(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) A salad can fill an empty stomach for nearly any purpose, from an al fresco snack to a family appetizer. When combined with protein like chicken, a salad can become a full, nutritious meal all on its own.
If you're looking for a way to take your salad from snack or side to a savory main course, consider this High-Protein Chicken, Onion and Quinoa Salad with its own handmade dressing. Ready in less than 30 minutes, it calls for a handful of everyday ingredients including sauteed onions as a key ingredient for added flavor.
In fact, onions can be called nature's ninja because of their many "skills." Onions add abundant flavor to a wide variety of foods with just 45 calories per serving as a source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and other key nutrients such as folate, calcium and iron. They are also rich in heart-healthy nutrients and have been shown to help prevent some cancers.
Visit onions-usa.org for more recipe ideas.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
High-Protein Chicken, Onion and Quinoa Salad
Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 3 cups baby kale
- 1 red skinned apple, chopped
- 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- To make dressing: In bowl, whisk vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, honey and Dijon mustard until well combined. Set aside.
- In saucepan, bring quinoa and broth to boil. Simmer, covered, 12-15 minutes, or until broth has been absorbed. Cool completely.
- In medium skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion 3-5 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Remove from heat; cool completely.
- In large bowl, toss onion, kale, apple, chicken, salt and pepper with dressing. Stir in cooled quinoa.
Nutritional information per serving: 407 calories, 36.5 g protein, 11.6 g fat, 39 g carbohydrates, 297 mg sodium, 4.2 g fiber.
Food, family and holiday traditions
(Family Features) A tamalada, or tamale-making party, is a Mexican holiday tradition that occurs during Las Posadas and combines two of the season’s most important ingredients – quality family time and flavorful food.
Consider these tips from Sylvia Garza of Qué Mami Organics to help make your tamalada fun and easy.
- Food: Before your tamalada, prepare the ingredients that require extra time and work. For example, if you are using roasted chilies, roast them the day before and have them peeled, seeded and cut up for seamless assembly the next day.
- Family: When hosting a tamalada, have food or snacks ready to share with your guests. Making dozens of tamales can take most of the day, so you’ll want to keep your helpers well-fed.
- Flavor: Add an ingredient like Tabasco Chipotle Sauce to your masa when making tamales. Not only can the sauce add smoky flavor, but it also gives the dough an appetizing golden color. You can also mix the sauce into your filling for a brighter flavor and a kick of heat.
Find more flavorful recipes at Tabasco.com.
Zucchini and Corn Tamales
Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Garza of Qué Mami Organics
Yield: 16 tamales
- 30 large, softened corn husks
- 3 cups masa harina (corn flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 1/3 cups vegetable broth, warmed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- 3 cups zucchini, cubed small
- 1 tomato, cubed small
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup sweet white corn
- 4 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
- 5 ounces Qué Mami Organics Red Enchilada Sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Tabasco Pepper Sauce
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2-ounce strips
- To prep husks: Soak corn husks in hot water. Place heavy pot on top of husks to keep submerged at least 1 hour. Once pliable, rinse each corn husk.
- To make dough: In large bowl, mix corn flour, baking powder and sea salt. Using hands, mix in warm vegetable broth to make firm dough. In mixer, cream butter and shortening until fluffy then add dough in small amounts until well mixed. Continue mixing at low-medium speed 5 minutes, scraping dough off sides of bowl. Reserve dough.
- To make filling: In large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil; saute red onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini and mix 1 minute. Add tomato, dried oregano and sea salt; continue mixing 1 minute. Add corn and chopped cilantro. Stir and continue cooking about 2 minutes more; zucchini should be cooked but al dente. Remove filling to heat-resistant bowl.
- In small bowl, combine enchilada sauce and Tabasco pepper sauce. Add half of sauce mixture to filling; mix well. Reserve remaining sauce.
- To assemble tamales, spread 2 tablespoons dough onto wide end of each corn husk. Dough should extend across corn husks, except 1 inch on sides and about 3 inches from narrow end.
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon zucchini and corn filling into middle of dough. Add 1 teaspoon reserved sauce over filling and one strip cheese on top. Fold right side of corn husk over filling and seal closed with dough. Fold over left side of corn husk tightly and fold narrow end of corn husk up. Cut strips from extra corn husks and tie around each tamale to secure.
- Place tamales vertically, filling-side up, in steam pot with enough water to steam 40-45 minutes. Cover tamales with extra corn husks to trap in steam; place lid on pot. Tamales are ready when masa dough separates easily from husks. Add water to pot, as necessary, for longer steaming.
- Let tamales rest 10 minutes before unwrapping. Remove corn husks before serving.