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VACA POLLO RECIPE: Seriously Delicious Low-Cal Snack or Meal

vaca fritaSince I’ve been craving salty snacks, I decided I’d make a salty, meaty protein snack similar to beef jerky. This is whey Vaca Frita came to mind. Vaca Frita, which literally means “Fried Cow”, is one of my favorite cuban dishes. Basically, it’s just shredded flank steak and onion cooked in lime juice and then seared with oil on a griddle until crispy – so it’s not so healthy, but super yummy.

So, I started brainstorming on ways to make a healthier version of this yummy Cuban dish. Since I LOVE grilled chicken (because I love the crispy charred flavor), I decided to make a grilled version of Vaca Frita with chicken. Here was what I cooked up.

Vaca Pollo Ingredientsvaca frita pollo

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 onion, finely slivered
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (Optional)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Cook 4 chicken breasts (I grilled them on the grill after marinading them in lime juice and olive oil).  While cooking the chicken, cut the onion up into really thin slivers and set it aside.

(Note: I didn’t use as much onion as I would like to because I wanted to make it as high-protein as possible while I’m dieting.)

lime-juiceNext, in a mixing bowl, mix lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaves (and the optional olive oil, which I didn’t use). Once the chicken has been cooked all the way through (keeping it nice and juicy, but not worrying about it being browned or charred on the grill). Shred the chicken up into small pieces and combine with the onion and lime juice mixture until evenly mixed.

Finally, spread the shredded chicken out evenly on tinfoil. Mist with olive oil and dust with salt. Place it back on the grill (I turned my grill up really hot to quickly brown the chicken without over-drying it), occasionally stirring the chicken so it browns as many pieces as possible. Remove when you feel the chicken is crispy but not dehydrated, and let cool. Serve with wedge of lime.

3 Ways to Enjoy Vaca Pollo

Vaca Pollo Snack:
Let the meat cool. Measure out 2oz portions and put in ziplock bags for an easy-access high-protein snack.

Vaca Pollo Salad:
Top mixed greens with 3 – 4oz shredded chicken, 2 T goat cheese and 1/c cup finely sliced pear and top with a light balsamic vinaigrette.

Vaca Pollo Meal:
Top 1/2 cup jasmine rice with 3 – 4oz shredded chicken and serve with a healthy serving of grilled asparagus.

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