5 Recipes to Make While Dreaming of Cuba

April 20, 2015

Today: In honor of the lifted travel bans from the U.S. to Cuba, we're dreaming up a Havana-inspired menu.

When the U.S. restored its relations with Cuba late last year, lifting some of the travel bans that prohibited Americans from flying into Havana, we started dreaming of paladares serving boliche, tamales with sofrito, and caldo gallego.

But it might be more than a year before we can enjoy the Caribbean breeze while sipping a mojito or Cuba libre in Santiago de Cuba. While Americans can now travel without a license from the Treasury Department, it's still tricky to book flights. If you're still waiting to book your Havana Airbnb, bide your time by cooking up some of these Cuba-inspired recipes:

Shop the Story

Maricel E. Presilla's Cuban Avocado, Watercress, and Pineapple Salad by Genius Recipes

Pineapple Salad


El Presidente by Erika Kotite

El Presidente


Cubano Mixto by Amanda Hesser

Cubano Mixto


Cuban-Style Grilled Chicken in Adobo by thirschfeld

Cuban Chicken 


Persimmon Mojitos by kangarhubarb

Persimmon Mojitos

What are some of your favorite Cuban dishes? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Barbara
  • Camilla
  • dymnyno
I eat everything.


Barbara April 21, 2015
Tourist money will not go to those who serve you; it will go to the Castro regime. That's how it works in a Communist regime, and you will be funding their empty coffers. They will still own and control all of it, and you will be resented for enjoying the food the people have no access to. We need to liberate Cuba, not enrich their dictator.
dymnyno April 21, 2015
Americans traveling to Cuba prepay for hotels and many other venues. Cuban money is of two kinds, Cuban pesos and Convertible pesos which are worth much more than the Cubans and are the money that tourists use. One of the ways we spent our money (Convertible) was tipping, which our guide and our driver got to keep. That is how they supported themselves and their families. The black market in Cuba is all about finding a way to acquire Convertible pesos including black market vegetables, cigars and lots of other things. (American dollars are not accepted).
Camilla April 21, 2015
Hello to you
Camilla April 21, 2015
dymnyno April 20, 2015
Freddy and I traveled to Cuba a few years ago. The country is achingly poor; it looks like Palm Beach with 60 years of deferred maintenance. It's obvious that it was a wealthy country and Havana was street after street of incredible mansions and gardens, now divided into dwellings for multitudes of inhabitants. The ingredients for recipes are all rationed, so most Cubans do not have access to many ingredients that pre-Castro cooks and chefs enjoyed. And, even though they are in the middle of an ocean, they are restricted from boating out to fish.
There are some very nice hotels with restaurants, but being in them takes you out of the life of Cubans. The hotels and tourist venues (like the Buena Social Club) post guards at the door to prevent the local residents access (as if they could on their paltry monthly salaries). It is a beautiful country and we did enjoy our visit.