It’s been nearly four months since we moved to Lima, Peru. Since being here, one thing that we have really enjoyed has been finding new foods – especially veggies and fruits! Plantains are one of the new staples in our home, so I thought I’d share a little about why we love this unique fruit. I think you can usually find them in the states – I remember seeing them in Whole Foods – I just never knew what to do with them! Or that they could be so delicious… So here goes – 5 reasons we love plantains!
1. They’re a great carb!
Since getting rid of grains two years ago, we are always looking for good ways to get in carbs, especially for the kids. That energy-fueling component may have a bad rap in pop health, but as “real-foodies” we know it’s just as important to the body as good fats. Plantains are the third highest source of carbs, behind cassava and taro root. They contain a whopping 62 grams of carbs in one mashed cup. Nice!
2. They’re cheap!
Here in Peru, plantains are about as cheap as bananas. They’re a great way to round out a meal without spending a bunch of money!
3. They have a good shelf life.
If you buy green plantains, you can use them all week. Some recipes need the more green, unripe fruit, while others call for the sweeter ripened yellow fruit. Once they start getting brown spots they’re a nice addition to smoothies. No matter where the plantain is in its ripening process, it’s useable. That means they make a great back-up veggie 🙂
4. They can be sweet or savory
I love that I can use them for slightly sweet, fluffy, plantain pancakes (sometimes even throwing in a few mini Enjoy Life chocolate chips for the kids),
or for a dinner casserole. Of course, the Peruvian side dish of fried green plantains or “tostones” is also a great savory way to eat them (especially when pan fried in coconut oil and dressed with real sea salt!)
This week, we also made plantain tortillas that turned out great! They were a nice accompaniment to mexican rice, beef & veggies, with some diced avocado and a cilantro pesto.
5. They’re a fantastic starch!
I’ve seen them in everything from muffins and cake, to pancakes and desserts – in place of flour! We’ve had some delicious treats made out of plantains at our local organic market, and I’m really excited to start experimenting with baking them! The recipes we’ve used so far are super quick and simple, which as a mama of two Littles three and under, is really important! I’ll post recipes on the blog as I come up with them. Let me know if you give plantains a try and what you think!