Help me decide on a Cuban-style vegetable.

My dad, as always, is hosting Father’s Day and will be making Cuban sandwiches. (Yum!) If there’s one thing I can count on about Dad, it’s that there will be nothing (besides pickles) that has ever been anywhere near a vegetable on the menu, so I’d like to make something up.

My first thought was a spinach salad with black beans and a sour orange vinaigrette. I’m wondering if there’s something marginally more authentic that I could whip up pretty easily.

The Cuban place I often go to has an amazing fried yucca dish. It’s like french fries, but a little chewier and sweeter. Served w/ minced garlic for dipping. They’re really really good.

They also have fried plantains which are pretty decent if done right.

I’m not the world’s greatest expert on Cuban cuisine, but how about yuca or plantains ? My experiences with Cuban salads have been incredibly simple: lettuce, tomato and avocado. Definitely never seen anything involving spinach, though I think cabbage makes an appearance. If that doesn’t sound exciting enough, this recipe looked rather interesting, though I don’t think it’s remotely traditional.

There are several Cuban soups with veggies in them, including your classic garbanzo bean soup, and caldo gallego, which is made with white beans and collard greens. Both are made with meat as well, however. If you want a vegetarian dish, try black bean soup. Excellent recipes for all of these can be found in Clarita’s Cocina.

It’s not a vegetable, but have you thought about making tostones? Basically, it’s twice fried plantian pieces. They are a perfect side for a cubano sandwhich–full of salty, sweet, deep-fried goodness…

A popular spinach-like vegetable in the caribbean is Callaloo. It’s often cooked in different preperations and spinach is a perfectly acceptable substitute for the traditional Amaranth leaves. I don’t think it’s very popular in Cuba because I normally associate it with Jamaica, but it is a caribbean dish.

Fourthing fried plantains. Or grill them while basting with a rum/pineapple juice marinade.

Although it’s not the perfect accompaniement to Cuban Sandwiches, the traditional Callaloo preperation of spinach, slightly sweet coconut milk, okra, and lusious crab meat all slow stewed together might get your Dad to eat his veggies *and * simultaneously change his mind about okra and spinach. It’s almost a standalone dish, plus it’s easy to make.

(With the callaloo you could probably even get away with canned crab (Hey, not everybody has access to, or can afford, fresh crab!)).

Actually, Cuban vegetables can be more fun than you’d think.

Yuca, not yucca. One’s a starchy tuber, the other’s a family of agave plants.

And yuca is awesome fried like that.

I’d recommend the yuca. I also fourth/fifth the tostones, and they’re really easy to make.

:smack: :smack: :smack: :smack:
Soup and sandwich!

Callaloo soup and your Dad’s Cuban Sandwiches… If I owned a Jamaican or a Cuban Restaurant I would put it on the menu as a lunch special.