Plantains are basically a banana's fraternal twin—darn close to each other, but still different in important and unique ways. Plus, you can do so much with this fruit, as evident by these plentiful plantain recipes.
Plantain Food Facts
1 of 9All photos
Residents of Africa, South America, and Central America—all huge consumers of plantains—are on to something. One medium plantain has 218 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. It provides 54 percent of your daily value of vitamin C and 25 percent of your potassium needs, making it an underrated tropical superfood. In fact, one medium plantain packs in double the potassium and more than three times as much vitamin C as a banana (!!).
Ready to give them a try? Good. Just keep in mind that, because of their starchy nature, plantains are pretty high in carbohydrates and sugar. So when you're preparing plantains in a meal, seek out nutritionally balanced options (with protein and healthy fats), such as these healthy plantain recipes. (Also consider throwing some plantains into your next homemade trail mix.)
Photo: anand purohit / Getty Images
Easy Breakfast Hash with Plantains and Chimichurri
2 of 9All photos
Because they're like a mash-up between a potato and a banana, plantains are served cooked to soften their tough texture and bring out the fruit's natural sugars. (Ripe plantains can be enjoyed raw, though, since starches mature into sugar as the fruit ages, cooking makes it more palatable.)
They make a perfect swap for spuds in this beat-the-clock breakfast hash that takes just 15 minutes from start to finish. Keep the tropical vibes going with coconut oil, cilantro, and Thai basil that flavor the chimichurri and sautéed sausage mixture.
Get the recipe: Easy Breakfast Hash with Plantains and Chimichurri
Related: Put the rest of your dozen to good use with these three unique egg muffin recipes.
Photo: Simple Roots Wellness
Flourless Paleo Plantain Waffles
3 of 9All photos
Fun fact: Underripe plantains pack enough sturdy starch to replace wheat. For this healthy plantain recipe, blend plantains, avocado oil, eggs, and a few seasonings into a batter that puffs up perfectly in the waffle iron—and is sturdy enough to hold a pile of toppings. Try loading on:
- 1 cup of spinach + 1 poached egg + 1 slice of cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1/4 avocado, mashed + 1/4 mango, cubed + 1 tablespoon pistachios, chopped + 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/2 avocado, sliced thin + 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 cup spinach sautéed in 1/2 teaspoon oil + 2 ounces cooked sliced steak + 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
Get the recipe: Flourless Paleo Plantain Waffles
Photo: Easy GF Recipes
Cuban Black Beans and Rice with Roasted Peppers and Plantains
4 of 9All photos
Seek out the brownest plantains in the produce aisle to roast for these colorful bowls (that just happen to be vegan and gluten-free). That way, this plantain recipe (a baked version of usually fried tostones) will be sweet and fork-tender—a lovely partner to the spicy black beans and earthy rice.
Get the recipe: Cuban Black Beans and Rice with Plantains
Photo: Well Plated
Sweet Plantain Lasagna
5 of 9All photos
Several traditional plantain recipes call for twice-frying the fruit for crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside results. This creative casserole calls for boiling whole plantains (peel and all) to score similarly textured flesh—minus the fat that comes with frying. Slice into long, thin pieces to layer up in place of lasagna noodles with lean beef for a tropical twist on the classic Italian dish.
Get the recipe: Sweet Plantain Lasagna
Photo: The Healthy Foodie
Crockpot Cuban Pork Tacos with Fried Plantains
6 of 9All photos
Think of this taco filling like a Cuban version of tacos al pastor. A zesty herb-and-spice blend and citrus juice infuse each bite of the slow-cooked pork loin with loads and flavor and moisture. The pan-fried plantain topping (alongside avocado, cilantro, cabbage, and feta) cranks up the Cuban factor.
Get the recipe: Crockpot Cuban Pork Tacos with Fried Plantains
Photo: Cotter Crunch
Spicy Rainbow Salad
7 of 9All photos
Instead of croutons, this vibrant tropical salad is crowned with sautéed plantain cubes. Talk about a painless way to sneak in an extra serving of produce! Plus, cooking the plantain pieces in a bit of butter is the only cooking required to bring this refreshing and simple dinner salad to the table.
Get the recipe: Spicy Rainbow Salad with Plantains
Related: Keep the island vibes going with these perfect post-workout pineapple recipes.
Photo: How Sweet Eats
Black Bean Cilantro Lime Rice Bowls with Plantains
8 of 9All photos
For DIY plantain chips to top these unique Buddha bowls, cook plantain coins in a cast-iron skillet with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Let them sizzle for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for 5 minutes more. Then they'll be all set to join the party with cilantro-lime brown rice, spicy black beans, and diced mango.
Get the recipe: Black Bean Rice Bowls with Plantains
Photo: Emilie Eats
Paleo Plantain Chips
9 of 9All photos
Why spend $5+ for a bag of plain ol' plantain chips when you can make your own in just 10 minutes? Going homemade allows you to customize the seasonings, the cooking oil, and the thickness of the chips to be a perfect match for how and where you're enjoying them. Just don't forget a light sprinkle of salt to complement the sweetness of the plantains.
Get the recipe: Paleo Plantain Chips
Related: Here's the difference between paleo and keto.
Photo: Paleo Gluten Free