Monday, August 4, 2014

Eat Your Produce: Plantains

I'll admit it. Before this month, I'd never eaten a plantain. Oh, I'd heard of them. I'd seen them occasionally in the grocery store, but who needs a "less sweet banana", right? I preferred my soft, sweet, familiar yellow bananas. But on the Autoimmune Protocol, plantains are a food that many people use in recipes. While bananas are usually eaten raw as a fruit, plantains are starchy and eaten cooked as a vegetable. One half cup of cooked plantain contains only about 90 calories. They are much less sweet than bananas, are a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and fiber, and contain less sugar and also have more vitamins A and C. So I decided to give them a try.

When you buy plantains, they will probably be green. You can cook and eat them like that, but you can't eat them raw. Most of the advice I found online said to let them ripen on the counter until they are yellow with plenty of black. They look like overripe bananas.

ripe plantains

At this point, they are ready to use in recipes. But you don't peel them like a traditional banana; their peels are thicker so it is easier to slice off both ends and cut a line down the length of the peel, like this:

how to peel a plantain

I only use half a plantain at a time. They really filling! Slice it up in thick pieces...

sliced ripe plantain

Heat some oil over medium heat in a skillet. I used coconut oil, but avocado oil works nicely too. I've seen some suggestions to use bacon fat, which actually sounds pretty yummy. Put your slices into the hot oil and let them brown. It only takes a few minutes, and the more ripe your plantain is, the quicker they can burn. Flip them over and brown the other side.

fried plantains, cooked plantain recipe

When both sides are done. remove them to paper towels to drain and cool slightly.

cooked plantains, fried plantain recipe

I like to sprinkle them with a little salt and eat them warm! They make a nice side dish for tri-tip steak:

plantains and beef, AIP autoimmune protocol meal recipe

I actually prefer plantains when they are slightly green and less yellow/black. They have a more meaty texture and starchy feel in the mouth, whereas the more ripened plantains are quite sweet and softer in texture. You can try both and see which suits you.

Try something new today! And I hope you enjoy your plantains!


LovelyDreams said...

Hi, I've recently found your blog. :) I ate a lot of plantains when living in Cameroon, Africa, doing Peace Corps. The green ones were typically used the way rice often is--pour a saucy curry-type dish or gravy-ish meat dish over them. The ripe ones are fried like you did or, my FAVORITE!! roasted on a grill. Yum yum yum.

Lori said...

I ate plantains when I was in Guatemala about a year ago. They were fine, but I didn't enjoy them enough to have them again when I got back home. It seems like they put something sweet on the ones there. I just might try one cooked the way you suggest. I've had success with most of your recipes. I love the cauliflower pizza!

Anonymous said...

I eat fried plantains as a side like potatoes. I put gravy on them and that's delicious, or top them with marinara beef and cheese.

Anonymous said...

Are plantains produce?!?

Anonymous said...

wow haven't seen these in Australia.. All I keep thinking is plaintains are like mother nature's "whoopee cushion", ha ha!

Here's a banana... Nope!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Lyn! I am so happy you are having success and excited about your new diet and synthroid. I've taken synthroid for 30 years, so I can relate. I'm glad it's helping you!

Nan from Phoenix

Anonymous said...

Plantains look yummy, but thats a lot of oil. deep fried anything isn't good. maybe try grilled or roasted?

Betsey C. said...

Are plantains produce? What else would they be??

Thanks for this post, Lyn. I am going to try them!

Michelle Carr said...

Green ones can be sliced lightly fried, put between paper towels, smashed, then fried lightly again. Tostones (plantain chips). You can also cook them like potatoes. :) Yum.