Ask a MD or registered dietitian for tips on everything from boosting your metabolism and healthy weight loss to keeping your digestive system running smoothly and lowering inflammation, and chances are they’ll immediately say the F word: fiber. Basically, fiber is everything. You probably already know that leafy greens and plant-based proteins like lentils are good sources of the nutrient, but there’s another, totally underrated way to get your fiber fill: plantains.
Eying plantains in the produce section, they look like banana’s big brother, but there are actually some key differences between the two. Plantains definitely don’t taste as sweet; they’re also more starchy, like a potato. Because of that, they’re often cooked and not eaten raw the way bananas are.
Their nutrient profiles are different, too. Because plantains aren’t as sweet, they have less sugar than bananas (6 grams per plantain compared to 17 grams per large banana, to be exact). They also have more vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium than bananas. One plantain also has 37 grams of carbs, making it a great post-workout recovery snack. Oh, and about the fiber: One plantain has 6 grams (about 25 percent of your recommended daily intake).
Okay, so clearly plantains are worth a little attention. But what exactly do you do with them? After all, you don’t really want to take a big bite out of ’em raw like you would a banana. Well, consider your research done. Check out these 10 healthy plantain recipes so you can reap all those glorious benefits with ease.
Scroll down for 10 healthy plantain recipes.
Because plantains are starchy, they work well in gluten-free recipes, like in this hot cross bun recipe by Unconventional Baker blogger Audrey Snowe. She explains that she received a request for a recipe free from many allergens, including starches, yeast, and gums—all of which are typically found in GF flours. When combined with brown rice flour, the plantains did just the trick!
Minimalist Baker’s Dana Shultz uses plantains are the starring ingredient in these crowd-pleasing arepa sandwiches, which she fills with black beans, red cabbage, and guac. Arepa is made of ground maize dough and is a staple in Colombia and Venezuela, just like plantains. Savory, spice, *and* sweet, this meal will make all your tastebuds happy.
Who says PSL is only for fall? This decidedly not basic recipe gives you a Paleo, gluten-free, vegan snack to nom on whenever you’re craving something crunchy. Bake the plantains in coconut oil for an extra hint of sweetness.
The plantain-avocado combo strikes again with this upgraded avocado toast. If you like to do your long runs on the weekends, this is a perfect recovery snack to have afterwards, thanks to the balance of carbs and healthy fats. Add a teaspoon of maple syrup for a sweet finishing touch!
If you like your dinner to have a bit of a kick, you’ll love this recipe, courtesy of Well+Good Wellness Council Member McKel Hill, RDN. She piles nutrient-rich add-ons like black beans, red onion, and tomatoes right on top of the oven-baked plantains. And jalapeno, cumin, and garlic bring the heat.
Plantains absolutely have a place on any party menu. How festive is this pomegranate guac and plantain chip platter? Pro tip: Add a little salt and chili powder to the plantains when you make them to really amp up the flavor.
Plantains for dessert? It’s happening. This recipe is both vegan *and* Paleo, so your entire fit squad is bound to be wowed by ’em. And check out how clean these ingredients are: coconut oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. That’s literally it (besides, you know, the plantains).
If you’re looking for a gluten-free way to enjoy burritos and tacos, you found it. Because plantains are essentially a blank canvas, they’ll go well with whatever you pack them with. That means you can use these bad boys for sandwich roll-ups in place of bread, too.
Adding plantains to a vegan chili is a surefire way to make it taste even heartier and more satisfying. Top your bowl with a few slices of avocado to make it even creamier.
Give pigs-in-a-blanket a healthier twist by pairing the meat with plantains instead of dough. A mix of maple syrup and cayenne pepper gives this app the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
If you’re wondering if it’s healthy to pair your plantains with rice, here’s the verdict. And if you’re on the hunt for more healthy recipe inso, check out these 15-minute ideas, all made with inflammation-fighting turmeric.
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