Cuban Oregano Recipe – Hungarian Chef

Last Updated on March 20, 2024

Cuban oregano, also known as Spanish thyme or Indian borage, is a unique and versatile herb that adds a delicious twist to any dish. Its distinct flavor profile with hints of oregano, mint, and citrus makes it a popular ingredient in Cuban, Caribbean, and Latin American cuisine.

In this article, we will explore two delicious recipes that feature Cuban oregano as the star ingredient – Cuban oregano vegan pesto and Cuban marinade. Get ready to add a taste of Cuba to your culinary repertoire with these flavorful dishes!

cuban oregano recipe

Want more oregano recipes? Check these:

What is Cuban Oregano?

Cuban oregano is an herb that belongs to the same family as common oregano and mint. However, it has a unique flavor that sets it apart from its relatives. It is known for its strong aroma and taste, with hints of citrus and spice.

The leaves are thick, and fuzzy, and often have a purple tint, making them easy to differentiate from other herbs. Native to the Caribbean, Cuban oregano is commonly used in various cuisines such as Cuban, Caribbean, and Latin American dishes.

It is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. This herb is easy to grow and can be found in many home gardens or purchased fresh at local markets.

Benefits of Cuban Oregano

  • Rich in antioxidants: Cuban oregano is high in antioxidants, which help protect the body against free radicals and oxidative stress.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: The essential oils found in this herb have anti-inflammatory effects, making it a useful ingredient for those with arthritis or other inflammatory conditions.
  • Digestive aid: Cuban oregano has been used in traditional medicine to aid digestion and soothe stomach troubles.
  • Immune system booster: The herb is rich in vitamins and minerals that can help boost the immune system, making it a great addition to your diet during cold and flu season.

Why You’ll Love This Cuban Oregano?

You will fall in love with Cuban oregano’s unique and complex flavor profile, which adds depth and character to any dish. Here are some reasons why this herb will become a staple in your kitchen:

  • Versatile and unique flavor: Cuban oregano’s distinct taste makes it a versatile ingredient that can be used in various recipes.
  • Easy to grow: Whether you have a green thumb or not, Cuban oregano is an easy-to-grow plant that can thrive both indoors and outdoors.
  • Nutritious: This herb is not only flavorful but also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Vegan-friendly: Cuban oregano is a great alternative to traditional oregano in pesto recipes for those following a vegan lifestyle.

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The Ingredients For Cuban Marinade

  • Cuban oregano: This unique and flavorful herb is the star ingredient of this recipe. It can be found in many grocery stores or easily grown in your own backyard.
  • Fresh orange juice: The tangy sweetness of fresh orange juice pairs perfectly with the Cuban oregano, adding a refreshing element to the marinade.
  • Chopped garlic: Garlic adds depth and richness to the marinade, balancing out the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Sea salt: The salt brings out the natural flavors of the herbs and spices, making this marinade even more flavorful.
  • Fresh lime juice: Another citrus addition to enhance the tanginess of the marinade and add a touch of acidity.
  • Black pepper: A bit of black pepper adds a subtle kick to the marinade, giving it an extra layer of flavor.
  • Chopped onion: Onion adds a bit of sweetness and texture to the marinade, complementing the other ingredients perfectly.
  • Ground cumin: Cumin is a staple spice in Cuban cuisine, adding an earthy and warm flavor to the marinade.
  • Olive oil: The oil helps bind all the ingredients together and creates a smooth consistency for easy application onto your food.
  • Chopped fresh cilantro: This herb adds freshness and a hint of citrus to the marinade, elevating the overall flavor profile.
cuban oregano

Step-by-Step Instructions 

Step 1

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Begin by gathering all your ingredients and washing the Cuban oregano.
  • Chop the garlic, onion, and cilantro into small pieces for easier blending.

Step 2

Blend the Marinade

  • In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil.
  • Blend until everything is well combined.

