#BaptistHealthy Easy Eats: Chicken 'Vaca Frita'

Eating healthy does not mean you have to cut back on your favorite cultural meals. With the current dietary recommendation to reduce intake of red meat and choose sources of pork and poultry instead, leave it to our Baptist Health dietitians to give your abuela’s recipe a healthy twist, without compromising flavor.

This traditional Cuban recipe swaps out red meat for chicken and has less saturated fat and sodium than the standard recipe.

Chicken Vaca Frita

Makes 8 servings

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 3 large onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large limes
  • 2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sazon Completa seasoning


  • In a large saucepan, combine the chicken, halved onion and 1 garlic clove. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer over moderate heat for 30 minutes until cooked.
  • Transfer the chicken to a work surface and let the chicken cool until warm.
  • Shred the chicken and transfer to a bowl.
  • Stir the rest of the garlic into the chicken, along with the lime juice, olive oil, Sazon Completa and sliced onion.
  • Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat a large, frying pan until hot. Work in the chicken in batches and spread the shredded chicken on the pan in a thin layer.
  • Cook over medium to high heat, turning once or twice, until golden.
  • Transfer to a platter and serve.

Nutritional information: Serving size 5 ounces: Calories 190, Fat 6g, Carbohydrate 6g, Sodium 80 mg, Protein 26g.

Meet the Author
Carla Duenas is a registered dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator and Care Specialist (CDCES) with Community Health at Baptist Health South Florida. A passionate promoter of wellness and prevention, and nutrition’s role in managing chronic diseases, Ms. Duenas’ expert tips and advice have been featured in print and broadcast media, including Miami Herald, CNN, CNN en Español, NBC and Univision. She has consulted with the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade to help local restaurants offer healthy meals. Ms. Duenas is also an avid endurance athlete, competing regularly in races and marathons.

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