Plantains are closely related to the banana. In fact they look almost exactly like a slightly larger-sized banana. They have a much thicker skin which may need to be cut with a knife in order to remove it, especially when using the green ones. I am most familiar with their use in cooking throughout Central and South America. However, they are grown in 120 different countries and appear in the cooking of other cultures as well. Today I am using the plantains to make baked tostones which are flattened green plantains which are then topped with avocado and tomato salsa.
More about plantains
Plantains are much starchier than bananas and not really edible in a raw state. You will find plantains sold in most grocery stores in various states of ripeness. There are green plantains, an unripe state, yellowish-brown, a bit ripe and brown, an even riper state.
There are various recipes for basically every stage of ripeness for plantains. However, for baked tostones in this recipe, you want to select the plantains that are mostly green with a bit of yellow. If they are too green they really won’t soften well enough to flatten and also they are kind of bitter in taste.
Selecting your plantains
The trick is to not buy them and let them sit too long before preparing the dish as they may get too ripe. Plantains are starchier when green and become sweeter as they ripen as the starch is converted into sugars. One of the keys of this recipe for baked tostones includes using the greenish plantains so the tostones have a more savory rather than sweet flavor.
Plantains are relatively low in calories, only 152 calories for 100 grams which is a bit over one cup. They have very little fat, and are a source of niacin (vitamin B3), magnesium, copper, ribovflavin (vitamin B2), potassium, manganese, folate, iron and phosphorous.
Tostones are traditionally fried and so yummy, but I really wanted to see if there was a way to successfully create a baked tostone. In my opinion, baking them is a bit challenging since by themselves in the unripe state they don’t have a lot of flavor.
I tried out a few things in order to get better results when baking them. First, you need to brush the plantains with seasoned olive oil at two different points in the cooking process. The purpose here is to add a bit of fat to the tostones. This extra fat helps soften them and to add some flavor.
After baking them for about 10-15 minutes, you need to flatten them. I used a glass which I placed on top and evenly pressed down. You want them pretty flat so they kind of crisp up more when they cook again. Once flattened, flip them over so the other side cooks on the pan. Before putting them back in the oven, brush the new side facing up with the remaining olive oil and seasoning.
Baked Tostones with Mashed Avocado and Fresh Tomato Salsa
- 2 greenish-yellow plantains
- 1 T olive oil
- ½ tsp Adobe seasoning
- 1-2 avocadoes mashed
- 2 limes juiced
- 2 roma tomatoes finely diced
- ¼ cup red onion finely diced
- ¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove peel of plantain and cut the plantain into 1” pieces (you may need to slice the side of the peel to remove).
- Place pieces onto baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
- Combine olive oil and Adobe seasoning. Lightly brush each piece of plantain on the top and the sides as well.
- Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
- While the plantains are cooking, mash the avocado and add lime juice from one lime and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
- After 10 minutes, remove the plantains from the oven and using a glass mash the plantains until they are flat and about ¼ thick. Flip the plantain over so the uncooked side is on the bottom. Brush the new side up with the remaining olive oil and adobe mixture. Place the plantains back in the oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- While plantains are cooking a second time, combine tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and juice of one lime.
- When plantains are ready, remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle.
- When cooled, top each tostone with a spoon of mashed avocado and garnish with pico de gallo on top.
- Serve immediately for best flavor and texture.
Top your tostones
I like to top tostones with a topping that is full of flavor. The possibilities are endless but my personal favorite is mashed avocado and bit of a tomato salsa.
Another great possibility I think I will try in the future is to layer them with refried beans and cheese making them into nachos. The main key is to use a topping with lots of flavor.
The finished tostones make a great side for a bowl of beans or stew, or a great finger food for your next party!
Did you make this recipe? Tell me how it went by leaving a comment here on the blog or by submitting a message to me through the contact me page. Tag your photos with @cookeatlivelove so I can see your creations.