Add some Cuban flavor to your diet with these skinny recipes


Cuban sandwich

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Looking for a way to mix up your usual lunch and dinner options? Try spicing up your menu with these hearty and healthy recipes from Cuban restaurant Havana Central.



In the mood for grilled cheese or an oozy panini? Instead of a calorically dense sandwich, try this loaded Cubano sandwich made with spiced, tender pork loin, lean turkey, low-fat Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard on a toasted whole-grain baguette.
Tip: Pork loin is simply a leaner cut of meat than pork shoulder. You can control the portions by slicing the pork rather than shredded pork shoulder. The pork loin slices have a meatier consistency that's perfect for a hearty sandwich without over stuffing.

Serves 6. 


  • 1-3 pounds pork loin

  • 6 whole-grain baguettes

  • 1 cup of fresh chopped cilantro

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound smoked turkey slices

  • 6 slices of low-fat Swiss cheese 

  • Half sour pickles, sliced thin (2 slices per sandwich)

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 


Dry rub for pork loin: 1 teaspoon of each

  • Cumin

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Paprika

  • Garlic powder

  • Curry

  • Onion powder


Cilantro oil:

  • Blend cilantro leaves, olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt, to create a pesto.



  1. Prepare your pork loin by seasoning with dry rub and let it sit overnight.

  2. Pan sear the pork loin; turning to brown each side.

  3. Place in the oven at 325 degrees and cook covered for about 30 minutes. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.


To prep a Cuban sandwich:

  1. Brush the cilantro oil on each of the inside of your multigrain baguette; then drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the mustard on one side.

  2. Layer 2 slices of the pork loin, top with the slice of cheese then top with pickle slices.

  3. Using a panini press, brush the outsides of your baguette with the cilantro oil and press till golden and crisp.



For the meat lovers, paella is an excellent source of flavor and protein because it contains chicken, clams, mussels, shrimp, tilapia and chorizo. Simmered with sofrito over brown basmati rice, this little pot packs enough for you to pack for tomorrow’s lunch.

Tip: Brown rice offers more health benefits because it contains nutrients and vitamins that are lost in white rice. Brown rice also contains more fiber. Brown basmati rice is lighter in texture than brown rice and has more flavor.

Serves 2.


  • 1 cup brown basmati rice 

  • 2 ounces sofrito

  • 2 chicken boneless and skinless thighs, cut into bite size pieces  

  • ½ cup crushed tomato sauce

  • 4 clams

  • 4 mussels

  • 4 shrimp

  • 2 ounces chorizo

  • 1 tilapia filet, cut into bite-size pieces

  • 1½ cups water

  • ½ cup fish stock

  • 1 zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces



  1. Cook fish, chicken and chorizo in a nonstick pan for 5 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

  2. Add sauce and sofrito; then let simmer for 2 minutes.

  3. Add clams and mussels, and cover. Cook until they open.

  4. Pour in stock and water.

  5. Add rice and bring to a boil.

  6. When almost evaporated, lower heat and stir in zucchini pieces.

  7. Cover and let it sit until rice is fully cooked.



Made with ground turkey and grape seed oil and loaded with vegetables, this savory dish is both tasty and healthful.

Tip: Grape seed oil is known for its antioxidant element and contains less saturated fat than vegetable oil. It is also known to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.


  • 1 ounce grapeseed oil

  • 1 ounce chopped garlic  

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup chopped red bell peppers

  • 1 ounce granulated garlic powder

  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • ½ teaspoon cumin

  • ½ teaspoon oregano

  • 2 ounces apple cider vinegar

  • 1 ounces liquid amino acid 

  • ½ cup olives

  • ½ cup raisins

  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey




  1. Heat oil and add chopped garlic, onion and pepper; sauté for about 3 minutes.

  2. Add turkey meat, breaking up any large chunks and add seasonings.

  3. Cook until no longer pink; then add tomato paste.

  4. Add vinegar and amino stir and bring to a boil.

  5. Add olives and raisins and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

  6. Once most of the water has evaporated, season with salt and pepper to taste.