Baked Plantains (with Ginger Cilantro Crema)

One thought I always have while picking out bananas at the grocery store: "What are those GIANT bananas?!"

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Plantains. OH HI.

Want to know some other things I think about while shopping for bananas? Of course you do.

1. Why are there never any green bananas when I want bananas to be ripe in a couple days?

2. Why are there never any yellow bananas when I need a banana for my lunch tomorrow?

3. Are the organic bananas worth it?! (answer: yes)

4. Hi produce man, can I steal the color of bananas I'm looking for from your box?

Welcome to my brain.

OK, back to plantains.

I've seriously stared at these guys for YEARS and never knew what people did with them until... My cousin, who lives in Costa Rica, made fried plantains as an appetizer a couple weeks back. I bit into this magical food and was like "what is this delectable chippy thing?!"

PLANTAINS.

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Am I overwhelming you? My apologies. They were just.... So good. And salty. Yum.

Of course, the next day I went to the store and bought plantains so I could try making these babies.

Now traditionally, plantains are fried and served as an appetizer called tostones, patacones, fritos verdes, banan peze depending on which country you're from/in (thanks Wikipedia). However, frying is bad. Baking is good. Let's bake friends.

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Baked Plantains (with Ginger Cilantro Crema)


Baked Plantains:

Yields: 24 baked plantain chips

Calories: 34 calories per chip

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

- 2 large green plantains

- cooking spray

- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven 425 F

2. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray

3. Slice off the ends of each plantain then make two slits on opposite sides of each plantain that are skin deep and go end to end

4. Microwave both plantains together until they turn black and become soft in the middle (about 6-7 minutes)

5. Remove the plantains from the microwave, peel them then cut them into 3/4 inch slices (each plantain should make about 12 slices)

6. While the plantain slices are still hot, smash them into flat discs using a large knife (or a tostonera, the bottom of a jar or anything flat really)

7. Place the smashed plantain slices on to the prepared baking sheet from step 2 and spray them generously with cooking spray. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

8. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes, flipping them over half way through baking

9. Remove baked plantains from the oven and enjoy (while hot) with ginger cilantro crema (see below)

[Baked Plantains Recipe from SkinnyTaste]


Ginger Cilantro Crema

Yields: 10 tablespoons

Calories: 40 calories per tbsp

Total time: 10 minutes (plus 5 hours to soak cashews)

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 5 hours

- 1/4 cup + a few tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

- 2 tsp fresh peeled grated ginger

Directions:

1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 5 hours then drain

2. Combine cashews, 1/4 cup almond milk, salt, cilantro and ginger in a high speed blender

3. Blend until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. If the mixture seems too thick, add more almond milk one tbsp at a time until it reaches the consistency of your dreams (too dramatic? probably.)

4. Scoop ginger cilantro crema into a small bowl and serve with baked plantains or these!

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I know this ginger cilantro crema seems like an after thought but trust me IT'S NOT. I could drink it.

Go make these recipes and report back so I know I'm not crazy. Thanks loves.

- A