Cuban Ropa Vieja Sandwich Appetizer Is Impressive and Simple

ropa vieja sandwich

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Ooh, you are so going to wow your friends with these little shredded beef appetizers, which I’m calling Ropa Vieja Montaditos. They are totally Instagram-worthy and the perfect wine party appetizer! You may not be as excited with the strange-sounding name, but you will once I ‘splain what my little ropa vieja sandwich is all about.

What is a montadito?   

I didn’t just make up the name montadito. This Spanish word describes a particular type of appetizer consisting of a baguette-style bread piled with toppings. The root word means to mount. So, in essence, you’re mounting deliciousness on a bread canvas to create little works of art that won’t last very long on a plate! Trust me, this is the best thing to happen to bread since the invention of the slice. 

Now, montaditos are usually more like little sandwiches served on baguette bread.  My shredded beef appetizer is more like an open-faced ropa vieja sandwich. A little different, but the name totally works.

What is Ropa Vieja?  

Ropa Vieja is a shredded beef stew simmered in a savory tomato sauce. The original recipe migrated to Cuba from Spain, and it’s one of the most popular dishes served at Cuban restaurants in Miami. Ropa Vieja literally means old clothes, which could refer to how it looks. But I found a sweet story online about an old man who had no food for his family, so he cooked his old clothes and prayed over the simmering pot. Then God answered with shredded beef!   

easy tapas recipe

Spanish Tapas Bar and My Montadito Inspiration

So now, let me tell you about my little shredded beef and french bread appetizer made with love. I got the idea for this Spanish tapas recipe after visiting a local tapas bar, Bulla Gastrobar. Bulla, pronounced bu-ya, means noise in Spanish. And it was noisy, but it was a good noise. Some of the bu-ya was me smacking my lips over the tapas menu. Tapas are savory little bites served with drinks at Spanish bars (tapas bars), in case you’re wondering. So many Spanish vocabulary words today!  

As I was drooling over the menu, I noticed this fantastic little dish pass right by me. I had not seen anything like it before! The dish was a montadito. I ordered one for the table and soon was digging into a little slice of french baguette bread piled high with brisket, tomato marmalade, guindilla pepper, and tetilla cheese. As soon as I tasted my little brisket montadito, I was already planning to make my own version with Cuban ropa vieja.   

Allow me to present my own montadito creation with ropa vieja, sweet plantains (maduros) , melted gouda cheese, and pickled peppers. Oh, so yummy and perfect for a tapas party, for brunch, or for lunch or dinner, served with wine, beer, or sangria.  

Shredded beef appetizers

These are super easy to make if you have ropa vieja leftovers. If you don’t’, make the ropa vieja first and enjoy that for dinner, making sure to save a little for the montaditos on day 2. Ropa vieja is usually served over rice with fried sweet plantains called maduros. So save some maduro leftovers too!  

Once you have your ropa vieja and maduros leftovers, the rest is pretty much assembly and comes together very quickly.  

If you like this recipe, you’ll want to check out my Smoked Salmon Avocado Toasts, they are an easy brunch recipe that requires no cooking 😉

I hope these inspire you to make your own little bread canvases! If you do, share them with me. I’d love to try them too!  ¡Buen provecho! 

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French bread appetizer

How to make the Ropa Vieja Montaditos

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Cuban


Try these impressive little French bread appetizers made with ropa vieja and maduros. They are perfect for a tapas party! They come together quickly and can be assembled and finished later. If you don’t have ropa vieja leftovers, you can get the recipe here and enjoy that for dinner the night before. 


  • 8 oz French baguette (see note)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed  
  • 1/4 cup olive oil  

  • Salt and pepper to taste  

  • 1 cup Cuban ropa vieja leftovers. Here’s the Cuban ropa vieja recipe.

  • ½ cup diced Maduros get the recipe here  

  • 4 slices gouda cheese cut into four each (total of 16) or 1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese  

  • 16 slices of pickled peppers or Manzanilla olives  


  1. Bread: Slice the baguette bread into 1-inch slices (need a total of 16… see note) 
  2. Olive Oil: Mix the olive oil, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste. Brush olive oil on each side.
  3. Toast: Lightly toast the bread in the toaster oven (or you can use an oven set at 350 degrees) until very a very light golden color. About 2 minutes (you don’t want to over toast because it will be toasted a bit more when you add the toppings. 
  4. Toppings: To each slice, add a tablespoon of Ropa Vieja, a few pieces of diced maduros, and a quarter slice of cheese or a ½ tablespoon of shredded gouda cheese  
  5. Melt: Toast until the cheese melts in the toaster oven or a 350-degree oven. Top with a slice of pickled pepper or an olive  

Serve with beer, wine, or sangria.   


I cut the bread slices to 1 inch but it can be a mouthful once you add the toppings. You could cut just a little shorter and it will save you some calories, too. My best advice is to test with 1 sandwich before you make the rest to see what height works for you. 

Keywords: tapas recipes, spanish tapas recipes, easy tapas recipes, tapas recipes ideas, ropa vieja sandwich, cuban ropa vieja

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