Two days ago I was at the produce section of Boise’s Whole Foods, and to my surprise, I came across a sign that advertised Ecuadorian plantains! (I posted a picture of this on my Instagram account — do you have Instagram? If so, follow me!)
I was utterly excited, because I had just returned from Ecuador a week ago, and had enjoyed a ton of wonderful dishes that contained plantains as a main ingredient. I love plantains; they are so sweet, so carby (is that a word? probably not, but I am going for it), so filling, so delicious! Plantains look like a large banana, but they are different than bananas in taste, texture and way of consumption.
Unlike bananas, you must cook plantains before eating them. When they are young, the outside of them is a bit hard and greenish, and this is when you can make patacones (aka tostones); at this stage the plantain is not as sweet, and yields for wonderful savory appetizers. When they are ripe, however, the outside of them is still a bit hard but it looks yellowish black (like my picture shows below); this is when you know they are ready to be used for sweeter recipes — like the one I am sharing with you today, my delicious Plantain Boats with Spicy Beef. I wanted to give this entree a fun little “sweet”-spin…hence the use of a more ripe plantain!
Did you know that Plantains have more Vitamin A & C than bananas do? Also, did you know that plantains (or bananas) don’t form seeds, so farmers have to plant a cutting of them to keep growing them? SO COOL! Gotta love fun facts.
Plantains are a wonderful source of fiber, which helps promote a healthy digestive system, and they also have tons of potassium, which enables proper function of the muscles. These little babies will not only satisfy your taste buds, but they will also nourish your bodies and keep you very healthy!
- 4 plantains
- 1 lb. organic ground beef
- ⅓ white onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup celery, diced
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Salsa, homemade or of choice
- Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Green onions, for garnish (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Cut each plantain lengthwise across the middle (as shown in the picture below - make sure you don't cut all way through, as you want the plantain to still be attached at its bottom). Cover plantains with aluminum foil; place them on baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
- While plantains bake, place frying pan under medium heat. Once hot add coconut oil and allow it to melt. Add in garlic and onions, and cook until garlic is golden and onions are translucent. Add in celery and serrano peppers and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in ground beef and help break it apart with your spoon. From here on out, you'll want to stir the beef constantly. After about 3 minutes of adding the beef, add in spices (sea salt, black pepper and cumin) and continue to stir. Cover pan for about 10 minutes to let beef cook well. Remove cover and continue to stir until all the liquid from the vegetables is gone. Turn heat off, add chopped cilantro and mix well.
- Remove plantains from the oven, open aluminum foils and allow them to cool for a bit. Open plantains up in the middle, and fill them with ground beef, salsa and cilantro. Enjoy!
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Large plastic/wooden spoon