Celebrating their storefront's one year anniversary, Vegan Cuban Cuisine's Liz Machado makes a vegan frita recipe so delicious, it's defining new rules for vegan Cuban food.
liz machado vegan
Vegan Cuban Cuisine’s Liz Machado and Steven Rodriguez. Photo: Startup Cuba

Vegan Cuban Cuisine’s founders Liz Machado and her husband Steven Rodriguez immigrated from Cuba when they were in middle school. Fast forward to today and the duo has cracked the secret to vegan Cuban food – like the vegan frita recipe featured in this story – that’s as good as the stuff abuela made. De verdad.

Can’t make it to their Miami location but looking for a vegan frita? You’re in luck. I was fortunate enough to be a guest in their Miami kitchen and Liz gave me her frita recipe for all of us to make. It’s an absolutely delicious, you-won’t-believe-it’s-plant-based version of the traditional meat sandwich.

It’s been three years now since Machado and her family have woken up every day with a focus on perfecting their recipes. It shows…

Vegan Cuban Cuisine’s menu was born out of necessity when the Cuban-American vegan couple was looking for vegan Cuban food but couldn’t find it. Steven’s mom made vegan Imperial Rice for a party that was so good, the proverbial lightbulb went off. They recognized the need and a larger opportunity to go after their American Dream, serving plant-based food to the growing number of plant forward Cuban-Americans in their community. And… Vegan Cuban Cuisine was born.

WATCH: Vegan Cuban Cuisine’s Liz Machado teaches her vegan frita recipe.

Today, at the one year anniversary of the permanent VCC storefront location, the family-owned business serves only “abuela approved” traditional Cuban dishes. It’s all been “veganized” by Liz’s mother-in-law. The menu includes staples like a vegan Cuban sandwich, “picadillo” bowl, pulled “pork” bowl and a no meat croqueta. People come from all over South Florida and beyond for their delicious food.

Related Post: Try Prú: Cuba’s Original (Super Refreshing) Detox Drink

Liz and Steven have come a long way from starting in their kitchen in 2018. Their current, and first official location opened in Kendall in September 2020. The charming ventanita, nestled in the corner of a shopping plaza, serves food for dine-in on outside tables or to-go. It’s been three years now since Machado and her family have woken up every day with a focus on perfecting their recipes. It shows; when sampling their menu items, you’ll notice an immediate difference between their vegan Cuban food and vegan Cuban food you’ve had before.

You’ll notice in the video above that Liz uses a secret sauce when she puts her fritas on the grill. It’s literally a secret…

Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that when I was there Liz made me a delicious vegan cortadito and pastelito that was, quite frankly, one of the top three I’ve ever put in my oversized, big-toothed mouth.

Ever.

Vegan or not.

WATCH here to see what we discovered in the Ecuadorian Chocó bioregion.

In the meantime, here’s Liz’s vegan frita recipe. It’s delicious and will leave you guilt free. For details, watch the video above. If you go to their store, ask for Liz Machado or Steven Rodriquez. Tell them we say hi. Then, try the pastelito.

liz machado vegan cuban cuisine vegan frita recipe

Vegan Cuban Cuisine’s Vegan Frita Recipe

The following are the ingredients and steps to prepare Vegan Cuban Cuisine’s fritas. You’ll notice in the video above that Liz uses a secret sauce when she puts her fritas on the grill. It’s literally a secret (I tried like six times to get her to tell me what it was but she wouldn’t ?) and so if you want to taste the true original vegan fritas, you’ll have to either guess the sauce or go visit Liz and Steven in person in Miami.

Make this recipe in the meantime. You won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients

Liz’s recipe in the video above uses 3 packages of Beyond Beef, for her commercial kitchen. We’ve reduced it for just one package for your home kitchen.

  • 1 Package of Beyond Beef
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons of Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon of Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoons of Chopped Onion
  • 1 Teaspoon of Fresh Ground Garlic
  • Vegan Cuban Cuisine’s Secret Sauce*
  • Shoestring Potatoes
  • Vegan Hamburger Buns
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onions
  • Ketchup

(* It’s really secret. Sorry, we don’t know what it is. If you visit Liz, maybe she’ll tell you? ?)

Preparation

  • Hand mix the Beyond Beef, cumin, paprika, onion and garlic in a large bowl.
  • Shape the mixture into patties about 4 to 4 1/2 inches wide.
  • Grill the patties on both sides for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes total.
  • Grill the additional 1 cup of chopped onions for about 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Toast your buns.
  • Serve fritas on bun with ketchup, chopped onions and shoestring potatoes.

(If you’re not making your own shoestring potatoes you can use these, or similar.)

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Ken Deckinger is the co-founder and CEO of Startup Cuba and the executive producer and host of its namesake docuseries. A native of South Florida, Ken has been an entrepreneur for his entire professional career. Previously he was co-founder and CEO of HurryDate, pioneering the global concept of speed dating to 45 cities throughout the US, UK and Canada. HurryDate eventually evolved into online dating and was acquired by Spark Networks, the parent company of ChristianMingle.com and JDate.com. Ken is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Florida, where he was honored with the University’s Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Under 40 award and sits on the Board for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He actively advises entrepreneurs and is a two-time protagonist of a Harvard Business School case study. Ken’s filmmaking and journalistic journey is inspired by a love of travel and authentic connections with other cultures. He believes that the more we know about each other, through stories, the closer we can become — thus the mission of Startup Cuba: to amplify the voices of the people sharing stories in the Latinx space. After living in New York City for 15 years, he encouraged his wife to move their family to Miami to get back to his South Florida roots. Needless to say, it was a short discussion and he and his family now call Boston, where his wife grew up, their home.

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