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(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

Servings: 4

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

Servings: 6

  • 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.


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David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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