For More Nutritious Plantains, Try Roasting Them

Plantains are tropical treasures. If you haven't tried these banana-like staples of Caribbean and Central American cuisine, you're seriously missing out. The delicious fruit, known for its firm texture and slightly sweet flavor, is often served with a variety of dishes, from savory tostones to flavorful and full-bodied mofongo. Though plantains are a healthy fruit, in the aforementioned recipes and most others that you'll find, the instructions typically call for deep frying them in oil, which can derail your plans if you're working to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, if you want to enjoy the nutritious benefits and delicious taste of plantains at the same time, roasting them to perfection is a great alternative to frying.

Though cooking with oil results in delicious and crispy culinary creations, some of the plantains' valuable nutrients can be lost to the oil during the cooking process. Since the nutrients cook out and are left in the oil, which you don't end up consuming, those nutrients will unfortunately never reach you. This is where roasting comes into play as a healthier yet still flavorful cooking method.

Roast your way to higher nutrient density

To make perfectly roasted plantains, all you need is a hot oven (at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit), a baking sheet, and some heat-safe cooking oil, like coconut oil. Start by peeling and slicing your plantains, then coat them lightly with oil before placing them on a baking sheet. You can also season your plantains at this point according to the flavor profile you're trying to achieve. Once your oven is preheated, slide the baking sheet in and let the oven work its magic.

This method helps to bring out the sweetness of the fruit while adding a wonderfully crispy exterior. As the plantains roast, they'll start to caramelize, enhancing their natural sugars and deepening their amazing flavor. The result of roasting is more than just a delectable dish, but rather one that also retains more of the plantains' (and food in general) original nutrients when compared to deep frying. It's important to note that all cooking methods can remove nutrients to some extent, but different processes affect foods in different ways.

So, the next time you're looking to enjoy the unique, sweet goodness of plantains, put down the frying pan and give roasting them a try. This simple switch-up will offer up a more nutritious dish that still celebrates the delicious flavor of this versatile fruit.