Vegan Cuban Cuisine creates its plant-based recipes by veganizing traditional Cuban recipes and making sure they are abuela approved. Owned by Steven Rodriguez and Lismeilyn “Liz” Machado, the 28-year-old Cuban immigrants came to Miami as pre-teens and met in middle school. Together, they have combined their professional experience and love for Cuban tradition to bring Vegan Cuban Cuisine to life. After both going vegan initially for health reasons, the couple is committed to never looking back.
Vegan Cuban Cuisine began slinging its plant-based croquetas and Cuban sandwiches in November 2018 at local spots like Coconut Grove Farmers Market, Aguacate Sanctuary of Love, Manna Life Food, Ali’s Sweet Treats and Suite Habana Cafe. Now the concept’s ventanita is coming to life after a successful run offering delivery and catering.
Miami is known for its authentic Cuban food offerings but was lacking a fully vegan counterpart. Vegan Cuban food is trending beyond South Florida. On the west coast, in Pasadena, California, fans love Equelecua Cafe, a vegan Cuban concept which opened in 2014 and recently closed in March until further notice due to Covid-19.
In Miami, popular homegrown favorites like Sergio’s now offer a fully plant-based Cuban frita and Vicky Bakery has vegan Cuban bread. With Vegan Cuban Cuisine, South Florida vegans can now flock to the ventanita for veganized Cuban classics with all the flavor minus any products derived from animals.
“It all started with our desire to have accessible and delicious Cuban food without compromising the lives of innocent animals and the well-being of our planet. Our first recipe was created for a non-vegan family gathering and we were surprized to see how everyone reacted. No one could believe our food was vegan,” says Rodriguez.
Staying true to its roots, Vegan Cuban Cuisine captures the flavor of authentic Cuban food while keeping it plant-based. The menu will include staples like plant-based ham ($2.00) and chickpea ($2.50) croquetas, pastries, papa rellenas and heartier entrees like a Cuban sandwich ($12), the picadillo bowl ($13), and imperial rice ($13). Online ordering will still be available on vegancubancuisine.com, Ubereats and Grubhub. The ventanita will be open for take-out orders only.
“We have a lot of love and passion for our Cuban food. Most of our recipes are geared towards attracting ‘meat eaters’ towards a healthier alternative lifestyle with foods that are familiar to them. It is our mission to show the world how veganism isn’t a restricted lifestyle, just a healthier and sustainable alternative,” says Machado who was the first to research veganism after the couple had their son, Liam, now four. They watched documentaries like What the Health? and Forks Over Knives.
“Everything pointed for us to go in this direction, so we made the decision that same day. Our health, combined with our love for animals we knew it was the way to go,” says Machado.
Three years after first committing to a fully plant-based lifestyle and less than a month after welcoming their second baby, Vegan Cuban Cuisine is set to open it’s ventanita on September 15 for pick-up and delivery and in October they will open for walk-up orders.
This power couple is making their dream come true while adding the missing vegan puzzle piece to Miami’s food scene.
Vegan Cuban Cuisine. 9640 SW 72nd Street, Miami, FL 33173; (786) 391-1542; vegancubancuisine.com. Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.