Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! I’m really excited to share a recipe using plantains, since I came to the realization I have yet to do so; this recipe is the perfect example of how excited I get to make healthy eating fun, delicious, and inspiring! Caribbean Plantain & Bean Boats are the epitome of having fun with your food, not only while making it but while eating it. Starchy and slightly sweet plantains are roasted with a bit of coconut oil, then topped with a sweet corn and black bean salad with pops of fresh cilantro, red onion, lime juice, jalapeno, and diced tomatoes. It’s served open faced like my Beachy Papaya Boats and topped with shredded coconut for an extra oomph of the Caribbean. I’ve been enjoying this recipe for weeks as a quick and healthy lunch or dinner since I’ve been so busy finishing up writing the last bit of the cookbook (eeeek!)- I still can’t believe I’m off to San Francisco next week to shoot.
Not so plain, plantains
Plantains look like bananas- many of us wouldn’t look twice yet they’re very different and if you bit into one, you’d know! They’re the starchier sister to the banana containing far more carbohydrates and starch which also make them more dense and grounding, far from creamy and smooth like a banana. Because of the plantains texture, it makes them the perfect vehicle for adding to cooked dishes and baking, frying, boiling, and roasting. I highly recommend cooking all plantains before consuming, they’re way too tough on digestion to eat raw, especially the green plantains. Plantains are higher in potassium than in bananas, and also contain similar vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins (especially B6), vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Not to mention plantains are more calorically dense than bananas making them a great resource for added energy and fuel. When combined in their most traditional cuisine, with rice and beans, plantains offer an energy rich meal that’s incredibly affordable. Plantains, like bananas, have a skin but much tougher so you’ll need to slice the tips off each end and slice into the skin to completely peel rather than pinching an end and peeling the skin like a banana.
I love this entire dish put together but the Black Bean Corn Salad is so good it can be enjoyed by itself or in a couple other ways: topped on a green salad for a makeshift “dressing”, stirred into Classic Cashew Cheese for a fiesta style cheese, topped on romaine lettuce boats with tempeh, grilled fish, quinoa, eggs, as a dip for raw veggies or baked corn tortilla chips, or even used as a garnish in the Sweet Potato Pecan Tacos. Also, I love serving rice alongside this dish with a little fresh lime juice, sea salt, and fresh mint and parsley stirred in. It’s a great balance of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and healthy fats (pop extra avocado on top for a boost in monounsaturated fat).
How to buy and store plantains
If you purchase a green plantain, allow it to ripen and turn yellow on the countertop in direct sunlight if possible (to quicken the process) and turn it daily on each side. I find plantains at a local health food store or even international market.
Batch cook it! I’m beginning to feel like a broken record always talking about batch cooking, but I swear by it. Batch cooking is meal planning and prepping on the weekend for the entire week ahead, so you can easily add this entire recipe to your list. Roast the plantains ahead of time, make the black bean and corn salad and store them all in glass containers- when you’re ready to serve, simply pop the plantains on the skillet to warm through and there you go! The entire dish takes less than 10 minutes to assemble after roasting the plantains.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup organic sweet corn
- 15 ounces (about 2 cups) cooked or canned black beans (well rinsed if using canned)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 jalapeno, chopped
- Juice of 1 small lime
- 2-4 plantains, sliced long ways in half
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the plantains in half longways, sprinkle sea salt on top and a drizzle of olive oil. On a well greased baking sheet with olive oil, lay the sliced in half plantains face side down. Bake for 35 minutes or until fork tender and fragrant.
- In the meantime in a small pot, add coconut oil, minced garlic, and red onion to cook for about 7 minutes or until red onion and garlic are slightly brown. Add sweet corn, black beans, tomatoes, ground cumin, sea salt, black pepper, and jalapeno. Cook for 10 minutes adjusting seasonings to taste.
- Once the plantains have finished baking, remove the skin and plate the cooked flesh of the plantain on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, top with the black bean and corn salad, garnish with fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, and fresh lime juice. Enjoy hot or warm.
- If you have additional black bean and corn salad, store in an airtight container for up to a week. Bake 1 plantain per person and adjust how many you use here depending on that or just keep extra leftover!
in other news…
Next week I head out to San Francisco to shoot the entire cookbook, over 120 recipes with so much more to offer than that. I’m so excited since I’ve never been to California before! If you live in San Francisco or have been there, please comment (even though many of you did on Instagram already) on where I should go, what to do, etc.; if we have the time! Also, if you’re a brand or company in SF and want to say hi, shoot me an email at [email protected]
I hope you all enjoy these and have fun with it and I hope you have a fun week celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Tag #nutritionstripped so I can see your creations!