Step 3

Slowly Add the Olive Oil

  • With the blender still running, slowly pour in the olive oil to emulsify the marinade.

Step 4

Marinate Your Food

  • Pour the marinade over your desired protein (chicken, pork, beef) and let it marinate for at least an hour before cooking.
  • For best results, marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The Ingredients For Cuban Oregano Vegan Pesto

  • Cuban oregano: This unique herb is the star of this recipe, providing a delicious and distinct flavor.
  • Garlic: Adds depth and richness to the pesto, balancing out the other ingredients.
  • Walnuts or pumpkin seeds: These nuts add a nutty flavor and texture to the pesto, making it even more satisfying.
  • Avocado oil: The creamy texture of avocado oil helps bind all the ingredients together and creates a smooth consistency.
  • Salt and pepper: Add these to taste for seasoning.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: A staple in many pesto recipes, the olive oil adds richness and depth to this Cuban oregano version.
  • Nutritional yeast: This ingredient adds a cheesy and savory flavor to the pesto without using any dairy.
  • Hemp oil: Another healthy oil option, hemp oil adds a subtle nutty flavor and boosts the nutritional value of the pesto.

Step-by-Step Instructions 

Step 1

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Start by washing your Cuban oregano and peel the garlic cloves.
  • If using walnuts, chop them into smaller pieces for easier blending.

Step 2

Blend the Pesto

  • In a food processor, combine the Cuban oregano, garlic, and walnuts or pumpkin seeds.
  • Pulse until everything is finely chopped.

Step 3

Add in the Oils

  • While the food processor is running, gradually pour in the avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, and hemp oil.
  • Continue blending until all ingredients are well combined.

Step 4

Season and Serve

  • Add salt and pepper to taste, and blend for a few more seconds.
  • Serve immediately as a spread or sauce, or store in the refrigerator for later use.


  • For a spicier marinade or pesto, add some chopped chili peppers.
  • Feel free to adjust the ingredients’ proportions according to your taste preferences.
  • Cuban oregano can also be used in pasta dishes, rice, and vegetable stir-fries. Get creative with this versatile herb!
cuban oregano

Unique Ways to Use Cuban Oregano

  • As a marinade: In traditional Cuban cuisine, Cuban oregano is often used as a key ingredient in meat marinades. Its strong flavor adds depth and complexity to dishes.
  • In soups and stews: The herb’s robust flavor makes it an excellent addition to hearty soups and stews, adding a unique twist to classic recipes.
  • In cocktails: Cuban oregano can also be used in cocktail recipes, adding a refreshing and aromatic element to drinks. It pairs well with rum-based cocktails.
  • As a natural insect repellent: The essential oils found in this herb are known to repel insects. Placing fresh leaves around your home or garden can help keep pesky bugs away.

How to store Cuban Oregano?

  • Cuban oregano can be stored in a variety of ways, depending on whether you have fresh or dried leaves.
  • For fresh leaves, wrap them in a damp paper towel and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 
  • You can also freeze the leaves by placing them in an ice cube tray with water and then transferring the cubes to a freezer-safe bag for longer storage.
  • To store dried leaves, place them in an airtight container and keep them in a cool, dry place. They can last up to 6 months without losing their flavor.
  • If you have a Cuban oregano plant, you can also harvest the leaves regularly and use them fresh. Simply snip off the leaves and use them as needed. The plant will continue to grow new leaves for you to enjoy.
  • Whether fresh or dried, make sure to store Cuban oregano away from direct sunlight and heat sources for maximum flavor retention.


