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Eat Well May. 5. 2015
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Caribbean Plantain & Bean Boats

May. 5. 2015
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McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder

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.

 

Caribbean Plantain & Bean Boats
Recipe Type: entree
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-4
A naturally gluten free and meatless entree utilizing carbohydrate rich plantains and a bean corn salad topping.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

xx McKel

The Recipe

Serves 2-4

Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

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  • Breanna

    This looks so good! I randomly bought plantains the other day, and I’ve never tried them before. I will have to try this recipe!

  • I love plantains!

  • Bette

    I’m lucky in that I’ve been to San Francisco probably 25 times for work. The coolest thing, by far, that I ever did was to take the ferry from SF to Sausalito (by way of Alcatraz, if time permits) and then walk back to SF across the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a pedestrian path that runs the entire way and it is just an unbelievable experience. If the weather is nice, you will have amazing views the entire way. I’m a little afraid of heights, so I want to add that it wasn’t scary at all —

  • Bette

    I’m lucky in that I’ve been to San Francisco probably 25 times for work. The coolest thing, by far, that I’ve ever done there was to take the ferry from downtown SF across to Sausalito (by way of Alcatraz Island, if you have time) and then walk back to SF across the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a once in a lifetime experience and provides the most amazing views. I’m a little afraid of heights, so if you are, too, I’ll add that it was NOT SCARY at all. The pedestrian footpath runs the entire way and is completely safe.

    • That you so much for sharing that Bette! I’ll definitely walk the bridge and check it out- thank you again!

  • Vanessa

    Hi! I live in SF (I’m a fifth generation native!) and I’m so excited you are coming! I’m sure you have already had tons of people tell you where to go to great great food (there are so many amazing places here) but if you’re looking for a beautiful outdoor space, visit the Sutro Bath ruins at the end of Sunset Beach. It’s national park land, and there is an amazing hiking trail (called the Land’s End hiking trail) that gives you stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the North Bay landscape. I love by Sutro Baths/The Cliffhouse (a famous restaurant right next to them) and this will always be my go-to place to bring visitors. Plus they have great little visitors center. Here’s a link:http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/lands-end.html Hope you have a great visit!

    • OOO thank you so much for sharing that! Yes, as much as I love food, I think we’ll be set with eating with all 120 recipes I’m shooting- I’m excited to get outdoors and do something else. I’ll definitely make note of that 🙂

  • Thank you McKel, I made this tonight coming home at 10pm from work, it was super quick to make and absolutely delicious. It was a treat to think even though I worked late, and my husband even later, we got to sit down to a real meal that tasted delicious and was nutritionally balanced.

  • Sara

    I would be surprised if it hasn’t already been mentioned but Gracias Madre in the Mission has the most incredible vegan, Mexican food, and I think they even grow a bunch of their food on their own farm! I had a beet juice cocktail which was delicious, Guac and chips, a mojado style tamal, and we shared a fruit cobbler and flan for dessert. Every mouthful was incredible!
    In terms of places to visit, I really enjoyed Alcatraz (great if you time it right to get a free tour on the history) and Muir Woods national monument.

    • YES! I keep hearing amazing things about Mission- I’m going to go with everyone comments about it- beet juice cocktail sounds like an amazing way to celebrate! Thank you Sara <3

  • i have actually never had a plantain before… what?! So excited to try this recipe. Best of luck in SF!!! So excited to see the cookbook and everything you have crafted. xo

  • This looks amazing!! Plantains are my favorite childhood food… the sweetness is amazing. I’m always looking for healthier ways to make it… pinning! Enjoy San Fran, I’ve never been either!

  • ashley

    This an absolutely delicous recipie! I can not say enough about how these ingredients come together to make a beyond tasty flavorful dish!

  • Carrie

    Tried these tonight and they were a hit! I was worried about my husband not being crazy about them but he loved them. And although my picky eaters didn’t devour the plantains, they did eat a little and loved the toppings. It was their first time eating plantains so I am just happy they tried them. Lots of flavor and I didn’t even have cilantro on hand so I know that will add even more yumminess!

  • Trevor

    I made this dish tonight. I modified the spices a fair bit to fit what I had around the house, but the spirit was the same. It turned out fantastically, and I will make it again for sure.

    I have just two comments. First, I wasn’t sure how ripe the plantains should be. I just gambled and I guess I won. Mine were black, but still firm. Second, I was apprehensive about baking them and still getting it from the baking sheet to the plate in one piece. Leaving the skin on certainly helped, and I was pleasantly surprised when the skin came right off after baking. I don’t remember ever baking plantains before, and I certainly don’t remember the skin thing.

    In general, this recipe has inspired me to get more into plantains. I guess I was just getting sick of cooking them with brown sugar for a dessert.

    • McKel Hill

      So glad you enjoyed these Trevor- it’s a good switch up from the normal sweet dessert recipe!

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