This Sweet Plantain Recipe is naturally gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free. Serve it spooned over yogurt for breakfast, a snack or as a vegan dessert topped with dairy-free coconut cream or ice cream.
Flavors of Culture: a sweet plantain recipe
If you live with food allergies, you know that adapting recipes is common especially since eating out at restaurants is not always easy.
It’s a wonderful thing to make foods from other cultures in a way that is safe for our allergies while still honoring the roots of the recipe we are adapting. Sharing the cultural history of foods can be a great way to bring family into the kitchen to learn together.
After having tried a plantain dish in a Cuban restaurant, I wanted to explore making them for dessert. My research on the web led to many plantain recipes and even more “fruitful” information. So, I went to work experimenting in the kitchen.
Now, I make this simple recipe at home so that my daughter who has food allergies can enjoy these flavors too.
Sweet Plantain recipe is part of our Flavors of Culture series.
Get to know your plantain
Plantains are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. They are an edible fruit, full of starch, less sweet than a banana with a thicker skin, longer in size and rarely eaten raw.
The method of preparation seems to vary by region and culture. Whether you enjoy them fried, baked, boiled or sauteed in both sweet and savory dishes, plantains are one amazing fruit!
Around the globe with plantains
I didn’t grow up eating plantains and was introduced to them much later in life. So I did a little digging on the history of plantains to get know more about this delicious staple!
According to Wikipedia, plantains are enjoyed globally in South America and the Caribbean; from Haiti to Cuba and various African countries. They are also a staple part of diets in Southeast Asia.
Just like bananas, many varieties exist but in North America it is common to find green or yellow plantains. Green plantains are less sweet and with time will turn yellow. Once ripened, they sweeten and the color changes from green to yellow to black.
In Bibi’s Kitchen, “The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers From the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean” by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen includes a handful of recipes which highlight plantains as a key ingredient.
For example, “Plantains with Coconut and Prawns” is a savory dish which is shared from a grandmother who lives in Mozambique. The plantains are boiled together with coconut milk, aromatics and prawns.
Another grandmother serves fried plantains also known as Ndizi Kaanga that can be sweetened with sugar and a splash of rum for a Tanzanian version of Bananas Foster.
A non-traditional sweet plantain recipe
My version of sweet plantains are a take on fried plantains also known as Amarillitos in Puerto Rican cuisine or Platanos Maduros in Cuban cuisine. Usually the plantain is fried in oil or butter, some recipes add lemon juice and are sprinkled with nutmeg, salt or sugar.
I lightly pan fry them in coconut oil which imparts a nice flavor. Although, you can use any high heat oil.
Sweet plantains make a delicious vegan dessert
This sweet plantain recipe is naturally gluten-free, vegan and refined-sugar free.
I toss the rounds with cinnamon and salt before frying and drizzle date or maple syrup on top for a refined sugar-free option.
Some recipes do not use sweetener since a ripe plantain is organically sweet and their natural sugars caramelize when cooked. However, I find that a drizzle of syrup makes them shine as a vegan dessert.
Serve with dairy free coconut cream or ice cream similar to a bananas foster (with or without the rum). You can also spoon onto yogurt. I love to add granola, seeds or nuts for crunch.
How do you like to eat plantains?
More sweet plantain recipes
- Platanos Maduros– Deliciously Sweet and Savory
- Venezuelan plantains– Mommy’s Home Cooking
- Sweet Fried Plantains(Maduros)- Salima’s Kitchen
Sweet Plantains are vegan, refined-sugar free and gluten-free. Serve over yogurt or with a dollop of coconut cream or ice cream.
- 1 ripe yellow plantain (tender going on brown or with black spots)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1–2 tablespoons coconut oil or any high heat oil of choice (like avocado oil)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or date syrup
- Trim ends off plantain.
- Using a sharp or serrated knife, slice skin down the middle in the inner arch, making sure not to cut through the plantain.
- Peel and discard skin.
- Slice diagonally or cut into rounds, ¾ inch thick.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle with cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- Warm a cast iron skillet (or heavy bottom pan) on med-high heat with coconut oil
- To test if the oil is hot, place one plantain round into the pan. If the oil bubbles, the pan is ready to go!
- Sear for one to two minutes on both sides or until you’ve got a caramelized “crust on the edges”. It is okay if the crust is blackened a bit but make sure not to burn.
- Cover and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute if still not softened. This will depend on the ripeness of your plantain.
- Plantains should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Transfer to a plate, lined with a paper towel to cool.
- Serve over topping of choice. Drizzle with maple or date syrup
- If heat is too high, adjust while cooking plantains to prevent them from burning.
- Cooking time will be quick so it is handy to have all ingredients ready ahead of time.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Vegan
- Method: Pan-Fry
Keywords: sweet plantains, fried plantains, vegan plantains, vegan dessert, plantains
Favorite kitchen items to make sweet plantains
More Flavors of Culture recipes
Shahla is a mom of two girls who live with multiple food allergies, asthma and eczema. Shahla is trained as a Holistic Chef who wants to share the comfort that cooking has brought her family. She believes that everyone, regardless of dietary requirements, deserves a plate full of color and flavor.