Bandeja Paisa: Everyone’s Plate

Bandeja Paisa: Everyone’s Plate

Discover variations on this beloved Colombian classic dish – and why it’s so sought-after!


Food unites us. When it comes to memories or stories shared, they often take place over a nice, authentic meal. And when it comes to our respective países, we all enjoy signature meals made with love, care and amazing flavors.

The widely popular Colombian dish, bandeja paisa, or “country platter,” is no different. The traditional dish hails from the Andean region ( región andina) of the country where the people are referred to as paisas. Hence, bandeja paisa is affectionately called the “People’s Plate.”

This flavorful dish is a fusion of meats, rice and beans, and the lengthy list of ingredients include an arepa, chorizo, carne molida (ground meat), chicharrón (pork rind), plantains, hogao sauce (criollo sauce made with onions, tomatoes, pepper, oregano, cumin, and salt), morcilla (black pudding, or blood sausage), avocado, lemon and a fried egg on top – among other additions.

Also known as bandeja montañero, típico and bandeja antioqueña, bandeja paisa exists in other forms with versions that add or remove specific ingredients. Some restaurants will offer a variation of the dish that adds grilled pork, grilled steak and liver. In Bogotá, a diet-friendly version of the dish swaps out pork with grilled chicken breast, black pudding with salad and chorizo with a Vienna sausage.

Why Bandeja?

Bandeja paisa is typically eaten during lunchtime and was used to fuel the paisas that worked and climbed the steep mountain daily. The dish, which was once reserved for the paisas, has become a favorite of those in Colombia and beyond.

Many enjoy this tasteful, traditional dish. While it may not be the tidiest of plates, its flavors will have your palate dancing. The mash-up of ingredients is the culinary reflection of Colombia’s indigenous, Spanish and African roots.

So when in Colombia, you have to eat this Colombian signature meal! You’ll want to find the nearest hamaca and enjoy a siesta when you’re finished. And if you’d like to give bandeja paisa at try at home, here’s a recipe to get you started:

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Ingredients
2 lbs ground beef
Chicharrones (fresh pork rinds)
6 eggs
2 lbs bacon
3 cups cargamanto beans or large red beans
2 tablespoons of oil
1 cup criollo sauce, hogao
Sweet, ripe plantains or tostones
Arepa
Salt as needed 

For the hogao
2 tablespoons of oil
4 large onions
4 tomatoes
Cilantro
Salt
Vinegar
Achiote paste

For the ground beef
2 lbs beef
Hogao
Bacon crumbled into pieces 

Arepa Antioqueña
3 cups corn flour (white or yellow)
2 teaspoons oil
2 cups warm water
Salt as needed

Instructions:

1. Cover beans in water and let them soak overnight (the night before making the recipe).
2. Cook beans in the same soaking water and stir in 1 tablespoon (half) oil. When the beans become soft, add salt.
3. Meanwhile, cook the ground beef in oil and add in half the hogao while stirring well. Crumble bacon and fry chicharrones.
4. When beans are tender, stir in remaining hogao and cook 5 to 10 additional minutes. In skillet, add oil over high heat, carefully fry sweet plantains or tostones; fry the eggs. Serve dish in trays with rice, avocado and arepas.
5. Hogao o Guiso: Mix all ingredients together and cook in skillet for 10 minutes.
6. Arepas: Place corn arepa flour in bowl large enough to knead in it. Stir in oil over flour.
7. Stir in salt and water; mix until dough is formed
8. Make a ball of dough in your hand; flatten to small patties.
9. Heat oil in skillet over medium-to-high heat, cook patties until browned on both sides.

¡ Buen provecho!

What’s your favorite take on this classic dish?

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