Calendar coincidences amuse me. Today, for example, is Labor Day, which is always the first Monday of September. It is also the first day of the September. Somehow, it seems as if that makes today more meaningful and important. Is that weird? Probably. Still, it seems like an extra-auspicious day to make a fresh start.
With fresh starts in mind, today is a great time to start a Whole30, like my friend J. is doing.
My husband and I did one in February, and even though I thought we had a pretty healthy diet before, we discovered that we were eating a surprising amount of junk. Doing the Whole30 was a great way to reacquaint ourselves with the way we really wanted to eat and to feed our family.
So while I am focusing on tasty, kid-friendly dishes this month, I will also be sure to include things that are Whole30 appropriate. Like these cinnamon pepper plantains.
Plantains are a strange and wonderful food, useful in all their stages of ripeness. When green, they are bland and starchy — great for taking the place of grains, as in this excellent (not Whole30) pancake recipe from The Paleo Mom. As plantains ripen, turning from green to yellow to black, their natural starches convert to sugar and they become sweeter and sweeter; the flavor is something like a cross between an apple and a banana. Because of this, it is important to get plantains at the proper stage of ripeness so your dish turns out correctly.
For this recipe, my take on a traditional preparation called maduros, I recommend using plantains that are on the riper side, anywhere from spotty yellow to completely black. Again, the darker the plantain, the sweeter they will be. Note that plantain skins are much tougher than those of bananas, so you’ll need to cut them off rather than peeling them.
The seasoning is simple — just three ingredients — but the sharpness of freshly ground black pepper and the sweetness of cinnamon heightens and intensifies the taste. As a bonus, true cinnamon*happens to be incredibly good for you.
All in all, it’s a great start to a Whole30, a new month, or just to enjoy something a little different.
- 4 ripe plantains
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, preferably Ceylon
- Cut plantains in half. Gently wedge the knife just below the skins and remove. Slice the flesh in half.
- Season plantains with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Warm a medium skillet over medium heat. When warm, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil.
- Add seasoned plantain slices to the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until plantain is caramelized and brown. Add more oil if needed. Flip; cook for another 2 minutes on the second side. Remove from pan and serve immediately.
* = Afifliate link