”I’m sure you’ll find use for these”, were my friend, Jessica’s exact words when she handed me three sweet plantains, just days after Thanksgiving (knowing I’d still have leftovers). Well, she knew exactly who she was talking to. Sweet plantains are yummy and have so many ways to prepare but they are most commonly served as a deep fried side dish. Did you know you could simply sauté them in olive oil and still enjoy their sweet taste? In this very traditional Latin dish, I used ground turkey instead of beef to satisfy the sweet and salty palate in you.
Plantains are high in potassium, more than regular bananas. They are also high in fiber and Vitamins A and C.
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Makes 4 servings (or 6 healthy appetizer servings)
- ½ lb ground turkey breast
- 2 cloves of chopped garlic
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup diced sweet red pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- 3-4 yellow/very ripe plantains
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- ½ tbsp melted butter
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- Heat oven to 350°
- Meat: To make the base for the turkey, heat olive oil in a large skillet at medium high heat, add onions and sauté until it is translucent, about 5 mins. Lower to medium heat and add garlic and cook for one more minute. Then add sweet red pepper, ground cumin and tomato paste. Mix until it is well incorporated.
- Add ground turkey and crumble until cooked and evenly browned. Add salt and pepper until you have reached desired taste. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Plantains: Boil 8 cups of water in a deep pot. While the water is heating, peel the plantains and cut them in half. Once the water boils add about a tablespoon of salt and the cut plantains.
- Boil for about 10-15 minutes until they are soft.
- Drain the plantains. If you choose to remove the black seeds contained in the middle of the plantains, slice them lengthwise and scoop the seeds.
- In a mixing bowl, add butter, egg and milk until well combined. Add plantains; mash and mix with a fork until the mixture is compact (like making mash potato).
- In an 8 in. round or 8×8 oven-safe dish lightly spray butter to coat. Next, add half the plantain mixture and spread evenly to cover bottom of dish. Then layer it with all of the meat mixture. Again, spreading evenly. Add remaining plantain mixture and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. (Hint: it’s just like layering lasagna.)
- Place it in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Let it set for about 10 minutes. Divide into portions like a pie if using a round dish or lasagna portions for a square dish. Serve with sliced avocado.
- When the peel of sweet plantains are yellow and covered in black spots, they are also perfectly sweet for baking, grilling or even slow-cooking.