Ropa vieja is the national dish of Cuba, but is also enjoyed in Puerto Rico, Panama, Spain, and the Philippines. Many don’t know this, but ropa vieja originated in Spain. It literally translates to ‘old clothes’ and the story goes that a poor old man once shredded and cooked his own clothes because he could not afford food. He prayed over the bubbling concoction and a miracle turned the mixture into a tasty, rich meat stew.
While we don’t know how factual that story is, we do know that ropa vieja is over 500 years old and originated in the Iberian peninsula of Spain. The dish then traveled to the Americas with the Spanish people, where it became a staple dish across the Caribbean and Cuba.
The traditional recipe consists of shredded stewed beef with vegetables. I decided to try this traditional dish with a plant based meat alternative, in this case oyster mushrooms. The meat in this recipe is typically shredded or pulled, and you can achieve the same texture with an oyster mushroom.
To avoid squishy, soggy mushrooms, cook the mushrooms by themselves after they’ve been marinated for 15 minutes. While cooking, use a spatula to frequently press the mushrooms down on the pan. This helps the mushroom release excess water, resulting in a meatier mushroom.
I paired my ropa vieja with white rice, fried plantain, green beans, and sage honey glazed brussel sprouts and apples.
Thank you for reading my recipe, if you decide to try it out tag me on instagram @breakthrukitchen. Be sure to subscribe down below to get notified when I post more recipes like this!
Cuban Ropa Vieja Using Oyster Mushrooms
A traditional Cuban dish made plant-based using oyster mushrooms.
- 2 large oyster mushrooms
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 sazon packet
- 1 tsp adobo
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- ⅛ tsp allspice
- ½ lemon juice
- 1 sliced red bell pepper
- 1 sliced green bell pepper
- ½ diced white onion
- 2 minced cloves garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dry white cooking wine
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 2 sliced pimiento stuffed olives
- 2 bay leaves
- Clean mushrooms and cut into four pieces.
- Combine all ingredients in bowl and let marinate for 15 minutes.
- Cook JUST the mushrooms over medium heat in a large pot, frequently squishing to with a spatula to create a meatier texture.
- Once the mushroom is crispy on both sides, add the marinade to the pot.
- Cook until the mixture has reached a boil, then lower heat and cover with lid.
- Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, and serve with rice.