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Jackfruit Cuban Sandwiches

Jackfruit Cuban Sandwiches

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

30 minutes

Servings:

Makes 4 sandwiches

Difficulty:

Easy

Jackfruit Cuban Sandwiches Recipe
By Chef Linda

I’ve never actually had a Cuban sandwich. After seeing the movie “Chef”, with Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara, in which a disillusioned chef leaves the restaurant world and opens a food truck that sells–that right–Cuban sandwiches, I developed a craving that demanded attention. A variation of a ham and cheese sandwich that includes roast pork, the Cuban sandwich is said to have been a common lunch for workers in cigar factories and sugar mills in Cuba.

Maybe it was the crispy, crusty bread. Or the way the filling was smushed together and held fast with oozing cheese. Could have been the pickles. Whatever the lure was, I knew I had to remake this classic, but with compassion. I love the challenge of recreating a non-vegan dish and sharing with folks who’ve had the original. These Jackfruit Cuban Sandwiches provide more proof that we can make kind choices in the kitchen and never miss a beat when it comes to taste or texture.

You can order jackfruit online, but more and more grocery stores are beginning to carry it (check your local Trader Joe’s). The marinade for the jackfruit has hints of the flavors commonly found in ham, but you can also add slices of vegan ham (Lightlife, Tofurkey, and Yves are several brands to consider) in addition to the jackfruit. Cuban bread is similar to a baguette, but its crust is not as hard; use baguettes or crusty sandwich rolls if you must. This recipe calls for roasting the jackfruit in the oven, but you can use heavy-duty foil and cook on the grill for even more flavor. Crispy outside and succulent and tangy inside, I promise, you’ll be making this simple but delightful sandwich again and again.

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    1/4 cup orange juice

    2 tablespoons real maple syrup

    2 tablespoons lime juice

    1 tablespoon tamari, soy sauce, or coconut amino acids

    2 teaspoons onion power

    1 teaspoon garlic powder

    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    2 (20 ounce) cans jackfruit in brine, drained

    2 (8-inch) Cuban rolls (or substitute baguettes or crusty sandwich rolls)

    Yellow or Dijon mustard

    8 slices of vegan ham (optional)

    8 slices of your favorite vegan cheese (I used Field Roast Chao Cheddar)

    Sliced dill or spicy dill pickles

    Oil for pan

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    1

    Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together orange juice, syrup, lime juice, tamari, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and salt. Cut out hard centers of jackfruit and discard. Use your hands to crush jackfruit into the bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings.

    2

    Spread the jackfruit on the lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Jackfruit is ready when it’s browned and the moisture has been cooked.

    3

    To assemble the sandwiches, split bread in half then layer the sandwich with mustard, cheese, pickles, jackfruit, then cheese again. To cook, heat a large pan (cast iron works well) or grill pan over medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil. Place the sandwiches on the pan and top with another heavy pan or pot and a couple of heavy weights (cans of tomatoes work well). Press down firmly and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side until the sandwich has flattened and the bread is super-crispy. Alternatively, use a panini grill. Serve with a salad and chips.

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