A must-try appetizer that will wow the crowd!
While many might not think of gooey cheese and stacks of meat as a great way to keep up with your healthy lifestyle, these mini open-faced Cuban sandwiches beg to differ. With meats that are high in protein and relatively low in fat (pork tenderloin and smoked ham), and some simple condiments that pack a ton of flavor, even if you’re not familiar with the Cuban culture, you will find these sandwiches bring a new set of flavors to your plate!
See How to Make Them!
Let’s dive into a little bit about the history behind this Cuban sandwich recipe, as well as some other details on how to serve this tasty dish and more.
A Little History Behind Cuban Cuisine
Many people associate Cuban cuisine to be full of flavors, spice, and a great way to add some texture and fun to a dreary plate, but its roots are actually much more docile. Cuba’s culinary history is actually full of a lot of hardship and struggle, leading Cubans to get really creative with very few resources in order to feed their families.
Many Cubans today have a diet that revolves around beans, rice, plantains, yucca, pork, chicken, and beef. Finding things that are more filling using meats and starches help them to stretch each of their meals further.
This is a great example that food doesn’t have to be fancy in order to be nutritious and full of flavor. Simple is often completely underrated in today’s diet culture.
Benefits of Low-Sugar Main Dishes
There are a ton of benefits when it comes to finding dishes that are low in sugar, especially when it comes to your main dish recipes. Not only can you see results in weight loss goals, but you can also work towards reducing your risk of diabetes and other health complications that come from a diet high in excess sugars.
A few other benefits you can watch for include:
- Improved mood
- Lowered your risk of depression
- Reduced overall inflammation
- Improved dental health
- Help with keeping headaches and fatigue at bay as you have less risk of sugar highs and crashes
Ingredients Needed for this Cuban Recipe
Now that we know some of the benefits of recipes that are low in sugar yet high in protein, let’s break down the delicious dish that we are focusing on!
Keeping with the tradition of Cuban foods needing very few ingredients to pack a ton of flavor, this dish is absolutely no exception. Most of the condiments you probably already have in your pantry.
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Black Pepper
- Chicken Broth
- Dill Pickles
- Yellow Mustard
- Provolone Cheese Slices
- French Baguette (look for some substitutions at the end of the article)
- Pork Tenderloin
- Smoked Ham
That’s it! That’s all you need to put these delicious sandwiches together!
How to Make Open-Faced Cuban Sandwiches
With all of your ingredients laid out and ready to go, it’s time to make your Open-Faced Cuban Sandwiches. This recipe will give you 18 flavor-filled sandwiches. It’s a great option for your next party or as a week of healthy main dishes for your lunch.
The first thing you will be doing is preparing your pork tenderloin. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 375°. While that’s warming up, get out a skilled and put a little bit of olive oil in it. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on your tenderloin, and sear it on all sides in the skillet. Once it is done searing, you need to set it on a large piece of foil and then set that down into a deep baking dish.
Pour the chicken broth over the top of your tenderloin and wrap it up tightly. Set it into the baking dish and put it into your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or so. After it is cooked, set it to the side for about 10 minutes to rest and soak up all those delicious juices! Once it has rested, slice up your tenderloin into thin slices; you will want to get at least 18.
Next, you are going to take your smoked ham and slice it up into small pieces. Once you have completed that step, throw the pieces into a medium bowl. Dice up your dill pickles and throw the pieces in with the ham. Set it to the side for a moment.
In a smaller mixing bowl, you are going to take your mayo and yellow mustard. After it is thoroughly mixed together, throw it into the larger bowl that has your ham and pickles in it.
Now for the fun part! Take your baguette and cut it into at least 18 slices. Lay each slice down on a flat baking sheet. Top each slice of the bread with a piece of your pork tenderloin, a scoop of your ham mixture, and then the top of the sandwich will be a slice of Provolone cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes in your 375° oven or until the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown.
These are best served hot, but can be kept for leftovers if you get that lucky! These delicious Cuban sandwiches will be a hit no matter where or how you serve them!
