I call these Breakfast Bowls, but they are truly ANYTIME bowls. Serve this Plantain Apple Bacon Brussels Hash alongside 2-3 eggs for breakfast, or get adventurous and try it with pan-seared salmon, leftover shredded pork, a burger patty, or Cuban-spiced black beans. Try any of these combos for breakfast OR dinner! Plus, it's gluten-free, paleo, Whole 30, vegan-optional, and AIP-friendly.
How to cook with plantains
I love trying out unfamiliar produce, and when I want a unique starchy carbohydrate, plantains are a great option. Plantains are a staple fruit in Latin American cooking, but are not common in Western cuisine. Plantains are rich in potassium, beta carotene, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, and are a good source of dietary fiber.
I find plantains at stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts - you can typically find them in the fruit section near the bananas.
The flavor of plantains ranges from savory to sweet, depending on ripeness. Green (unripe) plantains are savory and starchier, while yellow/black (ripe) plantains will be sweet and soft.
For this Plantain Apple Bacon Brussels hash, you can use plantains that are starting to yellow, but are still firm. This makes them slightly sweet, but with a texture like potato when cooked. To make the plantain easier to peel, make a slit lengthwise on the side of the plantain; this will make it much easier to take off the peel.
One important note is that sometimes plantains remain very starchy, even when ripe. They don’t taste great this way… I like to test my plantains when buying to make sure there is a little softness when you press the peel - you want it to be slightly soft, not rock hard. (If you have any tips on choosing the perfect plantain, let me know!)
Plantains on restrictive diets
A benefit of plantains is that they are often tolerated by people on very restrictive diets. Plantains are gluten- and grain-free, nightshade-free and nut-free. For clients who do not tolerate potatoes or legumes, plantains are a great option as a starchy carbohydrate. Plus, plantains can be mashed and used to make pancakes or waffles.
Resistant starch in plantains
Plantains are a great source of resistant starch, and a starchy carbohydrate option that I often recommend to my clients. If you’re looking for ideas on healthy carbohydrates and tips to incorporate carbs in a healthy diet, see my blog post on Building a Healthy Bowl.
Resistant starch is a type of prebiotic. Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that reach the large intestine (i.e. colon) intact and feed many strains of beneficial bacteria. So although prebiotics are indigestible to us, they are amazing food for our beneficial bacteria!
Plus, because resistant starch passes through our stomach and small intestine undigested, we do not see spikes in blood glucose or insulin after eating resistant starch.
However, the amount of resistant starch changes with heat. Certain foods like oats, green bananas, and plantains will lose some of their resistant starch when cooked. Although you would get the most resistant starch eating raw plantains, cooked plantains are still beneficial to consume in a healthy diet.
Some common foods with high amounts of resistant starch (listed in grams per 100g of food):
Cooked plantain (3.5g)
Raw bananas (4g)
Uncooked rolled oats (11.3g)
Cooked white beans (4.2g)
Cooked lentils (3.4g)
Cooked chickpeas (2.6g)
Cooked peas (1.9g)
How much resistant starch to consume daily
It is recommended to consume about 15 to 30 grams of resistant starch daily. However, if you feel that you get digestive issues like gas, bloating or diarrhea when consuming even small amounts of resistant starch (like the foods listed above), this could be a sign of gut dysbiosis. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can cause sensitivity to foods high in prebiotics, such as resistant starch.
If you find yourself struggling with digestive issues - even when you eat healthy foods - you may need to consider working with a Nutrition Therapist. I can help you balance your gut microbiome through diet, antimicrobials, supplements and lifestyle changes so you can tolerate healthy foods again!
Let’s work on gut healing if:
You are scared of vegetables and as a result gravitate towards more junk food, processed foods and things that your stomach can handle.
You avoid most raw vegetables because whenever you have a large salad, smoothie or anything with a lot of raw veggies, you have horrible stomach pain.
Your side-effects and symptoms have been taking over your life and it is really hard to focus on other things when you are in a flare-up.
You want to be able to not have to worry about what is going to cause your stomach to get upset.
You want to have a better understanding of what the proper diet is for you.
You want to have an overall better understanding of what is actually going on with your digestive health.