Have you been introduced to the mouthwatering deliciousness that is the jibarito? This marinated steak sandwich uses tostones (green plantains that are fried, smashed, and fried again) in place of the bread. With some spiced-up mayo, thick slices of heirloom tomato, crisp lettuce, and cheese, this sandwich is pure heaven. Try my twist on the classic jibarito that uses air fryer tostones; it cuts down on the added fat!
No offense to the other awesome sandwiches out there (especially Reubens), but a well-made jibarito may top them all. Using tostones in place of the bread is a brilliant move that I am here for. You can find this sandwich at some restaurants serving Latin American cuisine, but I’m going to show you how to do it at home.
Everyone has a slightly different spin on the jibarito. Some are even using chicken or pork in place of the steak.
For my version, we’re going to break out the air fryer for our twice-fried plantains. This is an easy way to use less added oil and make this a lower-calorie dish. There’s still plenty of fat here from the mayo and steak.
I trialed different versions of air fryer tostones to determine the method I like best. In the opinion of my family, misting the plantains with an oil spray did not produce the best results. Brushing the plantains with oil was the best way to prevent them from drying out too much while air frying.
I recommend starting the steak in the marinade the night before. I used homemade mojo, a yummy garlic-citrus marinade. Some stores sell prepared mojo in bottles if you do not want to make your own.
Making your own is tastier though, and if you are already going to all of this effort, why not?
The art of air fryer tostones
The trickiest part of this sandwich is making the air fryer tostones. I used two pieces of special equipment for this one. The first is an air fryer, mine is the 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven.
But what if you don’t want to buy a press? Smashing the plantains between the bottoms of two pieces of cast-iron cookware works too! It’s how I used to make jibaritos before a tortilla press came into my life.
Lining the tortilla press with thick plastic from sandwich bags works better to prevent sticking than oil spray, parchment paper, etc. If you want to avoid the plastic, feel free to try other methods, but you may run into issues.
So now that I covered equipment, I want to add that it is very important to use green plantains. I did try this recipe with a ripe (yellow) plantain once. Smashing a ripe plantain in the tortilla press turned it to mush. It was a mess!
It’s not a terrible idea to have an extra plantain on hand (or two) in case your first efforts do not go well. If your plantains are too soft when smashing, try skipping the soaking step. On the other hand, if your plantains are overly firm, try soaking longer.
Before long, you’ll get the hang of the process and be a pro at making air fryer tostones! I hope you have fun with this one and enjoy the delicious results!
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let’s get cooking!
Jibarito with Air Fryer Tostones
For the air fryer tostones:
- 2 green plantains (having 1-2 extra on hand is not a bad idea in case things do not go according to plan lol)
- 10 t olive oil
- smoked salt, to taste
For the marinated steak (mojo adapted from A Sassy Spoon):
- 1 lb lean steak (skirt steak is a classic choice, but another lean steak would work too)
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ t dried oregano
- ¼ t cumin
- ¼ t salt
- ¼ t pepper
- ¼ c orange juice, freshly squeezed
- ¾ t orange zest
- 2 T lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 2 T lime juice, fresh squeezed
- 1 T olive oil
For the spiced mayo:
- ¼ c mayonnaise (I used an avocado oil-based mayo)
- ¼ t chili powder
- ¼ t cumin
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
For the onions:
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- ¾ c water
- 1 T vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- salt, to taste
Other sandwich and side salad fixings:
- 1 head iceberg lettuce
- 2 tomatoes, sliced (big heirloom tomatoes are great here)
- 8 slices Swiss cheese (about 0.7 ounce per slice)
- 4 T low-oil salad dressing of choice (about 25-50 calories per T)
The night before you want your jibarito sandwich:
- Mix all of the "for the marinated steak" ingredients together except the steak. After it is well-combined, put the steak in this marinade and let the steak marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
To make the spiced mayo:
- Mix all of the "for the spiced mayo" ingredients together. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
To make the onions:
- Put all of the "for the onions" ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Lift the onions out of the liquid and refrigerate them until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
To make the steak:
- Lift the steak out of the marinade and cook it to your preferred level of doneness on the stovetop. Let the steak rest while you make the tostones.
To make the air fryer tostones:
- Making the tostones is the most challenging part of this recipe! Be sure to read the post above for more tips that will help to ensure your success.
- Quarter your green plantains by cutting each one in half lengthwise and widthwise.
- Soak the cut plantains in a salted water solution for 10-15 minutes. Pat them dry with paper towels when they are done soaking.
- Put the plantains in a single layer on your air fryer racks with the cut side up. (Note: If your air fryer is small, you may need to cook them in batches.) Brush the tops with 2 t of the olive oil.
- Air fry the plantains for 5 minutes at 350°F.
- Carefully smash the plantains in a tortilla press that was lined with plastic sandwich bags. If you don't have a tortilla press, smooshing them between two pieces of cast iron cookware will work as well.
- Lay the plantains in a single layer on your air fryer racks. (Again, you will need to cook them in batches if you have a small-capacity air fryer.) Brush the tops with 4 t of olive oil.
- Air fry the smashed plantains for 5 minutes at 400°F.
- Remove the plantains from the oven and flip them over. Brush the sides of the plantains that are now facing the top with 4 t of olive oil.
- Put the air fryer trays back in the oven, switching their position in the oven. Air fry for 4 minutes at 400°F.
- Remove the plantains from the oven after air frying. Sprinkle them with the smoked salt while they are still hot. Let your air fried tostones cool a bit before assembling the sandwiches.
- Tips: If your tostones are falling apart too easily, make sure you are using green plantains and skip the soaking step. If the plantains are too firm to smash, try increasing the soaking time to 20 minutes before air frying. It's a great idea to have an extra plantain or two on hand (so you can have a do-over) while you get the hang of this process.
To assemble the jibarito:
- Cut your marinated steak into strips.
- Put two of the air fryer tostones on each plate. Spread about ½ T of the mayo on each.
- Put the strips of steak on top of one of the tostones on each plate. Top each with ¼ of the onions.
- Put 1-2 leaves of the iceberg lettuce on top of the steak. Put a slice of tomato on each sandwich. Add 2 slices of the Swiss cheese on top of the tomato.
- Finish the sandwich by putting the topper tostones on the cheese. (Please watch the video below for a step-by-step visual of the assembly process!)
- Shred the remaining iceberg lettuce and distribute between the plates for the side salads. Chop the remaining tomato and add to the salads. Dress each salad with 1 T of salad dressing. Dinner's ready!
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). The calorie count on this one is for one sandwich and the side salad, but it does not include the dressing. (I also did not include the steak marinade or the mixture the onion is cooked in since those get drained off.) Though using the air fryer here instead of deep-frying did reduce added fat and calories, this is not a “light” recipe. There are some other ways to lighten the recipe further. For example, you could use a seasoned non-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of the mayo. You could also use light cheese and swap the beef for chicken breast. However, this may be one case where I think things are best as they are. I worry that these substitutions may come at too big of a cost in terms of sacrifice to flavor. (Just being honest. Heh heh heh)
Have you ever tried a jibarito sandwich? How about air-fried tostones?
Whether you are a jibarito expert or novice, I’d love to hear how you liked my version! You can let me know by leaving a comment and/or rating below.