Plantains: The Starchy Solution to Gluten-free Baking
Plantains are slowly becoming more of a household name, competing alongside their sweeter cousin, the banana. This tropical fruit packs a nutritional punch by serving as a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate and vitamin A. Even more, one plantain contains 20 percent of your daily potassium intake, more than the well-known banana at only 15 percent.
Not only are plantains a delicious source of nutrients, they can also serve as a gluten-free substitute for a variety of baked goods such as breads, muffins and even tortillas. This is due to the plantain's more starchy profile, which helps give these grain-free recipes their structure and texture. One of the main differences is that plantains must be cooked to be eaten, whereas bananas can be eaten raw. Much like the banana, plantains are more starchy and bitter when they are still green, and softer and sweeter when they turn brown.
A good rule of thumb to follow for substitution is one large plantain per one cup of flour in a recipe. Plantain flour is also available, and can be found at certain health food stores or online. Here is an easy two-ingredient recipe for plantain bread that is both gluten- and grain-free from Lori and Michelle of the wellness blog, Purely Twins.
Two-ingredient Plantain Bread
Recipe adapted from Purely Twins
1 large plantain, peeled (any ripeness will work)
2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray, and set aside.
- Add peeled plantain and eggs to a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan, and bake 15-18 minutes, or until bread is firm.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove and cool on wire cooling rack.
Emily Cooper, RD, is a New Hampshire-based dietitian working in the child nutrition field. She also maintains a health and wellness blog, Sinful Nutrition to share recipes, fitness, and all things health related. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.