Plantains: the Other, Other Vegetable

I’m going to go ahead and count today as my first time time cooking with plantains.

Me with a Plantain

(I’m smiling in the photo, but am also a little afraid)

Cooking with Plantains

Ok, so there was the one Mexican party we threw when I made an awesome slow-cooked chicken and plantain dish… but that was years ago.

And there was also two weeks ago, when I decided to use a plantain as the “banana” in my banana-egg-chia pancake. Don’t ever, ever do that. The trash can thought it was delicious 😉

So. Plantains.


They kind of look like giant bruised bananas. If they’re cooked the right way, they can taste amaaaaaazing, but if they’re not cooked the right way (or even worse: not cooked at all), they have a little bit of a hard time being palatable.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a huge increase in plantain popularity, especially around the blogwebs. Why is this? It’s because plantains are technically considered vegetables, despite their fruity appearance. (This is where the Paleo folks rejoice and stock up on the sweet veggie.)

What are Plantains?

A little bit about plantains:

-Plantains contain more starch and less sugar than a banana and are intended to be consumed after cooking. They’re especially popular in Latin American and African cuisine, and especially lovely fried or baked with cinnamon. They can also be grilled.

-Think of a plantain more like a sweet potato than a banana. They make a nice starchy side dish and can be sweet or savory.

-Plantains fruit all year, and are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and potassium.

-The plantain is at its ripest and sweetest point when the skin is black. When the skin is green, it is more starchy and less sweet. Medium ripeness is a yellowish skin with black spots.

Baked Plantains

Today, I decided to stick with the classic. I peeled the plantains, cut them on a diagonal, and baked for 30 minutes at 350 after topping with coconut oil, salt and pepper.

An awesome, crunchy afternoon snack:

oven baked plantains

Recipe ideas:

-Oven baked sweet plantains

Coconut rice with black beans, plantains and mango salsa 

-BBQ plantain chips

-Chicken and plantain stew

Sweet plantain lasagna


Paleo breakfast bake

-Plantain and sweet potato mash

Have you tried plantains? Any favorite dishes or awesome recipes?

Plantains are a lovely starchy vegetable that make an excellent, healthy side dish. Try this easy recipe for baked plantains.

Any kitchen fails lately? 🙂

Hope you’re having a wonderful day! <3




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  1. Tricia @ Balance In Progress on February 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I actually bought a plantain earlier this week to attempt making my own plantain chips. I have been loving the ones from Trader Joes. They taste great with guacamole.

  2. Cassie Vaughn on February 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I’ve been too scared to try them. But maybe I will give baking them like chips a shot!

  3. Michelle on February 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    My husband is from Trinidad and loves plantains. They often cooked with them back home. I never even knew what they were till we got married. He will either fry them plain, or throw them in sancoche (like a big stewy soup with lots of veggies, meat) where they seem to just melt. I prefer them just plain fried in a little oil. Delish!

  4. Becky @ Life Outside The BOX on February 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Plantains are huge down here in Miami! The latin culture usually fries them but I love them grilled or baked!

  5. Lex @ Flecks of Lex on February 13, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I absolutely love plantains! The key is picking the right kind! When I lived in Costa Rica, I developed a love for platanos maduros (the sweet plantains) which are the ones that look like they’re about to go bad. Put them in a pan with a little bit of oil, and grill them up. They’re delicious! I’m not a big fan of the plantains that haven’t ripened yet, unless they’re fried into chips.

  6. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on February 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Yes! I love plantains! I had them for the first time in Costa Rica and fell in love. My husband is obsessed with them. I rarely see them in restaurants but I think we need to start cooking some at home!

  7. Melo on February 13, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Love them! Try making a “Mangú”, a staple dish from the Dominican Republic that uses the green-skinned plantains. Think of it as mashed potatoes, but using plantains. The only other ingredients you add are butter, salt and water from the boiling pot until you get the right texture. On the side, put some oil in a pan and soften some red onions with a little salt and vinegar. Once ready, pour that into the mash and mix well. Serve with some fried eggs, although I prefer it with something wetter like avocados, since the Mangú gets drier as it gets cooler. Enjoy!

  8. Diana on February 13, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Plantains are so normal for me, it’s weird to see them as such a big deal on the blogosphere. I like a ripe plantain nuked in the microwave. It’s fast and yummy

  9. Mary Ann on February 14, 2014 at 12:13 am

    I looooove plantains! I studied in Costa Rica one summer and they were served with everything. I’ve never cooked them myself though, maybe I will give it a go!

  10. T on February 14, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Next time, try waiting until the skin turns completely black. It’ll take a bit of time, but the sweetness and soft texture is worth it. I usually sear them in a non-stick skillet with a tiny amount of coconut oil and serve with Puerto Rican rice & black beans.

  11. Sarah Ford on February 14, 2014 at 3:50 am

    I’ve never cooked my own, but I spent a month in Costa Rica last July, and got seriously addicted to them. They’re so delicious!!!

    Think it might be time to get back into them- I’ve been missing their savoury sweetness for too long now.

  12. Cristy on February 14, 2014 at 9:19 am

    The yellow ones are delicious boiled!

  13. Shaina Anderson on February 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    oh man, this reminds me of our honeymoon in Costa Rica. Plantains with breakfast, lunch and dinner. sooooooo good. I think its time to make some gallo pinto and sweet plantains over here. 🙂

  14. Erja on September 18, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Oh man, this brings back memories from when I used to live in a heavily Hispanic (mostly Dominican) neighborhood in upper Manhattan in NYC, where every Chinese take-out place also sells fried “tostones”. Love them! Though not to be mistaken as a health food 😉 To make them at home, just peel green plantains and cut them slightly diagonal into about 1/2 inch slices. Pour a generous amount of oil into a non-stick pan and fry the slices on both sides until they are golden. Take out of the pan and then smash each slice a bit on a cutting board with a wide wooden spatula. Then you throw the flattened slices back into the frying pan until they get slightly browned. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve with a mixture of oil and crushed garlic. Heaven!

    • Fitnessista on September 18, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      omg i LOVE tostones. i’ll definitely try this method- thank you!

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