Arroz a la Cubana Recipe from Uruguay with Bananas

Arroz a la Cubana - Cuban rice

Arroz a la Cubana Recipe from Uruguay with Bananas
Region / culture: Uruguay | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Arroz a la Cubana - Cuban rice
Arroz a la Cubana - Cuban rice

Arroz a la Cubana, or Cuban Rice, is a delightful and versatile dish that has found its way into the hearts and kitchens of many around the world. This dish is a beautiful amalgamation of simple ingredients that come together to create a comforting meal, perfect for any time of the day. It typically consists of rice, fried eggs, a tomato-based sauce, and fried bananas, making it a unique blend of sweet and savory flavors. This recipe also includes minced meat, adding a hearty element to the dish. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a cooking novice, Arroz a la Cubana is a straightforward recipe that promises delicious results.


The origins of Arroz a la Cubana are somewhat debated, with some claiming it originated in Cuba, while others believe it has Spanish roots due to its popularity in Spain. Despite its name, the dish is not traditionally Cuban but has been embraced by many Latin American countries, each adding their own twist to the recipe. It is believed to have been introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period, where it has also become a beloved dish. Over time, Arroz a la Cubana has evolved, with various adaptations making it a versatile recipe that can be tailored to individual tastes.


How to prepare

  1. Boil the rice.
  2. Season and fry the meat, bananas, and eggs separately. Prepare the sauce by adding a small amount of oil to a saucepan, then add the chopped tomatoes and 1 tsp of sugar. Cook until the tomatoes are cooked through.
  3. Season everything with salt except for the bananas.
  4. Serve the rice on a plate and allow each person to serve themselves according to their preferences, along with the other components.


  • There are numerous variations of Arroz a la Cubana, including:
  • Using chorizo or ham instead of minced meat for a different flavor profile.
  • Adding peas or carrots to the tomato sauce for extra nutrition and color.
  • Serving with avocado slices for a creamy texture and a boost of healthy fats.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results when making Arroz a la Cubana, consider the following tips:

- Use day-old rice for a firmer texture that holds up well when mixed with the other components.

- When frying the bananas, choose ones that are ripe but still firm to prevent them from becoming mushy.

- For a richer tomato sauce, consider adding a splash of red wine or a pinch of smoked paprika for depth of flavor.

- If you prefer a vegetarian version, substitute the minced meat with a plant-based alternative or simply omit it.

Serving Suggestions

Arroz a la Cubana is best served hot, with each component arranged separately on the plate to allow diners to customize their bites. It pairs well with a simple green salad or steamed vegetables to add freshness and balance to the meal.

Cooking Techniques

Key cooking techniques for Arroz a la Cubana include boiling rice, frying (for the bananas, eggs, and meat), and simmering (for the tomato sauce). Mastery of these basic techniques will ensure a delicious and visually appealing dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

For those looking to make substitutions:

- Quinoa or cauliflower rice can replace white rice for a lower-carb option.

- Sweet plantains can be used instead of bananas for a deeper flavor.

- Tofu or a fried eggplant slice can substitute for eggs in vegan versions.

Make Ahead Tips

The tomato sauce and minced meat mixture can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated, making it easy to assemble the dish quickly. The rice can also be cooked in advance and reheated.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arroz a la Cubana in a wide, shallow bowl or plate to showcase the components. Garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for a pop of color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine or a cold beer complements the flavors of Arroz a la Cubana well. For a non-alcoholic option, a tangy lemonade or iced tea would be refreshing.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop, adding a little water or oil to prevent drying out.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A typical serving of Arroz a la Cubana contains approximately 500-600 calories, making it a substantial meal option. The exact calorie count can vary based on the specific ingredients used and portion sizes.


A serving of Arroz a la Cubana is a good source of carbohydrates, primarily from the rice and bananas. The rice provides a steady source of energy, while the bananas add a natural sweetness and additional carbs. This makes the dish an excellent option for those needing a boost of energy.


