Monday, September 6, 2010

Low-Point Plantain Ideas - A great source of nutrition

While enjoying my Boca Veggie Burger one evening for supper, I thought about loading up on chips to go with it, but then realized this would defeat the purpose of eating the low-point burger. Remembering I had a "green" plantain in the refrigerator, thinking that someday soon I'd like to look up recipes for how to cook with plantains, I decided to do just that. I discovered a recipe for deliciously frying green plantains and turning them into plantain chips. Depending on the ripeness of the plantain decides what kind of dish you make with it. Plantains look like bananas but are actually a vegetable. The "green" (or unripened) plantains are very starchy and taste like a raw squash or potato. Recipes for green plantains requires you to either cube and boil like a potato or slice and fry like small chips. The "yellow" plantains are slightly sweeter and can be used for recipes like sauteing them with brown sugar and cinnamon; whereas the "black" plantains (or ripe plantains) are very sweet and are used in the baking of breads and cakes. Since I had a green plantain, I decided to turn mine into low-point chips. I did this, not by deep frying in oil (because oil has a lot of points) but frying them in a skillet sprayed with a heavy layer of High Temperature Pam Cooking Spray. They were delicious, healthy, and have very few points. The perfect replacement for potato chips, and they went very well with my veggie burger.

Plantain Chips
1 large green plantain
Bowl of salt water
High Temperature Pam Cooking Spray
Seasoning (I used Adobo, one of our favorite "must-have" seasonings).
Cut the ends of the plantain off with a knife. Score the skin vertically around the plantain to make it easier to peel. Hint: Plantains that have not been refrigerated are easier to peel. After peeling, slice plantain into 1/2 inch slices. (I got about 15 slices out of one plantain). Soak slices in salt water for about 15 minutes. Blot dry with paper towel and lay in hot skillet sprayed with Pam. Season with Adobo seasoning (or seasonings of your choice). Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove slices to plate. Take the back of a wooden spoon and press each plantain slice to flatten. Place slices into a bowl of fresh cold water for 1 to 2 minutes. Return to hot skillet and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes (you will need to reapply the Pam cooking spray first). Season to taste and enjoy!
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Total servings = 15
Serving size = 5
Points per serving = 1

Boiled Plantains
I was talking to a friend about boiling up some green plantains. They suddenly got that look like they may get sick. The thought of boiled plantains sounds very unappealing to some people. When I asked what they thought boiled plantains tasted like, they replied, "I'm not exactly sure what plantains even are but it sounds gross!" I told them if they like potatoes, they may like boiled green plantains and can even use green plantains for some recipes that call for potatoes. Try boiling one or two peeled and cubed green plantains, add a little salt and butter and you have a very healthy, low-point side dish! One boiled green plantain only has three points when using "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray.

Did You Know
You can use unripe bananas in place of any recipe calling for green plantains; however, plantains contain ten times more beta carotene than bananas, as well as having a good supply of Vitamins A, C, B6, Potassium, Folate, Iron, and Magnesium. How's that for healthy?