Sweet and Nutty Stuffed Plantains

Roasted plaintain stuffed with cayenne walnut crumble and topped with Daiya cheese

Stuffed plantains – my first Latin dessert experience. Before this dish, I didn’t really understand the hype of plantains. I had tried them before in a variety of dishes, but they had never wowed me. I am guilty of substituting sweet potatoes for plantains more than once. But what the pupusas started with their plantain contribution this simple dessert finished. Not one for sweet desserts, this dish has a nice bite to it and is a delectable way to finish off any meal – Latin or not! They are also a 5-star way to start your day – I ate one for breakfast to beat the Monday blahs, and successfully beat them all the way to lunch!

The dish itself is very simple to prepare, and as Terry suggests very versatile in stuffing components. First you roast the plantain like you would a baked potato – wrap it in foil and stick it in the oven at 375oF for ~30min. Then comes the fun part – the stuffing! This stuffing is a simple crumble with brown sugar, walnuts, and a dash of cayenne for a nice surprise kick. Slit the plantains lengthwise and stuff to the best of your ability. If some stuffing doesn’t make it into the plantain, leave it in the pan! They crisp nicely and you can sprinkle it over the finished product. Sprinkle with some lime juice for a nice tart flavour, and finally top with Daiya cheese. The cheese is optional, but I couldn’t resist the strange combination of a crumble, a fruit, and melted cheese. Pop the stuffed plantains back into the oven to roast uncovered for ~15min, and you’re done! The plantains take on a sweet caramelization flavour, almost like a subtle baked banana. The lime juice and the cayenne really stand out, cutting the sweetness of the plantain and stuffing nicely. The cheese adds a touch of salt and a different flavour that make the dessert extra unique. I couldn’t get enough of these delicious desserts!

Other stuffing ideas could be a simple crumble like in a rhubarb crisp, or just the cheese, or even just roasted with a sprinkling of cayenne and lime juice. Depending on your sweetness threshold, I imagine chocolate, pie fillings, or even a simple syrup of butter and brown sugar would also be delicious. To store leftovers (if you have any!) I wrapped them in tinfoil and froze. To eat, just unwrap and go! Like a stuffed plantain popsicle, they are even better than frozen bananas topped with tahini and molasses, and I didn’t know that was possible!

Terry includes in her book Viva Vegan! a 4-page Ode to the Plantain (pages 115-119). How to ripen (like an avocado), which plantains work best for what cooking method, how to roast, how to stuff, how to make crisps, fries, and so on. After tasting this dish, I understand both the hype and the lengthy review and will be guilty no more of substituting with sweet potatoes!

The recipe can be found on page 117-118 on Google Book Preview here: Sweet and Nutty Stuffed Plantains. However this dessert alone is worth checking out the book at the library!

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