10 Plantain Recipes That Will Make You Fall in Love With This Fruit

Our food preferences are often shaped by our cultural backgrounds. We all have that one food that is always in the house and eaten on a daily basis. Growing up in a Dominican-American household, plátanos (plantains) are that staple food for my family, as is in any traditional Dominican home.

Plátanos are a versatile food and there is no one way to eat them. They're great for any meal, resulting in a large variety of different plátanos dishes. Don't believe me? Here are 10 delicious plantain recipes that will work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

#SpoonTip: Many cultures enjoy plátanos just as much as Dominicans and this list contains plátanos dishes not exclusive to the Dominican Republic.

1. The Classic

This is the staple dish at my house and is simplest plantain recipe I know. It's simply plantains cut in half and boiled for 10-15 minutes to perfection (indicated by the softness and beige color). This dish is usually served with eggs, cheese, and salami. But it's not just a breakfast dish. This plantain recipe also works with a savory pernil (a Hispanic pork dish) or your typical arroz con habichuelas y pollo (rice, beans, and chicken).

2. Maduros Fritos

Fried sweet plantains are made from the ripest of plátanos, which can be determined by how black the plátano is (the darker, the riper). This is a common side dish at just about any Latin American restaurant. I grew up eating them so much as a child, and because of the constant consumption I actually hated them for years after. Now, I love them again. At the University of Bridgeport, you know it's a good day when Marina Dining Hall serves plátanos maduros with tostadas (it's like a Mexican open-faced sandwich, but that's a food for another article).

3. Tostones

I consider tostones to be the more savory version of plátanos maduros. It's name comes from the phrase "twice-fried." They're made by cutting plátanos into thick slices to be fried, mashed, and (as the name implies) fried again. Tostones are the side dish of my people, often replacing French fries with most meals, and one of my favorite things to eat.

4. Mangú

The easiest way to describe mangú is as a plátano puree. Think mashed potatoes, but with plátanos instead. Mangú is commonly eaten with fried eggs, fried salami, and fried cheese (we Dominicans love our fried food). When you put it all together it's called Los Tres Golpes (the three hits), the Dominican Breakfast of Champions, topped with red onions, of course. I love to add sliced avocado on top to this amazing plátanos dish.

5. Mofongo

Mofongo is basically plantains mashed with salt, garlic, and oil. It's shaped into a ball and traditionally filled with chicharrón (fried pork rind). There are several ways to eat Mofongo, but it is usually served with a broth to enhance the flavor.

The chicharrón can be substituted for other meats or seafood, and for any vegetarians, it can also be eaten without meat at all. If you haven't had Mofongo, you haven't truly lived. (Not to be confused with Mondongo, which is a VERY different food.)

6. Nachos

I saw this genius idea on Bien Tasty's Facebook page, and I cannot wait to try this. Think of your standard nacho dish with your choice of meat, shredded cheese, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and yummy guac. Now switch out the traditional tortilla chips with some freshly made tostones and you have magic.

7. Pastelon 

It's like a lasagna (who doesn't like lasagna?), but instead of pasta, it's lined with delicious plátanos. You've got to get it just right and make sure you have lots of melted cheese, but maybe that's just the cheese lover in me. Pastelon is quite the hit at house parties.

8. Plátano Burger

Literally a burger with buns made of plátanos by frying and mashing them, then re-frying them until they're crisp and golden. Kind of like large tostones substituting the bread. It seems a bit messy, but totally worth it. I've yet to try this, but you better believe it's on my bucket list! The best one in the tri-state area can be found in NYC at Patacon Pisao

9. Plátanos Al Caldero 

Here we have an super sweet spin on a usually savory food. Plátanos Al Caldero are made from ripe plantains cooked with cinnamon and sugar. The end result is caramelized plátanos maduros that you won't necessarily eat for dessert, but will certainly satisfy any sweet tooth you have.

10. Chips

Oh, how I love plantain chips. This technically is not a plátanos recipe, but it is just as great. You can have them salted, unsalted, or garlic-flavored, just how plátanos are usually eaten but with the convenience of being located at your nearest bodega. Think about it: portable plátanos. Genius, or what? The best part is you can make them on your own, too. It's a similar process to making tostones except you cut the plátanos much thinner.

These are just some of the many ways anyone can enjoy plátanos. Did I miss any crowd favorites? I hope you are all inspired to try these plantain recipes today; it's never a bad time in the day to eat them!