Plantains Explained

8:11 PM

What is a plantain? A nice little tropical treat that happens to be a good source of carbohydrates and soluble fiber. No, it's not a banana..

When you start counting your macros (short for macronutrients), ie; carbohydrates, proteins and fats, you start to scrutinize the foods that contain them. I found that I was really putting a little more thought into where they were coming from and how they would fill a block (more on that later) and my plate.

So when considering carb sources, you want to be sure to utilize a quality source such as sweet potatoes, acorn squash and those mysterious plantains. 

Like sweet potatoes, they are a good source of soluble fiber and pack a nice punch of micronutrients such as Chromium, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Manganese and Copper. They are also high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium and Vitamin B6. 

The nutrition breakdown notes that a medium plantain (about 179g) provides:
218 calories
57g carbohydrates
4.1 g of fiber,
and even a couple grams of protein.

If your watching the glycemic index, they are listed as higher due to the starchy nature, with 27g of sugar, similar to a banana. 

Now that all the important stuff if out of the way.. here's what you do with them: 

  • If you have an unripe, or green plantain, you should fry or boil them. They make for great chips when baked, (the starches are noticeable at this point). 

  • If you have a yellow plantain with black spots and is firm but gives with pressure, it's getting riper and a little sweeter, so grill or bake them. I love to wait til the black spots cover most of the plantain then fry them, this is the recipe I'm sharing today. 

  • If they are completely black, they are at their sweetest, these are great for baking with, using more like a dessert and incorporating into recipes like you would a banana. 

Plantains offer a nice little tropical hit to just about anything. Here's the super simple latin-inspired dish, an unexpected bowl of deliciousness:

Latin Plantains: 

What you need:
1-2 ripe Plantains, sliced
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coconut-lime finishing salt or sea salt
Juice of 1 lime

1. Heat the coconut oil in medium frying pan about 3 minutes until hot

2. Add plantains carefully, placing each one flat in the bottom of the pan.

3. Cook 2-3 mins until the first side is golden. Flip plantains.

4. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Note: the sugars in plantains can cause them to go from golden and delicious to black and burnt in an instant, keep an eye on them.

5.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with cumin and finishing salt and add the lime juice. Stir to distribute.


I have also taken the route that I take with my apples, and added some apple pie spice and vanilla extract, for a little more cinnamon and richness of a dessert.


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