These Crispy Baked Green Plantains are the healthy version of the Latin America widely known Patacones or Tostones, usually fried. In Panama, just as in any part of Northern South America, the Caribbean, and Central America, plantains are a significant component of the day-to-day cuisine.
This Latin American finger food or side dish made traditionally with fried plantains has been present in my life since the day I started to chew. These thick plantain chips are more common in Central American and Caribbean countries than french fries.
It doesn't get easier than picking a green plantain, slicing it in 1-inch chunks, to bring about 10 of these goodies. You can put whatever you can think of on top of them, eat them with a dipping sauce like your favorite hummus, or simply have a bite or two while you munch on a saucy stew.
As children, we would eat them with ketchup on top, yes, just like french fries! We all love plantains.
Our mother used to make us a quick tuna salad, which we would scoop on top of the fried plantains, and that was a quick dinner that we all loved.
But... can you bake green plantains to avoid deep frying them and eat healthy? Yes you can and this tostones recipe explains how.
- Green plantains
- Avocado oil (coconut oil and olive oil also work)
Optional: garlic or garlic powder.
See quantities and full instructions in the recipe card.
Making these baked green plantains is super easy.
Preheat the oven to 440 ºF (220ºC).
Prepare a green plantain
Peel and cut the plantains.
How to peel plantains?
You can find plantains in Latin stores, or farmers' markets. Here in Italy, we find them in an Arab grocery store.
Wherever you get them, make sure you pick the greener ones for this tostones recipe; this will facilitate the pealing process and ensure they don't have any trace of sweetness.
Then place them in a mixing bowl, season with oil, sprinkle generously some salt, and a teaspoon of garlic powder (or minced garlic clove).
We replicate the same process followed by the traditional, twice-fried recipe with this plantain recipe.
You need to bake the plantains twice. The first time, to make the soft and be able to smash them and then place them back in the oven as a second bake to achieve the final desired consistency.
Place them in a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake the sliced plantains to make them softer until you see the plantains have turned from a pale pink-salmon color to yellow. You will also notice the brown veins look more prominent.
Press them with the bottom of a glass to make small discs, and brush them with oil.
These tostones or baked plantains recipe calls for avocado oil, but you can use extra virgin olive oil or a cooking spray instead.
Top tip: use a plastic bag to prevent the smashed-baked plantain slices from sticking to the glass.
Bake them again on the same large baking sheet with parchment paper until golden brown.
Baked plantains make the perfect side dish for any recipe, where you would use potato wedges.
For the detailed steps please scroll to the recipe card or watch the video.
Notes: To make the traditional fried version, you need to follow the exact procedure, but instead of baking the plantains twice, a deep frying method is used instead, using a frying pan, neutral oil... also cooked twice.
Both fried and baked versions of these green plantain fritters get mushy if not eaten immediately.
Plantains stain, do not touch your clothes after opening.
You can add garlic powder or minced garlic to the plantains, before baking them. Use only one garlic or 1 teaspoon.
If you want to make plantain chips, the process is way simpler! You just need to bake the thinly sliced plantains once, using olive oil (or cooking spray), salt, and lay all the plantain chips on a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper.
Use a carrot slicer to thinly slice the green plantains.
Traditional plantain chips (or banana chips) are also made deep-fried (only once), instead of baking plantains.
More about Plantains
In one aboriginal dialect, still in use, the word for plantain is T’ach. This word also means “food.” You get the picture; the word for plantain is the same word used to call food in general.
Green Plantains Fritters
In Panama, we call them patacones; in Colombia, they are Tostones. They are our French fries.
Thus, in any given restaurant, you will have the option to pair your main dish with either rice, cassava root (yuca), patacones (fried green plantains), or potatoes (baked or French fries).
I always go for Patacones or Yucas (cassava).
Remember: to make Tostones or Patacones, you need very green plantains.
Plantains are starchy, tough, and not very sweet. Therefore, they require cooking, as they are not enjoyable to eat raw.
You can eat plantains in several ways, the most widely known being the traditional fried plantains, and they are considered snack cuisine and most of the time a side dish.
Yellow plantains are also great for cooking other dishes such as Plátanos en Tentación, Savory Tajadas, Sweet Tajadas, Platanitos (like the ones you may have seen as packed snacks), and Mofongo (a typical dish from Puerto Rico).
They have become sweet plantains after ripening, just like any other fruit. But they are not as sweet as a regular banana; that's why in most of the recipes using yellow plantains, some sweetener is used—the Tajadas (or sliced plantains is an exception).
All very easy to make dishes with a minimal amount of ingredients.
More Panamanian Dishes
There is a unique book, written and developed by a Panamanian well-known chef and friend Charlie Colins, inspired by this word, the name of the book is T’Ach: Authentic Panamanian Cuisine.
I love this book as it depicts Panamanian Cuisine at its best, with pictures and recipes developed on a journey through the different provinces and cuisines from Panama; a small country of barely 3.8 million people, which has seven native dialects that are still spoken which comes with different cultures and ways of cooking.
More plantain recipes
Try these Sweet Plátanos en Tentación (Plátano Pícaro)
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Baked Green Plantains (Patacones or Tostones)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven at 440 ºF (220ºC). Cut the green plantain with a lengthwise cut.1 green plantain
- Introduce a small knife at the edge of the plantain and keep opening the peal with your hand.1 green plantain
- Cut the peeled plantain in ¾ inches (about 2 centimeters).1 green plantain
- Add the plantain chunks to a bowl and mix them with the grated garlic, salt, and half of the oil.1 green plantain, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- Place a parchment paper with the oil and salt coated plantain chunks on a baking tray and make its way to the oven.1 tablespoon avocado oil
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Take them out and pick a plastic bag. Place each chunk, one by one, inside the plastic bag and press it with a glass or plate, placing them back on top of the parchment paper.
- Brush the mashed plantains with the remaining oil.
- Place them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Take them out of the oven and enjoy hot.
Pin for Later!
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking points to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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