Admittedly, I still find plantains kind of strange. This is in very large part because I had never tried them before this summer, when I ate them nearly every day in Nicaragua. The gracious family who hosted me during my stay actually sold fried plantain chips out of their house, and so the starchy yellow snacks accompanied many home cooked meals. Many Nicaraguan restaurants also serve a version of plantains called tostones— underripe, sliced plantains that are deep fried and usually topped with cubes of queso seco, a type of firm, salty cheese that’s really popular in Nicaragua.
So, how to make a vegan version that isn’t deep-fried? Well, one answer is to oven bake them. [This] recipe inspired me, and though I more or less followed its general gist, there were some things I’ve altered to make the end product a bit livelier (i.e. using less heat, coconut oil instead of cooking spray, and topping them with guacamole). The really cool thing, of course, is that these are also gluten-free. And surprisingly, they even taste good (if not better) after they’ve been refrigerated.
-2 ripe plantains, sliced diagonally
-3 TB coconut oil
For the guacamole:
-4 TB finely diced tomato
-2 TB cilantro, chopped
-1 TB lemon juice, fresh
-salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sliced plantains with coconut oil. Place slices on a baking sheet. (Make sure plantains have plenty of room and don’t overlap; you want to give each side the ability to brown). Bake for 10 minutes, flip using tongs or a spatula, and the cook for an additional 10 minutes.
2. While the plantains are cooking for the second time (post-flip), make the guacamole. In a bowl, smash the avocado with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix, tasting for salt and pepper. One the plantains are out of the oven and have cooled a few minutes, top each one with a light dollop of guacamole.