Caribbean Pineapple Black Beans and Oven-Fried Plantains Featured

Authors: Fatfree Vegan Blog

by Susan Voisin on December 13, 2012
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Caribbean Black Beans and Pineapple

I know we’re in the “holiday season” when most people are looking for holiday recipes (see mine here), but I wanted to send you on a brief vacation to the tropics with a couple of easy recipes guaranteed warm up your winter meals with a bit of summer sun.

First up is something I threw together never intending to write a blog post about it, but as these unplanned dishes have a way of doing, this one was so good that my family insisted I should post it. Basically, all I did was make Caribbean black beans with pineapple juice instead of orange juice for the simple reason that I had a bottle of pineapple juice in the fridge and didn’t want to take the time to squeeze a couple of oranges. While the beans were cooking, I realized that I had a fresh pineapple handy, so I chopped up about a quarter of it and added it at the end. Maybe it’s just because we love pineapple in bean dishes (adding it is one of my “sneaky mom” tricks to get daughter E to eat just about anything), but we loved the combination of pungent allspice and sweet pineapple.

Caribbean Pineapple Black Beans    

Oven-Fried Plantains

One day E came home from school insisting that I buy her a plantain. Her Colombian Spanish teacher had described fried plantains in such glowing terms that E wanted to try them immediately. So on my next shopping trip, I dutifully picked up a plantain, knowing that somehow I was going to have to “fry” it. But it’s been decades since I actually fried something, so there was not much chance any real frying was going to take place. What to do? Well, Chef Google came to my rescue when I called, with Oven Baked Sweet Plantains. I looked at the recipe, got the gist of it, and then forgot all the details as I waited two weeks for my plantain to get riper. When I was ready to oven-fry, I relied on memory, so my baking temperature is lower and cooking time is longer than that recipe specifies. But my plantains came out perfectly–sweet and soft on the inside and a tiny bit crispy on the outside–and I think the lower temperature is less likely to result in burned plantains. (The edges of the plantains get burned easily, so that’s a real concern.)

We loved these so much. I hate to think that I’ve been missing out on “fried” plantains all my life, but we’ll be having them often from now on. They make an excellent side dish–sort of like sweet French fries–totally unadorned, though I know some people put salt or cinnamon on them. I may try them sometime with just a bare sprinkle of cinnamon, but I wouldn’t want to do anything to hide the naturally sweet, caramelized flavor of the fruit   

I hope these simple recipes bring you some Tropical warmth this cold December. And hey, if you’re still shopping for gifts (I know I am), please check out my favorite cooking gadgets in my Amazon Store, where your purchase will help keep my family in plantains this winter! 

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