Baked plantains…aka healthier tostones

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen more than usual lately, and I have to say that some results have been better than others. For example, after the popularity of my homemade whipped peanut butter post, I tried another recipe for “lightened up” peanut butter that I saw on Calorie Count. This recipe basically dilutes peanut butter with a corn starch paste…I guess I should have been able to predict the disgustingness! Think sand-colored play-dough, and you’ll just about have it.

My “fried” green plantain recipe, though, was more satisfactory. I served them for an appetizer when I had my Cuban night, followed by crock pot Cuban black beans and cilantro lime rice for the main course. I read a lot about plantains before making this dish, and wow! I had no idea that green, yellow, and black plantains each produced such a distinct flavor. I also learned that green plantains are much more similar to a potato than a banana, which made fried green plantain chips suddenly much less exotic…

baked green plantains

I admit I had some trouble with these, as they didn’t seem to cook as quickly as the recipe indicated. Also, after boiling them, I struggled to flatten the plantain chips without breaking them. I’m assuming this had to do with my slices being too thick…The recipe I followed was a bit confusing.

Here’s my clarified version:

Baked green plantain chips from The Hungry Cuban

Ingredients
2 large green plantains
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium, fat-free)
Salt
Cooking spray (I use Smart Balance)

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C.

2) Peel the plantains and slice into half-inch rounds (about 1.5 cm). Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot. Add garlic and onion powder. Add the plantains, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, or until plantains are very tender. Drain in a colander.

3) Place plantains on cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and flatten to a thickness of approximately 1/4 inch (about .75 cm) with a rolling pin or a meat tenderizer. Remove the plastic wrap and lightly spray the top of the plantains with cooking spray.

4) Place the oiled side on a nonstick baking sheet. Spray the other side of the plantains with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, or until crisp and golden brown.

I’m sad to report that these baked green plantains, while not bad by any means, lacked the flavor of the fried green plantains I’m used to. They’ll satisfy a plantain craving (if you have those…), but they didn’t make me feel like I was sitting in a Havana café. We ended up added a lot of salt at the end as we found the flavor a bit drab. I think next time I will increase the spices and maybe drizzle with oil instead of the cooking spray. Or I might just splurge and actually FRY the plantains!

Any other healthified plantain recipes out there?

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