I need to forewarn you…I’ve had a slight plantain fetish during my down time. Trust me when I say this is just the beginning. Fortunately, my husband has fallen just as much in love with them as I have. I either have a ton of green plantains or a ton of gross black plantains sitting on my counter (with the fruit flies becoming more tempted every day to start their swarm). What kind of banana are you? (typical cashier response) No, I said what kind of banana are you?
Yup, I’ve got a bun (or 16) in the oven. I almost always make a double batch of these Plantain Buns. Why? Cuz’, why not. And you can freeze them, soooo. A mommy with not a lot of extra time learns how to maximize every bit of time she gets (unless Facebook gets in the way, and then there’s no hope). As a mommy, I also try to maximize the nutrition out of every thing I make. I know my kids (and hubby) will thank me for it later.
Just like it’s cousin, banana, Mr. Plantain over here has loads of potassium (20% RDA), helps regulate digestion and gives our immune system a boost. These are all grand things, but wait, there’s more!! Since plantains don’t have a growing season, they remain cost efficient all year round 🙂 (if you can find them…the locals love them so much that they keep them!!) Did you know that plantains are the worlds 10th most important staple food!? The sad story is I bet most of us have only had them at cuban restaurants…never at home. Prove me wrong!
So, let’s break this down a little more:
- Potassium Rich
- Keep in mind that the nutritional value is different between cooked and raw food. I typically eat cooked plantains. They offer 913 mg of potassium (as mentioned earlier, a whooping 20% RDA). Potassium is an electrolyte (minerals that carry electric charges in our blood and other body fluids). This particular electrolyte is greatly affected by sodium. Since most of the traditional american diets include an abundance of sodium, it is very important to help regulate this. REGULATOR!!! Potassium helps regulate the effects of sodium which, in return, regulates our blood pressure. It also regulates digestive and muscular function.
- Fiber (Resistant Starch) Rich
- Thank you fiber!! A cup of plantains provides 1/5 of our daily dosage of fiber. A high fiber diet plays a part in stabilizing sugar, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure (preventing heart disease). This fiber is also a resistant starch. Have you heard this term yet? It’s basically a prebiotic (complementary to a probiotic). And like a probiotic, prebiotics feed our (large) intestines and colon. This feeding increases fermentation and the amount of butyrate (short-chain fatty acid) in our colon. Why the butyrate? It lowers the ph of our bowels. Thank you Jesus! The closer our ph is to its natural state the less opportunity for the “bad guys” to invade. Ironically, butyrate is the favored fuel for the cells that line our colon.
- Vitamin C Rich
- A cup of plantains offers 35% of our daily need for Vitamin C. Our bodies don’t store or produce Vitamin C, so it is very important that we are meeting this need through our food intake daily. What’s it good for? A ton of stuff!! Vitamin C is an antioxidant. This particular one does a great job at fighting against free radicals. No, I’m not talking politics here. A free radical is the outcome of our bodies breaking down food, or when we are exposed to something harmful. Vitamin C plays such an important part all over our bodies. It helps to grow and repair tissues all over the body (from our blood vessels to our teeth).
- Vitamin A Rich
- Plantains provide 36% of the daily recommended dosage in just one serving. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant. Working along side Vitamin C, they help to boost our immune system. Vitamin A plays a huge part in healing our wounds (along with other skin health and cell growth performances). Our cells react when we have a food allergy or sensitivity. After persistent disturbance they begin to cause inflammation. Vitamin A (as an antioxidant) helps to neutralize these free radicals and reduce (if not eliminate) inflammation. Another important role of Vitamin A (which most of us already know) is helping our eye health and vision.
- Vitamin B6 Rich
- Up to 24% of your daily recommended dose is loaded into one serving of plantains. Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. It generates neurotransmitters that carry info from one cell to another. So, obviously, one of benefits of B6 is healthier brain function. It has also been said to help make hormones like serotonin and norepinephrine (mood stabilizers), and melatonin (our bodies natural clock). B6 helps to control our homocysteine levels as well (and this is important because it’s an amino acid linked to heart disease and nervous system damage). This vitamin is one of the eight B vitamins in our body, all of which help to metabolize fats and turn our food to energy. It also helps to slow the onset of macular degeneration. Elevated levels of B6 have also been linked in the prevention or alleviation of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
- Magnesium Rich
- A serving of plantains provide us with 16% of our recommended daily dosage. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in our body (affecting over 300 biochemical reactions in our body). So many of us suffer from magnesium deficiencies without even realizing it. Why has this worsened over the years? Because of the soils’ depletion of this mineral (and many others). Our land just can’t keep up with the demand. Hence, the introduction of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and more and more chemicals (Monsanto) to produce more and more food…but that is not the quality of food that we want to put in our bodies. Not only are we not getting the nutrients we need from these foods (because they just aren’t there), but we are also adding in the toxic chemicals (which become part of the food, not just an outside coating). And who knows what GMOs are doing to us. Back to the point of the matter…magnesium. It affects calcium absorption (helping with osteoporosis). It can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Magnesium has also been linked to helping with depression, insomnia and migrant headaches. Be sure to take a magnesium supplement!
