from one of my cuban cookbooks. I’m not the biggest fan of chewy seitan, so I kept my seitan loaves refrigerated for a week before using them for extra firmness.

Also, I’m cuban. My first taste of this dish actually made me want beef for the first time in almost a year. This is a staple cuban cuisine, and I was surprised how much my palette really expected a certain flavor. But I also found that the flavor in this dish was so much better the next day when the seitan had really had time to absorb all the flavors, and then I was really able to enjoy it. (Another idea that tastes amazing, and works really well as a beef analogue for cuban style dinners is to just bake up a batch of Gardein beefless tips like I did here! So tasty and super fast.)

The key to cutting the seitan is to try to get it as close to the texture of shredded beef as possible. So slicing and slivering it very thin (the thinner the better) and somewhat irregularly as possible. My pieces were probably still too big after all that work, so shredding it may be the best option. (Plus, it will probably absorb the flavors better and faster that way!) I used all 4 loaves from the Viva Vegan!’s red seitan recipe to make this dish, and it was a lot. Definitely 6-8 servings. So keep that in mind in case you want to halve it. I served this with brown rice.

Seitan Ropa Veija

4 loaves of Viva Vegan!’s red seitan (or 8 servings worth of another seitan), sliced thinly into irregular length pieces

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 14.5 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 c. cooking sherry
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tbsp. vegan worcestershire
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste

1/2 c. pimentos, chopped, as garnish
1/2 c. early sweet peas, as garnish


1. Heat oil over low heat and add onions, peppers and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often. Raise heat to low-medium and add tomatoes, sauce, sherry liquid smoke, worcestershire, bay leaves, and salt & pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Add seitan and simmer, covered, for an additional 30 minutes.

3. Remove bay leaves and add pimentos and peas as garnish.

For better flavor, you can make this the day before (up to step 2) and then simmer it over low heat for 30 minutes until it’s heated through, and then proceed with step 3.


Vegan Pastelitos de Guayaba/ Guava Pastries

Published June 20, 2010 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

These take a cheat from frozen Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets. Just lay them out to thaw for 40 minutes, and you’re ready to go! Here I made 2 variations, Guayaba y Guayaba con queso crema (guava & guava with cream cheese).

Vegan Pastelitos de Guayaba

1 package of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
about 4 oz Guava paste
vegan cream cheese, optional

2 tbsp. soymilk
1 tbsp. agave

Sugar as topping, optional


1. Set puff pastry sheets out to thaw for 40 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 400*.

2. Cut pastry into desired shapes. Add thin slice of guava to center of one half, leaving enough room around the edges to seal. For cream cheese variation, just place a dab of cream cheese on top of the guava. Fold over and press sides to seal; use water if it won’t stick. Insert tip of knife to make vent hole in top.

3. Use a pastry brush to top with wash mixture, taking care not to let it run down the sides, as this will glue them down to the pan. Sprinkle with sugar, if using.

4. Place onto lightly greased baking sheet, or one prepared with parchment or foil, and bake at 400* for 12-15 minutes. They will be golden on top, puffed up and flaky. Enjoy!

cuban shepherd’s pie/ tambor de picadillo

Published April 24, 2010 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

my first meal in my new kitchen!

oh, by the way, i have to tell you… if you do not have at least one nice all-purpose knife (i use a wustof classic santoku, and i use it for everything. ) you really need to get one! chopping onions and peppers with the chef knife from my $15 chefmate block set was awful. i can see why people hate to cook.  even if you cook occasionally, it’s worth it; a sharp knife makes chopping a pleasure.

so this is a little different from regular shepherd’s pie in that it has picadillo (beef hash) sandwiched between 2 layers of mashed potatoes, instead of topped with just one. this is my vegan version of Tambor de Picadillo. literally it means, drum of beef hash, which makes sense when you think about it, because it’s supposed to be made in a round casserole. however, i could not find a round 3 qt casserole at Target yesterday, so mine bears little resemblance to said instrument, and is made in a familiar 9×13 dish instead. besides making it vegan, i made some other adjustments for flavor and personal taste, but this is still a pretty authentic recipe, well,  authentic minus the meat, eggs and dairy. i may make a few more changes in the future when i have full access to my pantry staples. here is the recipe as of last night : )

you will need:

large skillet
large pot
9×13 pan or 3 qt. round casserole

Ty’s cuban shepherd’s pie/ tambor de picadillo


3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (traditionally they use green, i like red, any color will do)
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bag of vegan crumbles or other substitute for 1 lb ground beef
1/4 c. cooking sherry
1 14.5 oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vegan worcestershire
hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste, optional

1/3 c. pimento stuffed green olives, halved
1/4 c. raisins

Mashed Potatoes:

3 lbs potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (i used yukon gold because of their excellent reputation for mashing)
3 tbsp. vegan butter, plus more for greasing casserole
1 c. soy milk or soy creamer (add more a couple of tbsp. at a time if needed)
salt & pepper to taste

1/4 c. vegan parmesan
1/4 c. nutritional yeast


1. Pre-heat oven to 350*. Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold, salted water. Bring up to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. When you are ready to mash them drain well, and return to pot.

2. After starting potatoes, heat olive oil to medium in large skillet. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring often. Add beef substitute, and stir frequently until cooked through, about 7 minutes, or according to package instructions. Add sherry, worcestershire, hot sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste and salt to pan and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add olives and raisins and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid is mostly absorbed.

4. While picadillo is simmering you can mash your potatoes. Add milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash with fork or mixer only until smooth. do not over mix!

5. Spoon half of mashed potatoes into the bottom of greased casserole dish. follow with all of the picadillo as one layer, and top with remaining mashed potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and top with vegan parm & nutritional yeast, and place under the broiler until the top is golden brown, about 5 minutes.


Preparation variation: you can prepare the picadillo the day before, if you wish. you will need to bring it to room temperature as the potatoes cook and then bake for 30 minutes, covered before topping and placing under broiler.

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