Pressed Cubano Sandwiches – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Smoked ham and pork tenderloin together on low carb, gluten-free sandwich bread. This post is sponsored by Smithfield.

Low Carb Cubano Sandwich Recipe

My husband is a sandwich guy; sandwiches are and always have been his go-to food. Back when I first met him, he used to eat 3 sandwiches for lunch every day. Mind you, this was when he was in his 20s, his metabolism was revved up and his job as an archaeologist kept him physically active all day long. Still, that floors me. 3 whole sandwiches. Even at my metabolic peak, I could hardly make it through one whole sandwich. And if I did, I’d be full all day and have no room for all the other yummy things I want to eat. Don’t get me wrong, sandwiches can be might tasty and hot, pressed sandwiches are especially tasty. Gooey, melting cheese on top of meats and veggies and other good fillings, all pressed into a golden brown deliciousness. Okay, maybe there is something to this sandwich thing after all.

Ever since I developed my own low carb panini bread, sandwiches are a little more accessible to me. It’s a great basic bread that stands up well to the fillings and holds together when cooked and pressed. When we do make sandwiches, we typically make a lot in one go and keep the leftovers in the fridge to reheat for an easy meal. My husband rejoices when I make the panini bread, because then he can indulge in his beloved sandwiches without having me give him the oh-think-of-all-those-carbs-you’re-eating look.

Low Carb Gluten-Free Cubano Panini Recipe

So when Smithfield asked me to develop a recipe using one of their marinated pork tenderloins, I knew almost instantly that they’d make great sandwiches. They sent three flavours to try: Garlic & Herb, Rosemary & Olive Oil and Portobello Mushroom. All of them were very good, but I found the Portobello Mushroom to be the most interesting flavor. They cook easily and quickly, making them a great weeknight meal. And perhaps contrary to what you’ve heard about pork, you want to make sure to cook it so that there is still a little pink in the middle and it registers at about 145F. Any more and you lose the juiciness of the tenderloin.

Cubanos are wonderfully flavourful sandwiches, piled with sliced pork loin, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles, and are a perfect use for any leftover pork tenderloin. I found the recipes out there split between yellow mustard and mayo as the main condiment. I decided to go rogue and do Dijon mustard because I like it better, and I mixed it with some mayonnaise as well. I happened to actually still have some leftover Smithfield cooked ham in my freezer, and its wonderful smoky flavour was ideal for the Cubanos. Some spicy dill pickles and melty Swiss cheese and my husband was in sandwich heaven. The kids and I loved them too!

Low Carb Gluten Free Pressed Sandwich Recipe

This recipe makes a lot of sandwiches. Feel free to cut both the panini bread recipe and the sandwich recipe in half, if you don’t want lots of leftovers.

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by Smithfield. As always, all opinions, thoughts, recipes, photography, random tangents and incoherent ramblings are my own.

Pressed Cubano Sandwiches – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: 12 to 14 small sandwiches

Pressed Cubano Sandwiches – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Smoked ham and pork tenderloin together on low carb, gluten-free sandwich bread for a delicious, healthy Cubano sandwich.


  • 1 recipe low carb Panini bread
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3/4 lb thinly sliced cooked ham
  • 3/4 lb thinly sliced cooked Smithfield pork tenderloin
  • Thinly sliced dill pickles
  • 1/2 lb sliced Swiss cheese
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil for panini press


  1. Preheat panini press to medium high.
  2. Cut panini bread into 4 inch squares and then cut each square horizontally through the middle for two square slices.
  3. In a small bowl, mix mustard and mayonnaise together. Spread once slice of each sandwich square with the mixture.
  4. Divide sliced ham and sliced pork tenderloin between sandwich squares. Top with pickles and Swiss cheese.
  5. Brush panini press with melted butter or oil. Place as many sandwiches as will fit onto press and close lid. Cook until bread is golden brown and has grill marks and cheese is melted, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.


Serves 12. Each serving has 13 g of carbs and 6 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 7 g.

472 Calories; 36g Fat (66.1% calories from fat); 28g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 134mg Cholesterol; 719mg Sodium.

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  1. Jenni says

    I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your website. I have tried multiple recipes and they have always turned out great. I have yet to try anything savory, but my husband LOVES Cuban sandwiches so I think I’ll make this for the weekend.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  2. Susan says

    Amen Jenni! I love Cuban sandwiches, have missed them terribly, and am right this minute plotting to acquire a panini press for my birthday. This is more complicated than you might guess as years ago I put a ban on acquiring any new appliances and gadgets but this obviously a necessity. Right? Right.

  3. Janeen says

    Add some hard salami on the sammie and you have a Tampa style Cuban, mmmm. Now if you could just make Tampa devil crabs low carb I’d be in heaven.

  4. Janeen says
    These are devil crabs, and Brocatos truly makes the best. I don’t think there’s any way to make them low carb and still taste remotely the same b/c you need stale Cuban bread crumbs. Besides crab meat, it has peppers, onions and a spicy Cuban style tomato sauce. They’re incredible.

  5. says

    This looks amazing! I so love Cubano sandwiches but hubs can’t eat ham or any cured meats because of the high sodium content. Is the whey protein a substitute for yeast or baking powder in the bread recipe? I also cannot use baking powder or soda because of the sodium content, but yeast is OK. Your battle is carbs – mine is sodium… Happy New Year, Carolyn – hope you are staying safe and warm during the awful Arctic vortex storm!

    • Nita says

      I use Featherweight Baking Powder made by Hain Pure Foods – it is both sodium free and gluten free. I find it at both Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage.


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