Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sweet and Savory Plantains

Plantains - those huge "bananas" often located near other tropical fruits such as mangoes and coconuts in the grocery store - are not only tasty, they are incredibly nutritious. They are high in fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A and C. Unlike bananas, plantains cannot be eaten raw, in other words they must be cooked. Green, unripe plantains are very starchy, much like a potato. As they ripen, the fruit becomes much sweeter, though it remains quite firm. The flavor of a cooked, ripe plantain tastes kind of like a banana, but it also has a special tropical taste, a hint of pineapple flavor perhaps. Our favorite way to cook plantains is to season them lightly with cinnamon and cumin and then saute or grill them - it is super easy! Their sweet and starchy qualities make them an excellent accompaniment to spicy Latino food. If you've never tried plantains - I strongly encourage you to add them to your repertoire!

Sweet and Savory Plantains (Serves 3-4 as a side):
2 Large Plantains (we prefer the sweeter ripe ones)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1) Remove the peel from the plantains - they don't peel as easily as bananas, you will need to cut a slit all the way down the length of the plantain to remove the peel. Cut the plantain on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick for sauteing, 1 inch thick for grilling.

2) Coat the plantain slices in a olive oil. Sprinkle them evenly with the spices. For grilling, thread the slices onto bamboo skewers

3) For sauteing: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, coat the pan with a bit of oil. Cook the plantains 3-5 minutes per side until well browned.
For grilling: Cook the plantain skewers over medium-high (direct) heat 3-5 minutes per side until well browned. Serve warm.

*We served our plantains with a chunky avocado salsa - 1 large tomato diced, 1 avocado diced, 1/2 red onion diced, 1 jalapeno minced, a handful of cilantro minced, juice of 1 lime, and sea salt to taste.

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!


  1. Wow! These look great! I love plantains...it's like dessert for dinner!

  2. Jessica - Thanks so much for stopping by! The cumin and salt make the plantains a bit more savory than the typical dessert, but there is definetly a pleasant sweetness :) Kind of like having sweet potatoes, winter squash, or beets - naturally sweet veggies can really perk up a meal!

  3. I love plantains! I've never cooked them myself but I might have to try.

  4. Now you guys are really making me miss Puerto Rico! These look delicious!

    Cocina Diary

  5. Maria - Sorry to make you home sick! But, we are so happy we get to enjoy food from your culture right here in the USA - I'm sure it is not nearly as good though :)

  6. I LOVE plantains! I've never even thought of trying to make them myself. They always look so exotic! Thanks for sharing : )

  7. What a great dessert, I can almost taste this with some nice ice cream, yummy! Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!

  8. Lisa - they are very easy, you should definetly try them!

    Miz Helen - we actually eat these as a side dish or appetizer, but without the cumin (and avocado salad) they would be a nice dessert, especially with a little ice cream :)