(Family Features) If you’re looking to spice up your mealtime routines, especially during those busy school nights, you may find your solution in versatile ingredients that work for a multitude of dishes.
For example, you can turn to plantains as a replacement for often-used recipe staples like potatoes. Plantains are a fruit grown around the world that cooks and eats more like a vegetable. Members of the banana family, they’re starchier and lower in sugar, meaning they’re still green when ripe.
While you’re most likely to find them baked, roasted or fried as a savory side dish at Latin, African or Caribbean restaurants, they’re growing in popularity in North America as stars of their own recipes or as nutritious, exotic swaps for starches. For example, these dishes from Dole for Plantain Crusted Salmon Fillets and Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Plantain and Lentil Caribbean Curry offer quick ways to enjoy plantains while saving time in the kitchen.
As an additional benefit, plantains can be used at every stage of ripeness. They can be boiled like a potato when green; prepared in sauces and soups, air-fried or roasted as snacks when yellow; or baked in desserts and sweet recipes when black or spotted.
Find more ways to enjoy plantains and other fresh fruits and vegetables in family recipes at dole.com.
Plantain Crusted Salmon Fillets
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skin on
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1 DOLE® Plantain, green or half ripe
- 2 Dole Green Onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon grated lime peel
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Combine cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, garlic and cumin; set aside.
Arrange salmon fillets on prepared baking sheet. Season with salt, to taste. Spread about 1 tablespoon cilantro mixture on top of each salmon fillet to cover.
Using box grater, peel and grate plantain. Place grated plantain in bowl with green onions, lime peel and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup plantain mixture on top of each salmon fillet, gently pressing to adhere. Spray plantain crust with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake 15 minutes, or until salmon is opaque and plantain crust is lightly browned.
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Plantain and Lentil Caribbean Curry
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, grapeseed oil, divided
- 1 large DOLE® White Onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 large Dole Sweet Potatoes, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 2 medium Dole Plantains, chopped (about 3 cups)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 3 cups packed, chopped collard greens
- 1/4 cup roasted salted pepitas
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons oil; add onion and cook 3 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, curry powder, cayenne pepper and ginger; cook 2 minutes, or until fragrant and starting to brown, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer onion mixture to 3-4-quart slow cooker; add chickpeas, potatoes, plantains, broth and lentils. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours, or until potatoes and lentils are tender.
- Stir in collard greens; cook 20 minutes, or until greens are tender. Serve garnished with pepitas.
(Family Features) One of the great myths of healthy eating is that it’s expensive. Making healthier choices can actually save you money when you know how to shop smart.
To help encourage healthier communities, the American Heart Association and Aramark have simple tips to keep in mind as you seek out affordable, nutritious and tasty food options for your family:
- Shop with a plan in mind. Taking a list to the store helps limit impulse purchases, but it’s OK to make smart swaps while shopping if items you’d normally use are on sale.
- Consider your fruit and veggie options. Locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables are often reasonably priced for recipes like this Mediterranean Chicken and Grain Bowl. Canned and frozen options, meanwhile, can be just as nutritious as fresh options.
- Cook once, eat twice. Choose recipes that make enough food to enjoy fresh for one meal and as leftovers later, such as this four-serving Curry-Spiced Tofu with Asian Vegetables.
- Buy in bulk. Look for items with long shelf lives like whole grains and non-perishables such as canned beans and vegetables.
- Focus on dishes with limited, common ingredients. They are easy to prepare and allow you to avoid purchasing items like rarely used spices.
- Develop a budget. Assess your current food expenses each week. Multiply by the number of weeks that month to find your monthly food budget and determine if this fits with your other monthly expenses.
Mediterranean Chicken and Grain Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Aramark
- 8 ounces farro or brown rice
- 6 cups spinach, stems removed
- 1 1/2 cups diced seedless cucumbers
- 1 1/2 diced tomatoes
- 6 thin slices red onion
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
- 3 cups cooked skinless chicken breast, visible fat discarded
- 6 tablespoons fat-free or low-fat crumbled feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons kalamata olives
- Cook farro according to package instructions.
- On serving plate, place 1/2 cup farro. Around farro, arrange 1 cup spinach; 1/4 cup cucumber; 1/4 cup tomatoes; 1 slice red onion, separated into rings; and 1/2 cup cauliflower.
- Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over salad. Top with 1/2 cup chicken and garnish with 1 tablespoon feta cheese and 1 1/2 teaspoons olives. Repeat with additional servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 342 calories; 12 g total fat; 52 mg cholesterol; 551 mg sodium; 35 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 8 g sugars; 25 g protein.
Curry-Spiced Tofu with Asian Vegetables
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association
- 12 ounces light, extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry, cut into four slices
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, curry powder, divided
- 12 ounces packaged fresh stir-fry vegetables
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 large onion, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup light coconut milk
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- Put tofu on large plate. Sprinkle tofu on both sides with 1 tablespoon curry powder.
- In large microwaveable bowl, microwave vegetables and water on high 2-3 minutes, or until vegetables are almost tender-crisp. Pour off remaining water.
- In large nonstick skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat bottom. Cook tofu in single layer 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned. Transfer to separate large plate. Cover loosely to keep warm.
- In same skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat bottom. Cook onion 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Stir in vegetables and garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring constantly.
- Stir in coconut milk, chili garlic sauce and remaining curry powder. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Spoon vegetable mixture over tofu.
Nutritional information per serving: 151 calories; 6.5 g total fat; 86 mg sodium; 14 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 4 g sugars; 10 g protein.