At most Caribbean dinner tables, plantain has never had the starring role, as it’s often served as a side dish or an accompaniment to the main course. However, there are a few recipes that boldly serve plantain as the star or main ingredient and this plantains and black beans stew is one of those recipes.
I grew up eating ripe fried or boiled plantains. I would layer it between my patty and coco bread for added sweetness or enjoy it on top of Jamaican hard dough bread with a cup of cocoa tea (this was my favorite breakfast as a young school girl in Jamaica).
Today, I find myself mostly baking plantains because it’s easy and healthy. However, I’ve also found a few other ways to enjoy plantain and take advantage of its affordability, versatility and superfood status. Yes plantain is a superfood! A recent article from Huffington Post, called plantains “the superfood of superfoods.”
Why Plantain is a Superfood
- Plantains are a rich source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and B-6, and other minerals like magnesium and potassium.
- Plantains are rich sources of complex carbohydrates. This means they’re higher in fiber, keep you full longer, help manage blood sugar levels and have more nutrients than simple carbs.
- Plantains are loaded with antioxidants, which help protect your body against certain types of cancers and heart disease.
How do plantains taste and where to find them
Plantains are very common and grow year round in tropical areas like the Caribbean, Central and South America, certain parts of Africa, and Southeast Asia. However, these days plantains are available in just about any grocery store. You can usually find them in the produce section along with bananas.
As far as taste, plantains are much starchier than bananas but they’re equally sweet when ripened. Most people are familiar with ripe plantains, but green plantains are also very popular in a lot of cuisines. Unlike bananas, plantains are not to be consumed raw. The starchy texture will have you never wanting to eat them again.
Here are the ingredients and instructions. Comment below and share your favorite ways to enjoy plantains.
Plantains and Black Beans Stew
- Medium Skillet with lid
- Food processor
- 2 Medium size Half ripe plantains -rinsed, cut and sliced into rings
- 16 oz Can of black beans -drained and rinsed
- 12 oz Cherry tomatoes -cut into halves
- 1 Small Onion -chopped
- 3 Stalks Scallions -chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic -chopped
- Few Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1/2 Small Scotch bonnet pepper -chopped
- 1 Tbsp Fresh ginger -grated *optional
- 4 Cups Vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp Coconut oil
- 1/2 Lime -juiced
- 1 Tbsp Spice mix -smoked paprika, all-spice, black pepper and salt
- 1 Tsp Apple cider vinegar *optional
- Cut a lime in half and add the juice to a small bowl with water and the sliced plantains until you're ready to use them. This will keep them from oxidizing (turning brown). When you're ready to add plantains, remove from water and lightly pat dry with cloth or paper towel.
- Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat and pan fry onions, garlic and plantains for about 3 minutes until plantains start to brown. Keep stirring to fry plantains on both sides.
- Add in cherry tomatoes, stir gently and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- In a small food processor or blender process ginger, scallions and scotch bonnet until finely chopped.
- Add beans, ginger, scallions and scotch bonnet mixture along with stock and stir well. Add spice mixture and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil before reducing heat to a low simmer.
- Simmer for about 20-25 minutes until it starts to thicken and the plantains are tender. Add a little water if it's too thick and the plantains are not fully cooked. Stir in the apple cider vinegar before serving if desire.
- Serve warm over rice or simply enjoy it all by itself.
- I used the optional ingredients of ginger and apple cider vinegar because I have stomach issues when eating legumes (beans) and these 2 ingredients help to settle my stomach.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for a few days.
- Enjoy for breakfast with steamed eggs on the side, for lunch with tortilla chips or for dinner over rice.
This plantains and black beans stew is hearty and so filling. A single cup of this stew for an early lunch, had me full until dinner. The plantains are first caramelized with garlic and onions before being simmered with spices, fresh aromatics and black beans. I’m using black beans, but you can use any bean that won’t go too mushy upon cooking. This one pot dish is a complete meal and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. So grab these ingredients, whip up a batch and dig in.