Plantains! Oh how I love sweet and wonderful fried plantains! My love affair with this fruit began during my first trip to Central America. Those golden slices of fried goodness came as a side, right next to the rice and beans, for many of the dishes that I ordered at restaurants in Costa Rica. My Costa Rican host mother, aware of my slight obsession, would also make “plantanos fritos” with most of my meals in her home. I just couldn’t get enough!
On return trips to Central America and Mexico, I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in fried plantains again and I’ve even made them a few times at home. But suffice to say, this fried treat is not the healthiest. As a result, I’m always on the look out for something to satisfy my plantain cravings without packing on the pounds. So when I came across a healthier recipe featuring plantains, I was super excited to give it a try!
While I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my tried-and-true fried plantains, the lovely quinoa-plantain griddle cakes that resulted from this recipe are definitely something that I’ll make again. The wholesome quinoa gave these little cakes some texture and interest and the plantain added a touch of sweetness. The cakes also had a slight smoky flavor from the ground chipotle chili that paired well with the light and creamy cilantro-lime topping. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
Quinoa-Plantain Griddle Cakes
Adapted from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
Plantains are those huge banana looking fruits that you sometimes see in the grocery store. They can be anywhere from bright green in color (not ripe) to black (ripe and sweeter). Look for a really ripe black-skinned plantain. If you can only find green, let it sit on your counter for a while and wait until it turns from green to yellow to black.
- 1 large ripe plantain
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chili
- 1½ cups cooked quinoa
- 1-2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
Peel the plantain and coarsely chop the flesh. In a large bowl, mix the chopped plantain, sugar, eggs, salt and chipotle. With an immersion blender or regular blender, blend together the mixture until smooth and fluffy. Add the quinoa, 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of milk to the mixture and stir together. The mixture should have the consistency of pancake batter. If needed, add more flour or milk so that the batter will easily spread into a pancake.
Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet. When the skillet is hot, pour a heaping tablespoon of the batter onto the griddle. When the edges of the pancake begin to look more solid and the bottom is golden, flip the pancake and continue cooking until the second side is golden. Repeat the process until all of the batter is gone (the cakes were a little more fragile then regular pancakes, so take care when flipping them).
Serve the cakes topped with a little cilantro-lime sauce (see recipe below).
Creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce
At our farmers market we have a stand that sells local goat yogurt, so I used that as the base for this sauce. I’m sure regular plain yogurt would also work though.
- ¾ cup plain goat milk yogurt
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- lime juice from about ½ of a small lime
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the yogurt, minced cilantro, ground cumin and lime. Season with salt to taste.
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Four Chefs (Delicious!)
|These little cakes were sweet, savory and delicious!|
Three Easy Chairs (Average Difficulty)
|Cooking the quinoa in advance makes bringing together the batter quicker, but it still takes a while to blend the ingredients and cook all the cakes.|
Four Apples (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise)
|With whole grains and just a little bit of added fat and sugar these little cakes are a much healthier option than fried plantains. If you use whole milk yogurt like I did, be careful not to smoother the cakes in too much cilantro-lime sauce (it is really good though!).|
Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)
|I’m not sure where the plantain originally came from and I don’t think it was organic. Most of the rest of the ingredients were organic and the goat yogurt, eggs, and cilantro were all local and organic.|