What is a jibarito?
A jibarito (pronounced: hee-ba-REE-toh) is a savory Puerto Rican sandwich that originated in Chicago. Instead of bread, it’s held together with fried flattened plantains…and yes, that makes it gluten-free. It’s usually filled with meat (steak, chicken or pork), lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and mayo. Venezuelans have their own version called the patacón.
This no-bread sandwich was invented by Juan “Peter” Figueroa (a Chicago restaurateur) in 1996 at his former establishment, Borinquen Restaurant. He coined the name jibarito from the term Jíbaro and it means “little country person” or “hillbilly.”
Where can I get it?
The absolute best place to get a jibarito is in Chicago’s Humbolt Park neighborhood, known for their prominent Puerto Rican community. Now it can be found in many Puerto Rican restaurants in the area. However, whether or not you’re in Chicago, we’ve got you covered…
Chicago, IL: Papa’s Cache Sabroso
New York, NY: Sazon
Los Angeles, CA: Mofongos Comida Caribena
Orlando, FL: Willie’s Pinchos
Looking for more places that serve jibaritos? You can find them on Glutto right here.
How can I make it?
Making a jibarito is slightly more challenging than slapping together a few ingredients to make a sandwich. However, it’s well worth it…if you do it right. Here’s a recipe that you can make now, or save on Glutto for later.
- 1 large green plantain (peeled and sliced lengthwise)
- 5 ounces meat: steak, chicken or pork (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 yellow onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tomato (sliced)
- 2 lettuce leaves
- 1 pinch cumin
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- First, heat a pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Then place the sliced plantains in the hot oil for 1 min. (flip both slices after 30 seconds)
- Remove the plantains from the oil. Place them on a clean, flat surface and cover with parchment paper. Use a rolling pin (or a flat board) to gently flatten the plantains evenly (about 1/4 inch thick).
- Return the plantains to the hot oil until crispy and golden brown. Then place on a clean paper towel and set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat, add the garlic & onions and cook until slightly browned. Then add meat, cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper. Regularly mix meat and ingredients in the pan until meat is cooked through.
- Put the meat and the cooked ingredients on a plantain slice, then add slices of tomatoes and lettuce. Spread the mayonnaise on the other plantain slice and place it (mayo side down) to top the sandwich. Enjoy!
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.