Best Sides to Go With Your Cuban Sandwiches
Your sandwich is definitely delicious, but what should you serve with it? Don’t worry, we have you covered there too! With this recipe’s high-protein and low-sugar aspects, you don’t want to throw away all of those benefits by pairing it with an unhealthy side. The good thing is, we have several options that will make a great side to your open face sandwich!
It’s always good to think outside of the box instead of reaching for that bag of chips! A few of our favorite sides to go with these open-faced Cuban sandwiches are these delicious french fries, simple-yet-filling smashed sweet potatoes, a fresh spring salad in an avocado, or a sweet potato and apple coleslaw that adds a ton of flavor without a lot of extra fat or calories. You could also whip up some pickle chips for a tangy crunch!
Other Favorite Low-Carb Sandwich Options
Sandwiches are a great staple to a healthy lifestyle and are typically a great fit for lunch when you want something that is filling but not necessarily very heavy. This rings true no matter what time of year it is!
Here are a few of our other top low-carb sandwich options we think you should try!
- No-Bread Italian Sandwiches
- Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich
- BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich
- Pesto Chicken Sandwich
- Italian Caprese Sandwich
- Philly Cheese Chicken Sandwich
If sandwiches aren’t your food love language, you can also try some of these high-protein, low-carb foods to help you reach your health and wellness goals! That’s the beautiful thing about healthy eating, it doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all regiment; you just have to find something that works for you!
FAQ’s About Our Open-Faced Cuban Sandwiches
We know that you are chomping at the bit to get to making these open-faced Cuban sandwiches (or maybe one of the other great recipes we shared), but maybe you have just a few questions to ask before getting started.
How Long are these Open-Faced Cuban Sandwiches Good for?
Once you serve your sandwiches, you will need to store them away within 2 hours of being at room temperature. This keeps the perishable ingredients from going sour and helps to keep all of the flavors fresh and tasty for when you decide to warm them up. Speaking of, once they have been stored in an airtight container in the fridge, they will remain good to eat for 3 to 4 days.
What Are the Best Substitutions In an Emergency?
What happens if the store is out of some of the called-for ingredients, but you still want to make a version of these delicious sandwiches? There are a few different variations you can try, depending on what you have available to you.
The French baguette can be subbed for rye bread or even Cuban bread. You could try Swiss cheese or Gruyere if unable to find Provolone in your area. If you don’t have pork tenderloin, you could also use leftover roast pork to get a lot of the same benefits.
Some variations of these sandwiches also include deli roast beef, and more slices of cheese, and might even use Hawaiian rolls or other options, but you just have to keep in mind the fat and sugars you might also be adding in without realizing it. Most of the other items should be pretty easy to find, no matter what your location on the map might be.
What Are Some Other Popular Cuban Dishes?
There are a variety of amazing Cuban dishes, and once you try these sandwiches, you might decide that you want to try and incorporate more of them into your routine. One of our favorite options is this take on Cuban Rice. Cuban dishes also get a lot of inspiration from other cultures, including the Caribbean, which brings us to these Jerked Chicken and Plantain Skewers.
Mini Open-Faced Cuban Sandwiches
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 pound smoked ham deli, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup dill pickles chopped small
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 9 Provolone cheese slices deli, sliced thin, cut in half
- 1 French baguette sliced into 18 slices
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
- Season pork tenderloin with salt & pepper. Sear in preheated skillet on all sides. Remove from skillet and place on a large piece of foil, then place the foil inside a shallow baking dish.
- Pour chicken broth over tenderloin, wrap tightly in foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes. Leave oven on.
- Slice tenderloin into thin slices (at least 18) and set aside.
- Chop deli ham slices into small pieces and place in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add chopped pickles and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise and mustard until well blended. Pour into ham and pickle mixture and stir to combine.
- Place each slice of baguette on a large sheet pan. Top each slice of bread with a slice of pork tenderloin. Top with ham mixture, and then top with halved provolone.
- Bake about 10 minutes in 375-degree oven, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot.
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Other Fun Culture-Filled Recipes to Try
There are many ways to enjoy and learn about different cultures, and food is one of the most fun ways to experience first-hand how the different flavors bring out each one. We encourage you to try Eating Around the World, even if your current budget doesn’t allow you to travel outside of your own kitchen.