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This plant-based torta cubana is packed with three kinds of “meat”, melty cheese, refried beans, and tons of different vegetables. Serve it all on a telera or bolillo for an absolute beast of a sandwich!
Table of Contents
🥖 What is a torta?
A torta is a Mexican sandwich that’s typically sold at torterías and food stalls around the country. There are seemingly endless variations, each unique to the region they’re made in.
Pambazos from El Bajío.
Tortas ahogadas from Jalisco.
Cemitas from Puebla.
A typical Mexican torta starts with a soft roll (like a telera or bolillo) and is filled with different types of meats, salsas, cheese, and vegetables.
🥪 What is a torta cubana?
Most tortas cubanas are made using a combination of the following:
Proteins — Sausages, hot dogs, carnitas, ham, fried eggs, chorizo, milanesa, etc.
Veggies — Avocados, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, onions, etc.
Queso — Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Manchego, etc.
Salsa — Chipotle mayo is usually the first choice, but you may see salsa roja or salsa verde as well.
Like any sandwich, the torta cubana can be made in a variety of ways. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to make it!
The most common story of how this sandwich began is with a cantina cook in the 1950s.
This cook apparently set up shop in Mexico City on the street of “Calle Republica de Cuba,” then got to work making sandwiches with every ingredient available to him.
People loved them and kept coming back for more. Eventually, his recipe was dubbed “torta cubana” after the street his shop was located on.
Now, tortas cubanas can be found all across the country with many unique twists on the original.
Note: Despite being called a torta cubana, this recipe has no relation to a Cuban sandwich.
🌱 Are tortas cubanas vegan?
These sandwiches are a bit of a meat-lovers paradise if you catch our drift. To make a plant-based version, this is what we do:
Meat — Replace chicken milanesa with oyster mushrooms, chorizo with soyrizo, and deli meats with plant-based deli meats.
Cheese — Swap out dairy-based cheese with a dairy-free variety.
🛒 Ingredients & substitutions
Bread — The best choices for tortas cubanas are either telera, bolillo, or Kaiser rolls. You can also use a gluten-free variety, but make sure it’s sturdy!
Protein — Although you can go with basically any meat alternative, we used vegan chorizo, meat-free ham slices, and mushroom milanesa for this torta cubana recipe.
Vegetables — We like to add pickled jalapeños, white onion, tomatoes, and avocado. But, you can try other vegetables like pickled onions or lettuce.
Sauce — We made an egg-free chipotle mayo and added refried beans to our torta. Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, folate, manganese, and copper! If you don’t have mayo, another option is crema or sour cream.
For complete ingredient measurements and instructions, see our recipe card.
Step 1 — Combine the batter ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another bowl. Transfer your oyster mushrooms to the bowl of batter, then set them aside while you prep the other fillings.
Step 2 — Heat a skillet over medium, then cook the vegan chorizo. After a few minutes, add in the vegan cheese shreds. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted, then transfer your mixture into a bowl. In the same pan, cook 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 — Heat 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 your battered mushrooms to the bowl of dry ingredients to coat them in breading.
Step 5 — Fry the mushrooms in small batches for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer them to a cooling rack over top of a baking sheet or a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of excess oil.
Step 6 — Spread the mayo mixture on one side of the torta 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!
If you have questions about this torta cubana recipe, check out our FAQs or leave a comment down below!
🥗 What to serve with tortas
Nothing goes better with sandwiches than soup! Pair your torta cubana with any of these bowls:
Sopa de fideo — Warming Mexican noodle soup.
Sopa de habas — Fava bean and vegetable soup.
Sopa de conchas — Shell pasta soup with hearty vegetables.
Sopa de lentejas — Lentil and vegetable soup.
🌡️ Storage & reheating
If you keep the individual ingredients stored separately, you can enjoy a torta cubana in no time!
Fridge — Mushroom milanesa will last in your fridge for about 3-4 days. Just keep it in an airtight container so the flavors stay fresh.
Reheat — When you’re ready to make another torta cubana, throw the “meats” in a pan over medium-low until they’re heated through.
🧑🍳 Top tips
Use less “meat” — To decrease prep time and the overall cost of this recipe, pick 1 or 2 of your favorite meat alternatives.
Toast your torta — If you prefer a warm and crispy bun, toast it up on a cast-iron skillet before layering in the fillings.
Don’t skip the milanesa — This recipe is best with a crunch factor from the oyster mushroom milanesa.
Use a thermometer — To ensure the oil stays at a consistent temperature throughout cooking, use a deep-fry thermometer.
Prep in advance — To save time, prep the refried beans, pickled jalapeños, chorizo, and mayo mixture made ahead of time.
Yes! The torta cubana was invented in Mexico and has nothing to do with Cuban sandwiches.
No, this recipe contains bread and all-purpose flour. If you want to make a gluten-free version, swap out the bread and flour for your favorite gluten-free varieties.
- 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)
- ½ cup refried beans ($0.13)
- 8 slices vegan ham ($1.91)
- ½ cup vegan chorizo ($0.66)
- 3 ½ ounces shredded vegan cheese ($1.09)
- ¼ white onion, thinly sliced ($0.06)
- 2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced ($0.32)
- 1 avocado, sliced ($0.18)
- ½ cup pickled jalapeños ($0.11)
- 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 dry ingredients.
- Cut the ends off of the oyster mushrooms and transfer them to the bowl of batter. Stir gently to coat and set aside while you prep the other fillings.
Sauce & toppings
- Heat a skillet over medium. Cook the vegan chorizo for 2-3 minutes, then add the cheese shreds. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted.
- Transfer the 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 them 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. Close the sandwich carefully and serve immediately. Happy eating!
- Use less “meat” — To decrease prep time and the overall cost of this recipe, pick 1 or 2 of your favorite meat alternatives.
- Don’t skip the milanesa — This recipe is best with a crunch factor from the oyster mushroom milanesa.
- Use a thermometer — To ensure the oil stays at a consistent temperature throughout cooking, use a deep-fry thermometer.
- Prep in advance — To save time, prep the refried beans, pickled jalapeños, chorizo, and mayo mixture made ahead of time.
- 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
If you enjoyed this plant-based torta cubana, be sure to check out these other popular Mexican dishes:
- Pambazos: Chile-brushed bread rolls stuffed with potatoes and chorizo.
- Quesabirria tacos: Saucy tacos stuffed with oyster mushrooms and dairy-free cheese.
- Tacos al pastor: Spit-roast tacos made plant-based and served with pineapples, onions, and cilantro.
- Enchiladas potosinas: Chile-infused enchiladas stuffed with salsa and dairy-free queso.
Note: We’ve updated this post to include new information and helpful tips about the recipe.