WHAT ARE PLANTAINS?
Before we dive into the many ways to eat a plantain, you may be wondering – what is it? Sometimes mistaken for a banana, plátanos are fruits that are typically consumed as a vegetable – meaning that they generally show up as a side dish in savory meals. Native to warm climates like the ones in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, plantains can be grown year-round which makes them a valuable, reliable food source in countries across the globe.
With consumer habits shifting since the beginning of the pandemic, like the 33% of consumers getting more takeout than before, it goes without saying that Americans are in need of a little culinary diversity in their lives. Different textures, different recipe applications – these things are essential when considering what to offer on today’s menus.
For this very reason, we love plantains! What is it about this tropical fruit that promotes such textural versatility? Read on to find out.
SLICES (BIAS CUT)
RECIPES CONTAINING BIG BANANA® SWEET PLANTAIN SLICES, STARTING FROM TOP LEFT, CLOCKWISE: AREPA PABELLÓN, ANGUS BURGER, GRILLED CHICKEN SKEWERS WITH PINEAPPLE, QUINOA AND BEAN BOWL)
Shown in its most recognizable form, the plantain slice represents a pillar of Latin American cuisine. Stop at pretty much any roadside restaurant in Central or South American and you’ll be sure to find some plantain slices accompanying rice and beans. Mention “plátanos maduros” to any Latin and these are surely what will come to mind.
As mentioned above, these plantain slices are the perfect addition to some traditional rice and beans, but don’t be afraid to add them to other dishes, of which whom do not traditionally contain this tropical fruit. For example, as a topping on a burger, or next to some BBQ chicken on a skewer.
(RECIPES CONTAINING BIG BANANA® WHOLE BAKED SWEET PLANTAIN, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: WHOLE BAKED PLANTAIN WRAPPED IN BACON, PLANTAIN CANOA WITH JACKFRUIT ROPA VIEJA)
Sometimes you want your fruit to make a statement, and that’s exactly what whole, baked plantains do in these meals. Whether wrapped in bacon, or used as the base of a Plantain Canoa “boat”, whole plantains used in their natural shape give your dish a bold personality.
RECIPES CONTAINING BIG BANANA® SWEET PLANTAIN TIDBITS, STARTING FROM TOP LEFT, CLOCKWISE: THAI NOODLE BOWL, SPICY BBQ CHORIZO PIZZA, PLANTAIN WALNUT BREAD, TRADITIONAL RICE & BEAN BOWL)
The food equivalent of a “stocking stuffer”, plantain tidbits are a fun-sized version of the plantains, with just as much flavor and fun in them! This style is perfect for when you want your plantain sprinkled throughout your dish, perfectly balancing out both sweet and savory flavors.
Plantain tidbits are a great cut for pizza toppings, frozen yogurt bars, and even as a yummy added texture in baked goods!
RECIPES CONTAINING BIG BANANA® SWEET PLANTAIN MASH, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: PLANTAIN BROWNIE, PLANTAIN MASH WITH MEATLOAF)
The inventor of mashed potatoes must’ve heard a choir of angels in the background while discovering this method of preparing the classic root vegetable. That is precisely how we feel about sweet plantain mash! Not only is it a deliciously sweet substitute for mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes (sorry potatoes – we love ya but we have to switch it up every once in a while), but it is convenient and saves you time for recipes that call for plantains – like Plantain Brownies – where the extra timely step of mashing the fruit yourself is eliminated.
(RECIPES CONTAINING BIG BANANA® SWEET PLANTAIN ROUNDS, STARTING FROM TOP LEFT, CLOCKWISE: RICE, EDAMAME & RED BEAN BOWL, QUINOA & BEAN BOWL, PLANTAIN & AVOCADO TACOS, FIESTA TACO BOWL)
Last, but certainly not least, we want to highlight sweet plantain rounds! A bit larger than tidbits but not as big as bias cut slices, sweet plantain rounds are a great way to switch up the traditional style of the fruit and give your dish a fun new shape to work with.
Top them onto any bowl or tacos to create a something that brings a bit of natural sweetness to any meal!
Traditionally, plantains must be peeled, sliced, and cooked prior to consuming. But Big Banana® Ripe Plantain products are available pre-cut and pre-cooked!
Here at MIC Food® we are helping chefs, restaurants, industrial kitchens, retail brands, delis, and others in the food industry rethink their menus and increase appeal among ethnic and mainstream consumers alike. We provide variety of tropical fruits and vegetables that come peeled and cut, ready-to-heat and serve, saving you hours of prep time so you can focus on what matters the most: making every meal memorable.