The fats in Arroz a la Cubana come mainly from the oil used in frying and the optional grated cheese. Using a healthier oil option, such as olive oil, can provide beneficial monounsaturated fats. The cheese, while optional, adds saturated fats, so it should be used sparingly if you're watching your fat intake.


The minced meat and eggs in Arroz a la Cubana are excellent sources of high-quality protein, essential for muscle repair and growth. For those seeking alternative protein sources, consider using plant-based minced meat or additional eggs.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is rich in various vitamins and minerals, particularly from the tomatoes and bananas. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant. Bananas provide potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium, contributing to overall health and well-being.


Common allergens in Arroz a la Cubana include eggs and, if used, cheese. Those with dietary restrictions should adjust the recipe accordingly or ensure that all ingredients meet their dietary needs.


Overall, Arroz a la Cubana is a balanced dish that provides carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It can be adjusted to meet various dietary needs and preferences, making it a versatile option for many.


Arroz a la Cubana is a delightful dish that combines simple ingredients into a comforting meal. With its rich history and versatility, it can be adapted to suit various tastes and dietary needs. Whether you're looking for a hearty dinner option or a new recipe to try, Arroz a la Cubana is sure to satisfy.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a cherished one. It was a warm summer day in Havana, Cuba, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria. She had invited me over for lunch, promising to cook me a traditional Cuban dish that she had learned from her own grandmother.

As I entered Maria's kitchen, the tantalizing aroma of spices filled the air. I watched in awe as she gracefully moved around the kitchen, effortlessly preparing the ingredients for what she called "Arroz a la Cubana". I had never heard of this dish before, but I could tell by the look of concentration on Maria's face that it was something special.

She started by sautéing onions, garlic, and bell peppers in a generous amount of olive oil, filling the kitchen with a mouthwatering scent. Then she added ground beef to the mix, along with a splash of tomato sauce and a sprinkle of cumin and oregano. The mixture sizzled and simmered, releasing even more enticing aromas.

Next, Maria stirred in cooked rice and black beans, creating a colorful and fragrant pot of deliciousness. She plated the dish with a perfectly fried egg on top, adding a touch of freshness with a side of sliced tomatoes and ripe plantains. The final touch was a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, which added a burst of flavor and color to the dish.

As I took my first bite of Maria's Arroz a la Cubana, I was transported to a world of bold and vibrant flavors. The combination of savory beef, rich tomato sauce, and aromatic spices was simply divine. The creamy yolk from the fried egg added a luxurious texture, while the sweet plantains provided a delightful contrast to the savory rice and beans.

I couldn't help but ask Maria for the recipe, eager to recreate this culinary masterpiece in my own kitchen. She smiled warmly and handed me a worn and stained piece of paper, covered in handwritten notes and scribbles. This was her grandmother's recipe, passed down through generations and now entrusted to me.

I thanked Maria profusely, promising to cherish and honor the recipe as she had. I left her house that day with a heart full of gratitude and a mind brimming with ideas for future meals. I couldn't wait to share this newfound treasure with my own family and friends, spreading the joy and flavors of Cuban cuisine far and wide.

Over the years, I have made Arroz a la Cubana countless times, each batch better than the last. I have tweaked the recipe here and there, adding my own personal touches and experimenting with different ingredients. But no matter how I choose to prepare it, the essence of the dish remains the same - a celebration of love, tradition, and the vibrant flavors of Cuba.

Every time I cook Arroz a la Cubana, I am reminded of that fateful day in Maria's kitchen, where a simple meal turned into a lifelong passion. I am grateful for the friendship and memories that this recipe has brought into my life, and I will continue to share its magic with everyone I meet.

So if you ever find yourself craving a taste of Cuba, just whip up a batch of Arroz a la Cubana and let its flavors transport you to a world of sunshine, laughter, and good food. And remember, the key to a truly delicious dish is cooking with love and sharing it with those you hold dear. Buena provecho!


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