Hola, welcome back! Today I'd like to share with you my delicious baked plantain (tostones) recipe. One of my favorite things to eat is fried tostones. However, all of that greasy deep-fried oil is not exactly healthy for your insides. So I've come up with an easier, less messy, and healthier alternative: OVEN BAKED PLANTAINS!
Although these may look like "bananas" to you, they are actually plantains. Now there is a debate whether or not these are a fruit or a vegetable, as it is in most cases served cooked. Unlike its close cousin the sweet yellow banana, the plantain is a versatile plant that is used in many cooked recipes. Such as tostones, fried sweet plantains, pastelons, and even desserts.
Don't let the darkened shades of these beauties scare you off! Green, yellow, or even a dark brownish-black color these are a delicious treat for your taste-buds that you won't want to miss out on. Plantains can be eaten from their early green or yellow stages as a savory, salty appetizer or at their slightly blemished or darker state as a sweet treat. Many people may look at this and say "eww, I can't eat that it's gone bad"... excuse you!? Allow me to show you that this isn't a damaged piece of food. In fact, it's actually something that you will learn to enjoy and love. Because no matter what stage in the plantains life it is filled with flavor and amazing texture.
Traditionally tostones are fried in a big pot of oil. Lots of times this leaves your house (clothes and hair included) smelling like grease and usually leaves splatters of oil on your stove, two things I really despise. As I am trying to live a healthier and cleaner lifestyle I am finding new ways to cook those meals that I have enjoyed since I was a child.
Some things I never want to miss out on from recipes and meals that I've always enjoyed is: texture and taste. When replicating any recipe I try to get it as close as possible to the real thing. In order to reach that level of amazingness that is fried tostones, I look for plantains that are going yellow with brown marks but have not reached it's fully ripened stage. The second thing I look for is a sturdy texture, just as a green plantain would have. If it is softer and riper, they will still be delicious - however, these would be called "maduros" instead of "tostones" which will have a sweeter flavor and softer consistency. Still just as good but a somewhat different appetizer, that we aren't aiming for with this recipe.
What are the health benefits of plantains you ask?
Fiber: This helps keep our bowel movements going and helps with any constipation that may occur.
Vitamin C: This antioxidant helps fight off infections that may lead to sickness in your body.
Vitamin A: This supports maintenance of your heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
B6 (Pyridoxine): Helps to maintain a healthy nervous system.
Potassium: Very helpful and important to maintain blood flow, heart rhythms, and many other important aspects of our bodies.
When it comes to seasoning these I like to keep it pretty simple. Pinch of salt and pepper, freshly minced garlic, and a sprinkle of dried parsley or oregano. Doesn't take a lot to make these taste delicious, as they are an exciting treat just as is. You can serve these hot out the oven with a side of rice+beans, on top of a green salad, make some mini sandwich bites or serve them on their own as a simple appetizer. Whatever way you decided to plate these I'm sure you and those you feed will be impressed with this healthy baked delicacy.
2-4 people (Depending on how many plantains used)
3-4 Ripened Plantains
2-4 Tbsp of EVOO or Coconut Oil
Seasonings of choice
1. Preheat oven to 365° Fahrenheit.
2. To prepare your tostones slices you'll want to slice off the ends of each plantain.
3. Carefully slice the outer skin of the plantain lengthwise (as shown above in the fourth photo); using your fingers or a butter knife peel off the yellow skin to reveal the inside of the plantain.
4. Slice plantain into circular shaped pieces that are about 1/2 inch thick. The thinner your slices, the quicker they will cook so keep that in mind.
5. In a mixing bowl toss your plantain slices, seasonings, and oil.
6. On lined baking tray spread out your slices and allow them to bake for 30-45 minutes; flipping halfway in between.
7. Once they are golden brown and crispy they are ready to be served!