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Cuban Jackfruit Sandwich

Linda Soper-Kolton
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 15
  • Cooking: 45
  • Ready: 60

A tasty and compassionate remake of the Cuban sandwich.


For the filling

  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced, about 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 (20-ounces) cans jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed

To assemble

  • 4 Cuban rolls or substitute a large baguette or crusty sandwich rolls
  •  yellow mustard
  •  8 slices of vegan ham (optional)
  •  8 slices of your favourite vegan cheese
  •  sliced dill pickles
  •  vegan butter for the pan


Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. To make the marinade, in a large bowl, whisk together orange juice, lime juice, mayonnaise, syrup, tamari, garlic, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Use a food processor to chop the jackfruit. Alternatively, chop the jackfruit with a sharp knife. Depending on the brand of jackfruit, you may have to cut out hard centres of the jackfruit pieces and discard before chopping. Add chopped jackfruit to the bowl with the marinade. Mix well. Spread the jackfruit on the lined baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes until edges start to brown slightly.

To assemble the sandwiches, split bread and spread mustard liberally on both sides. Layer the sandwich with cheese, ham, pickles, jackfruit, then cheese again.

To cook, melt about 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large pan (cast iron works well) over medium heat. Depending on the size of your pan, place 1 or 2 sandwiches in the pan and top with another heavy pan or pot then put something heavy in the top pan or pot to help press the sandwiches down as they cook: canned beans or tomatoes work well. Sandwiches should be pressed to about ½ their original thickness.

Cook for about 5 minutes per side, pressing down occasionally until the sandwiches have flattened, the bread is toasted, and the cheese has melted. Alternatively, use an electric panini grill. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Additonal notes

Recipe courtesy of Linda Soper-Kolton from the cookbook Compassionate Cuisine: 125 Plant-Based Recipes from our Vegan Kitchen (Skyhorse Publishing, 2019). Photo credit: Alexandra Shytsman.

Compassionate Cuisine is produced by Catskill Animal Sanctuary based in Saugerties, New York. The Catskill Sanctuary also run a mentor programme New Leaf. The New Leaf Vegan Mentor Program combines the proven effectiveness of one-on-one mentor relationships, the power of superior online matching technology and knowledge gained from a successful vegan-mentoring pilot program to help people commit to vegan living.

“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. It’s made with crispy bread, pressed on a grill top, and held fast with oozing cheese and tangy pickles. We just had to remake this classic with compassion and jackfruit fit the bill to take the place of the pork. A zesty marinade perks up this versatile, canned fruit that you can find online or in well-stocked grocery stores. We like roasting the jackfruit–we think it deepens the flavours but fry it up in a pan if you prefer. Vegan sliced cheese is essential to the gooey, scrumptious taste and texture of this sandwich–thank goodness there are so many good brands to choose from today! Complete this compassionate remake with a good schmear of spicy mustard and a crisp dill pickle.”

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