This Caribbean-style salad of fried plantains, avocado, red beans and tomatoes is perfect for a vacation-worthy meal!
Well, I’m officially over winter and am ready for some sunshine.
Truth be told, I’m usually done with winter by the day after Christmas. I try to enjoy the stark beauty of bare trees, wet streets, and MUD EVERYWHERE but I really just can’t.
I’m a summer person. I’m a Leo. I need lush green trees, beach vibes, and lots of tropical flavors in my life.
Side note: What the hell am I doing living in Portland, Oregon?
We still have several weeks (*months*) of winter ahead of us here in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn’t mean I have to keep eating stew and pasta until Memorial Day.
One of my favorite ingredients for lending a vacation-worthy vibe to a dish is plantains.
Plantains taste like a banana and a sweet potato had a baby and that baby was delicious.
They are starchier than a banana, but slightly sweeter than a sweet potato. I like to fry them in coconut oil until they get all caramelized and pretty.
If you’re planning on making this Caribbean plantain and avocado salad, consider buying the plantains a few days ahead of time. Most grocery stores only carry unripe (green) plantains and those just won’t do.
Unripe plantains are too firm and haven’t developed enough sugar to work in this recipe.
Let your green plantains ripen in the sun (hahahahahaha) for a few days; they should at least be yellow, but they are better once they develop a bit of black on the peels.
To peel a plantain, slice off both ends and then use a sharp knife to score through the peel along each of the vertical ridges. You can then remove the peel in strips – easy peasy.
If you try to peel them like a banana you will regret your life choices.
Make sure you fry the plantains in a sturdy pan like my favorite cast iron skillet (see Amazon link below if you need one); non-stick pans make it harder to get the caramelization you’re looking for.
This recipe would be a perfect side dish for the Saucy Puerto Rican Beans and Potatoes I shared earlier this week — plus, a great way to use up an extra cooked beans you have!
Here’s the Recipe!
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 ripe plantains, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked red beans (1 14-ounce can)
- 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
- 1 avocado, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
For the Dressing
- Juice of one lime
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Set a 10-inch or larger cast iron skillet on a burner set to medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the coconut oil and allow it to coat the pan. Add the diced plantains and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown; about 5 minutes total. Set aside to cool.
- Place the beans, tomato, red onion, and jalapeno in a large bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, then add the dressing to the large bowl along with the fried plantains. Toss well to coat.
- Right before serving, gently fold the avocado and cilantro into the plantain mixture. Serve at once.
If you are sensitive to spicy flavor, take care to remove all of the seeds and membranes from the jalapeno before using.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 444 Total Fat 22g Saturated Fat 8g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 12g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 146mg Carbohydrates 62g Fiber 11g Sugar 20g Protein 8g