In Praise of Plantains


Since arriving in Ecuador two and half years ago, I’ve sniffed out the best chocolate, as I may have mentioned 2,768 times previously. I have managed to eat avocados nearly each day. I have also really taken to papaya. For much of my time here, though, I have been walking briskly past gold in the produce section of the grocery store, but I have recently been enlightened to the dozens of delicious uses for plantain. I think the following will also inspire you to slide a few of those super-sized, seemingly unripe bananas into your cart on your next trip to the market and dazzle some dinner guests, or simply give your own taste-buds a sensational experience.

I suggest waking up to some sweet plantains as you begin the day with a breakfast starring The Healthy Foodie’s Plantain Coconut Pancakes.

To pair with lunch, (double) fry up Laylita’s Patacones. I love munching on these smashed medallions most with seafood and rice, but they are also delectable with a black bean dip or with a bit of hot sauce on top.

For your at-home happy hour, mash up Against All Grain’s Sweet Plantain Guacamole. Dip in some tortilla chips for a traditional dunk, or dive in with some carrot sticks and cucumbers.

In Latin fashion, dinner’s first course is a soup. Here I suggest Food Network’s Ingrid Hoffmann’s Plantain Soup.

The main course puts a spin on traditional rice with Inspiralized’s Plantain “Rice” and Beans.

To top this all off, end the evening on a sweet note with Sunwarrior’s Plantains with Coconut Whipped Cream.

After eating your weight in plantains, you will be delighted to learn that they boast notable nutrients. This vegetable is a source of fiber, beta-carotene, calcium and vitamin C. Really, we know everything in moderation, so it would be wise to make plantains a part of your balanced meals.

A final note: A friend who has gone completely gluten-free has found that banana flour is a fantastic one-to-one substitute for regular flour, especially in baking. As I was noshing on rich chocolate brownies just this afternoon that she made, I can vouch that banana flour is worthy of praise. The brownies did not taste banana-y. I never would have guessed that the flours had been switched; all I tasted was rich fudgy-ness.

The moral of this post: Don’t pass up the plantains!

Eat Nutrition

About Jamie Bacigalupo

Having first traveled from her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to live in Quito, Ecuador, she decided to give the East a run and is now a resident of Shenzhen, China. She earned her degree in Communication Arts/Literature and Communication and Secondary Education from Gustavus Adolphus College and is enthusiastically exploring Asia by teaching abroad. She digs hanging out with her students by weekday, and relishes finding new restaurants to eat authentic Chinese food and finding new hiking paths on the weekends. In addition to sticking her nose in a book to recover from an intense workday, Jamie also loves exploring all manner of flavors in the kitchen, especially when she is whipping up some recipes for her friends and family.