Plantains are similar to bananas but are larger, more angular, and are usually only eaten after being cooked. They have more starch and less sugar than bananas and are used often in tropical regions as a filling addition to any meal. You can even fry green plantains for a delicious treat; plantain chips give potato chips a solid run for their money. Check out these 9 recipes for plantains that will help you add them to your regular rotation.
1. Sauteed Plantains
This is a basic Cuban recipe from Randy Zweiban of Chicago’s Nacional 27 that requires just a few ripe plantains and some butter. Cut up the plantains into 1-inch pieces and sauté until golden brown. Liberally add salt and pepper and you have a great quick and easy side dish. Get our Sauteed Plantains recipe.
2. Onion-Crusted Plantains
Plantains covered in fried onions? A match made in heaven. Allspice and cayenne add a kick to this recipe and the onion coating crisps up beautifully once you fry the plantain slices in the skillet. Get the recipe here.
3. Sweet Plantain Empanadas
Use extremely ripe plantains for this recipe – the skins should be brown or black. Boil the plantains until the skin begins to crack, then mash with a fork. Add the coconut and tapioca flour to make a soft dough and then fill with a cheese of your choice. Get the recipe here.
4. Baked Plantains with Sugar and Rum
A healthy take on dessert, this recipe for baked plantains is sweetened with brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, orange juice, and butter. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it’s an unbeatable and quick dessert. Get the recipe here.
5. Puerto Rican Lasagna with Plantains
Thin slices of plantains fried in coconut oil take the place of traditional lasagna noodles in this recipe for pastelón. Ground beef and a number of spices (oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes) make this a flavorful and filling entrée. Get the recipe here.
6. Colombian Plantain Soup
This recipe uses fried green plantains and is similar to a Colombian take on chicken soup. Garnish with salt, pepper, and a handful of fresh cilantro leaves. Get the recipe here.
Addictive and fried not once but twice, these patacones are cooked in coconut oil and seasoned with sea salt and lime juice. Be sure to dry off the excess oil after the first frying with some paper towels to make sure they stay extra crispy. Get the recipe here.
8. Kofta Curry
Green plantains are used in this Bengali recipe as the base for a creamy curry. Plantains, potatoes, flour, salt, chili powder, cumin, cashews, and raisins are mixed together and formed into small balls. Fry them and then top with the luscious garam masala-spiked curry for a satisfying and healthy dish. Get the recipe here.
9. Plantain Casserole
A tropical take on a sweet potato casserole, this recipe uses ripe plantains, coconut milk, and cinnamon for a tasty base layer. Top with a mixture of flour, melted butter, brown sugar, and grated coconut for a crunchy and sweet contrast. Get the recipe here.
Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC's best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.