Perhaps as you have wondered the produce section of the grocery store you’ve noticed a banana that doesn’t look quite right. It turns out the brownish, oversized banana that may have caught your eye is not actually a banana at all, but actually a cousin of the banana known as a plantain. If you’ve never tried one of these banana-looking plantains, now is the time to give this versatile food a try. Read on to find out why the plantain deserves a spot in your grocery cart and on your plate!
What Are Plantains?
Plantains are in the banana family, but have a starchier content and less sweet taste with a mild flavor and soft texture when prepared. Plantains are common to many dishes in the Caribbean and parts of Africa. Unlike bananas, plantains need to be cooked or baked to be consumed. Their uses are typically similar to the uses of baking and sweet potatoes.
Why Try Plantains?
Plantains can provide you with an easily digestible carbohydrate source packed with plenty of nutrients. Among plantains’ nutritional attributes are their rich fiber content. Additionally, plantains are a terrific source of B vitamins as well as vitamins A and C and minerals like magnesium. And while bananas often steal the show for their potassium content, plantains actually contain more magnesium than bananas do!
How Do I Add Plantains to My Diet?
Even if you have never tasted a plantain chip before, you’ll soon find this adaptable fruit can fit into your diet in a wide variety of ways. Take a look at some of the top options.
Chips. Plantains chips are a terrific alternative to corn chips for those wishing to eliminate or reduce their grain consumption. You can buy premade plantain chips at most supermarkets or easily make your own by thinly slicing plantains and baking them at a low temperature (or in a dehydrator) until they are crisp.
Mashed. Plaintain’s mild flavor with just a hint of sweetness makes them a tasty choice as an alternative to mashed potatoes.
Fries. If you are looking for a healthier French fry, plantains may be just the solution you’re after. Slice plantains into wedges, toss with olive oil and sea salt and bake at high temperature.
Once you’ve mastered these basic plantain recipes you can continue to build more and more dishes around them. Need some inspiration, try making a healthy plate of nachos with chicken, avocado, black beans, salsa, and a bit of cheese atop a plate of plantains. You’ll never look at those “funny looking bananas” the same way again!