Easy Baked Plantains

Our department has a lunch meeting every Wednesday where first year students sit and eat while a faculty member tells us about their research how they got where they are, and sometimes their life story, etc. it’s a nice time / I’m all about free food.plantain_baked_kbaked_coined_

Delivery options are limited around the Columbia University Medical Center campus. Hence why every single week lunch ends up being one of 3 options: pizza that smells like burnt Chuck E Cheese kitchen grease and is paired with a salad cloaked in sad cold deli meat (and one plain salad, but that goes fast), Dominican food, or on a good day, sandwiches on really strangely delicious fluffy crusty white hoagie bread.plantain_baked_kbaked_coins_vertical

Dominican food days are frequent, and I don’t hate it. The buffet has enough veggie options (salad with avocado, rice, beans) that I can finagle a decent meal out of it.

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The star of every Dominican week is, of course, the fried plantains. Sticky sweet gooey goodness, the fried plantains have become a cherished and familiar treat.

It dawned upon me this week that I’ve never actually made plantains at home which considering bananas and potatoes are my favorite foods and plantains are essentially the potato of bananas (as in not sweet and rather starchy), is quite odd. So over the weekend I decided to change this. I picked up some plantains, 3/$1, at my local grocery store.

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A kind woman was also picking out plantains when I was sorting through them. I asked her if she had any advice for a new plantain cook, and she told me to wait until the plantains were “soft like sponges.” Noted.

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Now onto cooking. I don’t love frying things and my stomach doesn’t love eating large quantities of fried food. Hence why I after doing some googling to confirm it was possible, I opted to bake mine.

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I did mine skin-on because the method sounded intriguing to me. You can totally peel them and cube them, coat them in oil and seasonings, and bake them that way (just for a shorter duration, 20-25 minutes until tender rather than 40-45).

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If you are curious about the skin-on method as I was, I am happy to report that it totally works. Just take it out of the oven when the foil-wrapped plantain gives to a squeeze.

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Next comes topping. I played around with topping these babies. One I coined and ate with melted vegan butter and brown sugar.

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Another I drizzled with almond butter, cinnamon, and a dash of sugar. The last I ate with leftover black bean soup and cilantro. I decided they would also taste great with guacamole. All were solid options, and it was a very plantain-filled day.

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Speaking of filled, I found plantains quite filling. I plan to keep this in mind since they are a cheap starchy piece of produce aka something I desperately need to befriend.

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I hope you give these a try. If you do, please let me know, and let me know how you topped or are them.

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Happy plantaining!

Easy Baked Plantains

Prep Time:  2 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium very spotted ripe plantains

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a knife, draw a slit lengthwise down each plantain.
  3. Wrap each plantain (skin on) in aluminum foil, or lay out on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath.
  4. Bake plantains for 35-50 minutes (depending on size/oven) until soft and squeezeable to the touch.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Top and eat as desired.

Topping Ideas:

  • non-dairy butter + 1 teaspoon brown sugar + dash cinnamon
  • drizzle of almond butter + cinnamon + sugar
  • black bean soup + salsa + cilantro
  • guacamole

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips

You know what the best section is at Trader Joe’s?

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips Vegan 3 Ingredients !

Okay that’s a faulty question. Because there is way too much good stuff at Trader Joe’s to pick a favorite product, let alone a favorite section. One time my manager asked me what my favorite products were “right now,”, which I thought was a better question than asking me what my “favorite products” were because that list would be overwhelming.  Right now in this 30 second increment of my life I can say that my favorite section is the candy section. In particular, anything that starts with the three magic words, “Dark Chocolate Covered…”

Vegan Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips Vegan

Yes, all those magical tiny rectangular boxes are full of the bestest things covered in the bestest chocolate. When I’m not eating Gone Bananas by the box, I also love the Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds with Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar (which inspired this recipe), and the Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar. Holy balls is their chocolate good.

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips. Vegan & So Easy!

Another recent favorite Trader Joe’s combination of mine is the epic duo of the Spicy Chunky Guacamole with the Roasted Plantain Chips. A co-worker (hi, SG!) informed me of this dynamic marriage of salty/sweet/crunchy/smooth/spicy and I have been hooked since the first bite. It is love.

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips  Vegan

I went a little overboard last time I purchased Plantain Chips and bought three bags forgetting that I had two at home. Which left me with five bags of plantain chips. So what’s a girl to do? Dip ’em in Dark Chocolate, of course, and combine my love of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate with by dipping their other products in the stuff and calling it bliss.

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So that’s just what I did. I dipped me some crunchy, salty, carby plantain chips in dark chocolate. It’s kind of like chocolate covered banana chips, but better in my humble opinion, because you also get the salty element from the roasted plantain chip. And you know I’m utterly in love with anything salty/sweet.

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips. Vegan & So Easy !

These are very simple to make and require only a few minutes and 2-3 ingredients depending on your level of fussiness when it comes to them staying not-melty at room temperature (a tablespoon of coconut oil should help you avoid any melty chocolate!) but they work perfectly without it.

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips. Vegan : So Easy!

I urge you to make these and please know that summer is coming as is a bit less stress and more sanity which means lots more tasty treats and a really exciting baby project coming to your internet waves soon. Until then, please view Millie with an emoji banana.

Millie & Banana Emoji

Yes, I thought this SnapChat was so funny I sent it to myself so I could open it later and lol at my own terrible humor. Yes I do that and yes I’m aware that’s perhaps not normal. But like this guy says, stay weird stay different. (Also yes, I am stalking Columbia’s instagram lately…and yes there might be a very exciting reason !) #staytuned #stayclassy #eatchocolatecoveredplantainchips [side note, you can totally tell which photos have “wet” chocolate, pre-setting, and which ones have “set” chocolate. total color change. goooooey] Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooling Time: 20 minutes Level: Easy Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup plantain chips (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate Pound Plus bar)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional, but will help prevent meltiness if left out at room temperature)

Directions: 1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, warm chocolate until melted. Use 30 second microwave increments, and stir after each increment until chocolate has melted. This should take about 60-90 seconds total. Stir in coconut oil until smooth and melted into chocolate. 2. Dip each plantain chip on each side into melted chocolate. Place each on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with chips until you run out of chocolate. 3. Place baking sheet full of plantain chips in the freezer  to set, at least 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container (preferably in the refrigerator) for up to two weeks. Enjoy 🙂