This torta Cubana is packed with three kinds of "meat", melty cheese, refried beans, and tons of different vegetables. Serve it all on a tender telera or bolillo bun for an absolute beast of a sandwich!
Did we mention it's 100% plant-based?
We're always excited when we can make meat-based recipes into 100% plant-based versions. This Mexican torta was a fun and delicious way to do just that!
Now everyone can get in on this crazy sandwich.
What is a torta?
A torta is a Mexican sandwich that can be found all across the country at torterías or food stalls. There are different types depending on the region you're in, and the endless variations of tortas Mexicanas might make your mind melt (or your belly).
A typical torta starts with a soft roll (like telera or bolillo) and is filled with different types of meats. It's finished off with toppings like crema, salsa, or cheese.
You can find them filled with just about anything — there are even tortas filled with tamales and chilaquiles!
What is a torta Cubana?
A torta Cubana can be made in all kinds of ways depending on the chef making it (seriously, this sandwich became famous for the crazy amounts of fillings).
Typically, it includes some combination of sausages, hot dogs, carnitas, ham, fried eggs, chorizo, milanesa, avocado, cheese, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, or onions all piled into one sandwich!
Yes, it is MASSIVE!
In this plant-based version, we opted for an oyster mushroom milanesa, ham slices, and vegan chorizo.
This particular torta Mexicana often gets confused with another sandwich because of its name. Despite being called a torta Cubana, it has no relation to a Cuban sandwich.
There are many different tales on how this sandwich came to be, but the most common story begins with a cantina cook in the 1950s.
The cook set up shop in Mexico City on the street of "Calle Republica de Cuba." Apparently, he started making these sandwiches with every ingredient available to him, and guess what?
People loved them and kept coming back for more! Eventually, the cook's recipe was dubbed "torta Cubana" after the street where his shop was located.
This Mexican sandwich really caught on, and now it can be found all across the country with many unique toppings and twists on the original.
Is it vegan?
If you couldn't tell by the lengthy list of non-vegan ingredients, we will be the first to tell you that this Mexican sandwich is not vegan.
That's the whole reason we created this recipe! Follow the steps below to make your own plant-based torta Cubana.
If you're making a Mexican torta, you'd better grab some cervezas too because the two go hand-in-hand perfectly.
If you still have room for dessert after devouring this tasty Mexican torta, here are a few options that might be hard to pass up:
Any way you serve this Mexican sandwich, you'll be doing your part in keeping animals safe. That's pretty amazing if you ask us!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: arguably the most important component of a sandwich — the bread! The bun forms a chewy and pliable crust with a soft wheat flavor. And don't forget to toast it up for a crispy and rustic flavor. The best choices for your torta are either telera, bolillo, or Kaiser to contain this monstrosity of a sandwich.
Health: unfortunately, these options are not typically gluten-free. If you're one of the few that aren't able to digest wheat gluten, make sure you opt for your favorite gluten-free bun.
Taste: making up the bulk of this sandwich are layers of different vegan "meats" that offer unique textures and tastes. Although you can choose pretty much any kind, spicy vegan chorizo adds loads of flavor, vegan ham adds bulk, and (mushroom) milanesa creates an unbeatable crunch factor.
Health: with so many different components, the main benefit to all this "meat" is the high protein content it brings to the sandwich. A word of caution though — be careful with how many meat alternatives you consume on a daily basis. While this sandwich is delicious, make sure to enjoy it in moderation.
Taste: to add even more flavors, this torta Cubana recipe includes pickled jalapeños (for spice), white onion (for crunch), tomatoes (for juiciness), and avocado (for creaminess). These toppings give the sandwich a fresh element and balance out the other fillings.
Health: there are tons of benefits to eating produce, but you might be overlooking white onions! These sharp, crunchy root vegetables contain high amounts of fiber and prebiotics, which feed your gut bacteria to create a healthier digestive system!
Taste: tortas Mexicanas aren't complete without the perfect combination of sauces. This sandwich contains a thick layer of refried beans and vegan chipotle mayo. Your sandwich will be creamy, sweet, and spicy on both sides to make your tastebuds happy with every bite.
Health: if they aren't already, beans should be a staple in your diet because of their macro and micronutrient profile. Not only is there 15g of protein and fiber in each cup, but beans are also a great source of folate, manganese, and copper!
If you have questions about this torta Cubana recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: combine the batter ingredients in one bowl and the coating ingredients in another bowl. Transfer your oyster mushrooms to the bowl of batter to soak, then set them aside while you prep the rest of the fillings.
Step 2: preheat a skillet over medium heat, then add in the vegan chorizo. After a few minutes, add in some vegan cheese shreds. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted, then transfer this mixture into a bowl. In the same pan, fry the vegan ham slices until hot on each side.
Step 3: combine the vegan mayo and adobo in a small mixing bowl, heat the refried beans, and slice the vegetables and bread rolls.
