If you’re not used to cooking with this starchy fruit, you might not know just how many great plantain recipes there are out there.
Plantains are almost like a cross between a banana and a sweet potato, making them great in both sweet and savory dishes.
They’re popular in island countries and in tropical regions.
They can be boiled, baked, fried, or mashed, and depending on the color of their skin, they can be mild and savory or lovely and sweet.
I’ve had them crispy with nothing more than a touch of sea salt or coated in sugar and caramelized before serving with ice cream.
But I’d never had them with nachos before! What a treat!
Just remember that you’ll want to cut off the ends and use a sharp knife to cut down the middle to peel them.
Trying to peel them like a banana is quite a chore.
1. Plantain Fufu
This unusual dish is made using blended and cooked green plantains.
It doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor and is usually served alongside a soup or stew, such as obe ata.
It’s made by blending chopped green plantains with a little water until smooth. This then gets cooked on the stove and beaten with a wooden spoon.
After around 10 minutes, the mix will turn elastic and stretchy.
2. Easy and Delicious Plantain Bread
This recipe certainly looks like your average banana bread recipe, but it won’t taste quite the same.
Though you’ll use many of the same ingredients and the same method, plantains are not as sweet as bananas, so your bread with have a more mellow flavor in the end.
However, it is still sweet, thanks to the sugar and vanilla.
If you want it sweeter, try using coconut milk and adding chocolate chips or caramel to the mix.
3. Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos
I think these tacos might be my favorite on this list.
Trying to find new and exciting meatless Monday meals has been tough recently, but this recipe has given me my groove back!
You’ll use ripe plantains, so they’re nice and sweet, but then they’ll get coated in cinnamon, cayenne, and cumin for a warm and spicy finish.
If you want to, you can use these with chicken or beef tacos, too.
But I think they work especially well with the spicy black beans and this spicy mango salsa.
4. Crispy Salted Tostones
Tostones are crispy, flattened plantain chips that are eaten all over the Caribbean and Latin America.
Since they’re salted, you’ll need green, unripe plantains rather than the sweeter yellow kind.
The double fry will ensure these are as crispy as possible and don’t be shy with the sea salt at the end!
5. Caribbean Plantain & Avocado Salad
This great little dish makes such a nice change to the standard, fatty potato salads we see at every BBQ, all summer long!
Since most grocery stores only sell green plantains, you’ll need to pick them up a few days before you need this salad.
Let them sit and ripen in the sun so you can fry them up and caramelize the slices.
6. Crazy Easy Pan-Fried Plantain Pattie
These plantain patties are a terrific gluten-free option to serve alongside your morning eggs or with some juicy pork tenderloin.
They’re filling, tasty, and can easily take the place of your favorite potato side dish.
They still contain carbs, but they also have way more vitamins and minerals.
If you have super ripe plantains, you can even add some chocolate chips and serve these like little pancakes.
Or, if your plantains are more green, try adding some corn to the mix and grating over a little Parmesan cheese.
7. Empanadas de Plátano Maduro (Ripe Plantain Empanadas with Cheese)
Empanadas are typically made with a pie-like pastry. This twist on the classic adds plantains to the mix for added flavor and nutrients.
You can keep these simple with the cheese or take them up a notch with a bit of guava paste. I promise you won’t regret it!
8. Sweet Plantain Gnocchi with Garlic Brown Butter
Plantains are very similar to potatoes, so it makes sense you could use them to make gnocchi.
The dough is a quick mix of mashed and cooked plantains with ricotta, salt, pepper, and flour.
Start mixing in a bowl, but then you’ll want to finish by kneading it on the counter.
Since the plantains are already cooked, the gnocchi just needs a few minutes in hot water to puff up and float to the top. That’s how you’ll know they’re done.
9. 3-Ingredient Plantain Tortillas
I have to admit that I don’t always love corn tortillas. They can be a touch dry for my liking, which is why I almost always stick to flour.
But these plantain tortillas are just the right amount of soft and sturdy.
Oh, and they’re gluten-free to boot!
10. Mashed Plantains—Sweet & Savory
So, these aren’t the same as mashed potatoes. They’re not creamy and smooth, but rather chunky and funky.
I love the texture, but if you’re looking for a velvety smooth mashed potato substitute, you’ll need to work at your plantains for a little longer and add in some cream to help get the right texture.
Also, plantains are very starchy, so you need to add a lot of flavor to the mix (unlike mashed potatoes, which would be okay with just butter and salt).
11. Sweet & Smoky Plantain Stew
This stew is kind of hard to describe.
It’s a little like a chili, with the cumin, bell peppers, and beans, but it’s also light and tropical thanks to the coconut milk, lime juice, and plantains.
I used canned tomatoes with green chilis for a little extra heat, and I skipped out the olives, which I just felt would overpower the overall taste of the dish.
12. Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
I’m sure you’ve seen lasagna made with thin strips of zucchini, right? But have you ever seen it made with plantain? I hadn’t either.
You’ll need to make a batch of Cuban-style picadillo (stewed ground beef), or I’ve made this in the past with leftover pulled pork.
The plantains paired perfectly with the sweet and tangy BBQ sauce.
13. Coconut Sugar Caramelized Plantains
Looking for a simple, healthy-ish dessert you can have ready in minutes? Then these caramelized plantains are for you.
Of course, you need extra-ripe plantains for this. I’m talking about the ones that are black and spotted.
If you don’t have coconut sugar, go ahead and use regular brown sugar (white if it’s all you have).
Just keep an eye on it, as the cooking time will vary.
14. Baked Plantain Chips
I can’t tell you how often I get one of those salty-sweet cravings where I want chips and chocolate all at the same time.
That’s why I love these baked plantain chips. If you use ripe plantains and sprinkle them with sea salt, you get the best of both worlds.
These are best when sliced nice and thin.
15. Baked Plantains
Unlike the recipe above, these are thick and have a little more texture to them. Sure the coating is crisp, but the middle is more tender.
Leave them plain and dip them in something yummy, or sprinkle over anything from cayenne to cinnamon, depending on your mood.
16. Traditional Plantain Mofongo
Hailing from Puerto Rico, this dish is a mix of mashed, green plantains with garlic and crackling pork rinds.
It’s filling enough to eat on its own, but I like it with a protein on the side. I’ve even had it dropped in a soup, kind of like a plantain dumpling.
17. Plantain Nachos
If you were wondering what you would do with a whole batch of salted plantain chips, I’ve got you covered.
Instead of using high-calorie tortilla chips, why not use plantain chips to hold all that nacho goodness?
This sort of dish would be best with the green plantain chips.
Although, if you were topping your nachos with pulled pork, the sweet kind would work, too.
18. Vegan Plantain Brownies
Just like bananas will add moisture to your baked good, plantains can be used in the same way.
But unlike bananas, plantains won’t add a ton of sweetness to the mix. For a brownie recipe, that’s actually a good thing.
Instead of an overwhelming banana taste, these are more subtle and taste even more decadent.
19. Chocolate Chip Plantain Cookies
Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and they’re easy to make? What more do you need?
These won’t taste like the cookies you get from the store, but if you have dietary restrictions or are looking for something low in sugar, these are well worth a try.
They’re a little fudgy, a little cakey, and totally irresistible.
20. Healthy Plantain Muffins
I made these the other day hoping to have them for breakfast for a few days. Needless to say, they did not last that long!
I was floored by how good they came out. They’re tender, sweet, moist, and full of dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans (they’re not in the recipe, but I added the chocolate and pecans for fun).
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