13 delicious ways to prepare plantains


Plantain chips, photo by Dtarazona

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When it comes to healthy carbs — yes, there is such a thing — plantains are the fruit for you. They look like bananas, except they are more difficult to peel and have to be cooked. Green plantains are savory, while their yellow, or ripe, counterparts are sweet. According to Livestrong, they are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Best of all, plantains are delicious, regardless of whether they are green or yellow. Here are 13 delicious ways to prepare them.  


1. Plantain and coconut plantains

Plantain and coconut pancakes

The Healthy Foodie claims to have nothing to say about these Paleo-friendly plantain and coconut plantains because they are just that awesome (it's true, they are!), but does add that they are nutritious, completely grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free.


2. Plantain socca flatbread

Plantain socca flatbread

Purely Twins came up with this recipe for plantain socca flatbread because the twin co-bloggers no longer eat beans or legumes. This Paleo, legume-free, egg-free, grain-free socca flatbread recipe uses plantains instead of garbanzo bean flour. Purely Twins recommends that you use green plantains instead of ripe ones.


3. Grain-free maple plantain cake with caramel sauce

Maple plantain cake

Ditch the Wheat came up with this recipe for grain-free maple plantain cake (with caramel sauce) quite by accident — which happens to be one of our favorite reasons. Blogger Carol Lovett bought green plantains to make plantain chips and forgot all about them until they had already ripened. And what do you do with ripe plantains? You make amazing desserts.  


4. Baked plantain chips

Baked plantain chips

Speaking of plantain chips, here’s Tasty Kitchen’s savory recipe for baked plantain chips. Instead of slicing green plantains thin and deep-frying them — which, granted, is delicious — you toss the slices in a bowl; add olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper; and bake them.


5. Cheese-filled plantain and corn fritters

Cheese-filled plantain and corn fritters

Hispanic Kitchen’s recipe for cheese-filled plantain and corn fritters also came about because green plantains meant for tostones ripened to yellow despite blogger Sonia Mendez Garcia’s best intentions to prepare them while they were still green. Garcia demonstrates that ripe plantains can be used successfully in savory recipes, not just in desserts.


6. Patacones or tostones

Patacones or tostones

Laylita’s Recipes serves up this batch of thicker green plantain chips. These are not sliced thin, but rather about an inch thick, and smashed with a plantain masher or the bottom of a plate. Laylita shares two techniques to get this done: twice-fried or boiled and then fried. I learned to make these twice-fried. You let the oil get very hot and carefully add the 1-inch slices of plantain. Remove carefully once you can pierce with a fork, dunk in salt water, mash, and very carefully add to oil again until they are a vibrant gold. Regardless of which method you use, these are fried, so you don’t want to make them a regular part of your diet. But they are definitely worth trying at least once.


7. Fried plantains redux

Fried plantains

Laylita fried her plantains while they were still green, but Hilah Cooking let her plantains start to ripen. As plantains ripen, they start to go sweet, so this isn’t a repeated recipe. Additionally, while the fried plantains Laylita serves up are typically served as a side dish, Hilah Cooking serves up her version as appetizers, pairing them with his delightful creamy hatch chili sauce or some pico de gallo. Yum!


8. Mangú


Dominican Flavor shares this recipe for mangú, or mashed plantains, which is a typical side dish in the Dominican Republic, commonly topped with red onions and served with fried salami. And because there is obvious overlap in cuisine across the Caribbean and the Americas, you find versions of this dish elsewhere, such as Cuba.


9. Baked plantain with cheese

Baked plantain with cheese

Laylita’s Recipes returns with this healthier recipe for platano asado con queso, a dish that my grandmother used to make, much to my delight. Popular in South America, particularly Ecuador and Colombia, this recipe requires ripe plantains, which you slice down the center, stuff with queso blanco (mozzarella will do in a pinch) and bake. A similar recipe to this one is the Colombian aborrajado, which is more of a plantain fritter, stuffed with mozzarella and deep fried.


10. Ripe plantains stuffed with chorizo and cheese

Ripe plantains stuffed with chorizo and cheese

My Colombian Recipes takes the classic baked plantain with cheese recipe and plays with it, adding savory chorizo to the cheese, baking and serving with creamy avocado yogurt sauce.


11. Mofongo


This Puerto Rican dish is made with fried green plantains that are mashed with garlic and chicharron, or fried pork rinds. Don’t worry, you can substitute the pork rinds with bacon. It’s very similar to mangú.


12. Sancocho


A Colombian staple throughout most of the country is sancocho, a thick soup packed with corn on the cob, potato, yucca and plantains, and pretty much any type of fish, fowl or meat, including beef, pork or oxtail. Check out this recipe by My Colombian Recipes, which is so good it will make Colombian ex-pats instantaneously nostalgic for home. This is not a light soup, and yet is typically served with avocado and white rice (as if you needed more food after one bowl!). You may well decide to skip the extras, which is fine, but don’t forget the ají (Colombian hot sauce).


13. Pastelón


El Boricua serves up pastelón, a typical Puerto Rican dish that can only be described as lasagna made with plantains instead of pasta.