  • If you cannot find Cuban oregano, you can substitute it with regular oregano or Mexican oregano. The flavor profile may be slightly different, but the marinade or pesto will still be delicious!
  • For a dairy-free version of the marinade, omit the fresh orange juice and use coconut aminos or tamari instead.
  • To make the marinade or pesto vegan, substitute honey with agave nectar or maple syrup.
  • For a thicker and creamier pesto, add half an avocado to the ingredients before blending.
  • If you want a more traditional Cuban flavor, add some dried oregano and a splash of white vinegar to the marinade.
cuban oregano

Cuban Oregano Recipe

Cuban oregano, also known as Spanish thyme or Indian borage, is a unique and versatile herb that adds a delicious twist to any dish.
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cuban oregano recipe
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 61kcal


  • food processor or blender


  • 2 cups Cuban oregano
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped garlic
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


  • First things first, let’s make sure you have all the necessary ingredients for this delicious Cuban oregano marinade. Take out your fresh orange juice, garlic cloves, sea salt, lime juice, black pepper, onion, ground cumin, olive oil, and of course the star of the show – Cuban oregano. Give the herb a quick rinse before using.
  • Once all your ingredients are prepped, it’s time to blend the marinade. In a blender, combine the chopped garlic, onion, cilantro, and Cuban oregano with the orange and lime juice. Give it a good whirl until everything is well combined.
  • While still blending, gradually add in the olive oil to create a smooth and creamy consistency. This will help all the flavors come together and make it easier to spread on your food.
  • Now comes the fun part – marinating! Pour the marinade over your desired protein, whether it be chicken, pork, or beef, and let it sit for at least an hour. For optimal flavor infusion, marinate your food overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Once your meat is done marinating, cook it to perfection and enjoy a taste of Cuba with this flavorful Cuban oregano marinade.


  • For a spicier marinade or pesto, add some chopped chili peppers.
  • Feel free to adjust the ingredients’ proportions according to your taste preferences.
  • Cuban oregano can also be used in pasta dishes, rice, and vegetable stir-fries. Get creative with this versatile herb!


Calories: 61kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Can I use dried Cuban oregano in the marinade or pesto?

Yes, you can use dried Cuban oregano instead of fresh. However, keep in mind that the flavor may not be as strong, so you may need to adjust the amount accordingly.

Can I make this with a different type of nut?

Yes, you can substitute walnuts or pumpkin seeds with other nuts like almonds or cashews. Just make sure to chop them into smaller pieces before blending.

Is this gluten-free?

Yes, both the marinade and pesto are naturally gluten-free. Just ensure that all your ingredients are also gluten-free if you have any dietary restrictions.

Can I use Cuban oregano in other types of cuisines?

Yes, you can definitely experiment with using Cuban oregano in dishes outside of Cuban cuisine. Its unique flavor pairs well with many different foods, so don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen!

Wrapping Up

Now that you know how to make a delicious marinade and pesto using Cuban oregano, it’s time to put your culinary skills to the test!

Whether you’re marinating some chicken for a backyard BBQ or whipping up a batch of vegan pesto for pasta night, this herb is sure to add a unique and delicious twist to any dish.

Thank you for reading this article. Feel free to share this article with your friends and family, and let us know in the comments how your Cuban oregano creations turned out!

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Author Profile

Lori Walker is a passionate dietitian and food lover. She offers simple and nutritious recipes that don't take long to cook. In addition to sharing delicious dishes, she also shares useful advice on saving time and money in the kitchen. She believes that with a bit of creativity, anyone can make healthy meals that won't break the bank. Read more

1 thought on “Cuban Oregano Recipe – Hungarian Chef”

  1. 5 stars
    Good tips! If you can get hold of a spring of fresh Mexican oregano, stick it in a pot of potting compost, it takes root more easily than any other plant on the planet. It doesn’t seem to enjoy being repotted in my experience, it prefers to be left potbound. Tolerant of drought and heavy watering, this plant enjoys very warm and sunny conditions, so if you live in a cold climate, Keep it indoors by a window and a heat source.

    Also, there’s no need to keep the fresh leaves in the fridge, I’ve left cuttings sitting on my balcony for over two months before they start to wilt. Even fresh leaves last a couple of weeks in great condition if you leave them in a basket or bowl on the counter.


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