Plantains are quite a bit starchier then bananas. They also contain less sugar. These two qualities make plantains a much better cooking companion. Another great benefit of cooking with plantains is that you can choose the ripeness, which will affect the texture and flavor of your dish.
- Green Plantains: These are the hardest and have the mildest flavor (and sweetness). At this stage, plantains are at their starchiest (which makes them the perfect substitute for potatoes or rice).
- Yellow Plantains: By this point they have slightly softened and sweetened up.
- Black Plantains: When they have reached this stage of life they are their sweetest and softest. You pretty much have to use these to make desserts. Otherwise, the plantain flavor would be too rich.
I typically buy the greenest plantains I can find. They last longer. If I am wanting to use them at their yellow or black phase I just play the waiting game 🙂 I’ve noticed that variating the ripeness of multiple plantains in a recipe lends for the best flavor and texture. When using plantains in a recipe, be sure to use the specific ripeness suggested.
There are so many different ways to cook with plantains. You can keep it simple or, like me, make it super complicated. You can boil them, bake them, fry them, mash them, blend them, grate them, slice and dice them. You can make chips, pancakes and waffles, brownies, rice, tortillas…the list goes on.
I love this recipe. The use of plantains is genius! Shredding them? OK!
They create such a unique airiness. I almost thought they just might have gluten. AAAGGHHH!! Thank you, Amanda, over at thecuriouscoconut.com for your inventive mind 🙂 Because of you, I have so many other wandering thoughts in my head (of shredded plantains, of course). I was almost able to follow this recipe to a “T”. Amanda uses olive oil in her buns, while I chose to use avocado oil. I mean, I love olive oil, I just get caught up in all of the swarming rumors. Like all of the horrible toxins which exude from olive oil when brought to high temps.
However, after more research I’ve realized (cuz’ it said so on the intra-net) that olive oil isn’t the demon I once thought it was. Use EVOO for fresh application (or low temps) and use regular olive oil (ROO?) for cooking methods.
Hypothesis: Don’t be so gullible. Oh, and use whatever oil you want. Well, just the good stuff. You know what I mean. Don’t be coming at me with no hyrdrogentated vegetable oil. You must be crazy. ;P ;P (I’m such a food prude)
- 1 green plantain, peeled and shredded
- 1¼ ctapioca starch[i] (+ extra if needed)[/i]
- 2 T coconut flour
- ⅛ t baking soda
- ¼ t cream of tartar
- ¼ t unrefined salt
- ½ c coconut milk
- 2 T avocado oil
- Salty Add-Ins
- ½ t onion powder
- ½ t unrefined salt
- ½ T freshly chopped dill
- ½ T freshly chopped rosemary
- Sweet Add-Ins
- 2 droppers full liquid stevia sweet drops
- ¼ t salt
- ½ T cinnamon
- ½ t nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Cut off both ends of the plantain. Then cut a slit down the length of the plantain being careful to only slice through the peel and not the fruit. Now (to make things easier) cut the plantain into 3-4 equal sections. Use the slit to help peel the skin off of the plantain. Grate the peeled plantain with a hand held grater or food processor. It should yield about ¾ a cup.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Then add all of the wet ingredients and mix well. Lastly, add the shredded plantain, mixing well (I used my hands).
- How is the consistency of the dough? If it's too wet, add tapioca starch 1T at a time. If it's too dry, add coconut milk 1T at a time. Be sure to mix well after each addition.
- At this point I divide the dough and make half a sweet batch and the other half a salty batch. You could do as the curious coconut does and add some fresh pressed garlic. Or you could make the whole batch sweet or salty (even switching things up to your own liking). If you do end up doing the same flavor for the whole batch, add the add-ins in the beginning. TMI?
- So, now you can divide the dough up into 8 pieces and roll them into balls. Place balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. The outside should look nice and golden.
- Let them cool, then enjoy!!