This simple Cuban sauce is for far more than just marinating. 

By Stephanie Gravalese
September 04, 2019
Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Mojo is a type of sauce typical Latin American and Caribbean cuisine that can be traced back to the Canary Islands (a colony of Spain). One cousin to the Canarian sauce, mojo criollo, is native to Cuba, and a staple in Cuban kitchens. Mojo criollo is a vibrant condiment made from garlic, olive oil, and juice from bitter oranges native to Seville, Spain. The resulting sauce is a tangy blend of citrus, punctuated with garlic and spices, that serves as the flavor base for many Cuban dishes. Here are five ways to add this savory and tangy sauce to your dinner table. 

Marinate in Mojo

The most popular used for mojo criollo is as a marinade for pork, steak, and chicken. The sauce has been celebrated as a popular for pork and is the namesake of Mojo chicken. Even seafood is an option, with shrimp and salmon as standout choices. Mojo criollo can also be used on vegan sources of protein such as tofu and seitan. When marinating, use a deep dish so that the protein can be well covered in the marinade. 

Slay Your Slaw

Want a fresh take on coleslaw? Add mojo criollo to your shredded cabbage and other veggies in place of mayo. Whether you are making a classic cabbage slaw or = adding other components like peppers, jicama, or fruit, mojo criollo serves as the perfect vinaigrette.

 

Amp Up Your Veggies

To give your vegetables a pop of bright flavor, toss them in mojo criollo before roasting, grilling, or sauteing. From portobello mushroom caps to sauteed greens, all sorts of simple veggie sides can take on a new life with this savory-sweet sauce. In Cuban cuisine, mojo criollo is commonly served over boiled yucca, plantains, and other root vegetables.

 

Do the Dip

This garlicky sauce can also be used as a table condiment, served as a companion to an order of yucca fries or tostones. In fact, the light, acidic sauce is a great balance to any number of crispy, fried snacks.

 

Save Your Side Dish

If you’re looking to take your side dishes to the next level, the versatile sauce is a great way to add complex flavors to your go-to favorites. For example, with black beans and rice, mojo criollo can be added to either element to provide a zippy kick of personality.  

 

Interested in trying mojo criollo to jazz up a weeknight meal? The sauce is incredibly simple to mix up at home. Alternatively, bottled mojo criollo is readily available in Latino food markets or on the international foods aisle of conventional grocery stores. 

 

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