Step 4: preheat enough oil to fry the oyster mushrooms in a large pot or deep fryer up to 350-375 degrees F (use a thermometer for the most accurate temperatures). Transfer the battered mushrooms to your bowl of dry ingredients and coat them thoroughly in breading.
Step 5: fry the mushrooms in small batches for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer the mushrooms to a cooling rack over top of a baking sheet or a paper towel-lined plate.
Step 6: spread the mayo mixture on one side of a bun and refried beans on the other. Add a layer of vegan chorizo and cheese, ham slices, oyster mushrooms, sliced onion, avocado, tomatoes, and pickled jalapeños. Happy eating!
Tortas Mexicanas can be whipped up at any time, but to keep your ingredients fresh, follow the tips below.
Although best eaten immediately, the mushroom milanesa will last in your fridge for about 3-4 days. Just keep it in an airtight container so the flavors stay fresh.
Any wheat-based bread will last at room temperature for 3-4 days. Try not to store the entire sandwich in the fridge as it'll turn into a soggy mess.
When you're ready to make another torta Cubana, throw the "meats" in a pan over medium-low until they're warmed. Then, cut more fresh vegetables, heat the beans and cheese in a pan, and make your sandwich again!
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this Mexican sandwich recipe:
- Use less meat. To decrease prep time and the overall cost of this recipe, pick 1 or 2 of your favorite vegan meat alternatives.
- Toast the bun. If you prefer a warm and crispy bun, toast it up on the cast-iron skillet before layering in the fillings.
- Don't skip the milanesa. This recipe needs the crunch factor from the oyster mushroom milanesa. Don't skip this one!
- Use a deep fry thermometer. To ensure the perfect deep fry, use a thermometer or invest in a small countertop deep fryer.
- Prep in advance. If you want to save time on your sandwich making day, get the refried beans, pickled jalapeños, chorizo, and mayo mixture made ahead of time.
🍴 Tasting notes
This torta Cubana recipe is one of the craziest sandwiches we've made. We have a feeling you'll be thinking the same thing after you make your own. It's:
If you try this Mexican sandwich, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Deep-fryer or large pot
- Cast-iron skillet
- Deep-fry thermometer
- 9 ounces oyster mushrooms ($1.21)
- 1-2 cups neutral oil for frying ($0.32)
- ½ cup soy milk ($0.21)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour ($0.04)
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast ($0.08)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder ($0.01)
- ½ teaspoon salt ($0.01)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour ($0.04)
- ¾ cup bread crumbs ($0.04)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder ($0.01)
- ½ teaspoon salt ($0.01)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper ($0.01)
- ¼ cup vegan mayo ($0.76)
- 1 tablespoon adobo ($0.01)
- 4 telera or bolillo buns ($0.70)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the batter ingredients and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the coating ingredients.
- Cut the ends off of the oyster mushrooms and transfer them to the bowl of wet batter. Stir gently to coat them, and set aside while you prep the rest of the fillings.
Sauce & toppings
- Preheat a skillet over medium heat, then add in the vegan chorizo. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in the vegan cheese shreds. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted. Transfer mixture to a separate bowl. In the same pan, fry the vegan ham slices until hot on each side.
- Add vegan mayo and adobo to a small mixing bowl and stir until combined. Heat the refried beans. Slice the rest of the vegetables and bread rolls.
- Preheat 1-2 cups of neutral oil in a large pot or deep fryer up to 350-375°F (use a deep-fry thermometer for the most accurate temperatures).
- 1-2 at a time, transfer the mushrooms to the bowl of dry ingredients and use a spoon to coat them thoroughly in breading.
- Fry the mushrooms in small batches for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer the mushrooms to a cooling rack over top of a baking sheet or a paper towel-lined plate.
- Lightly toast the buns on the same skillet you used to cook the ham. Spread mayo on one half of a bun and refried beans on the other. Add a layer of vegan chorizo and cheese, ham slices, mushrooms, sliced onion, tomatoes, avocado, and pickled jalapeños. Happy eating!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more crazy tasty dishes, check out our:
- Pambazos for a delicous chile-dipped torta Mexicana filled with a base of chorizo and potatoes.
- Quesabirria tacos to try these vegan cheese and mushroom-stuffed tortillas dipped in a rich, savoury broth.
- Tacos al pastor for vegan tacos flavored with ingredients like spicy guajillo chiles, achiote paste, and fresh pineapple chunks.
- Enchiladas potosinas for chile-infused dough wrapped around creamy queso and spicy salsa.
The torta Cubana was originally made with everything the chef had available. You can find variations including some or all of the following: chorizo, milanesa, hot dogs, carnitas, carne asada, and ham.
Yes! As we talk about in our history section, the torta Cubana was invented in Mexico and has nothing to do with the famous Cuban sandwich.
No, the bread and all-purpose flour used in this recipe make it not suitable for a gluten-free diet. If you want to make it without gluten, swap out the bread and flour for your favorite gluten-free varieties.