Are Plantains Gluten-Free?
Plantains are a naturally gluten-free tropical fruit rampant with delicious nutrition and flavor. They are often used as a gluten-free substitute in a variety of dishes, from baked goods to breads. Once a plantain is cooked, it’s a flavorful side dish, snack, or base upon which to add just about any other ingredient you can imagine.
What Is A Plantain?
A plantain looks very similar to a banana, and if not looking carefully enough, you might have a hard time telling the difference between the two. A plantain is larger, thicker, and when in a grocery store, typically has a greenish tint to it.
Where Do Plantains Come From?
Being a tropical fruit, plantains are common in tropical cuisines, and are as crucial to these diets as potatoes are in Western culture. Plantains are used often in the Caribbean, Latin America, and India. While they are now found in tropical climates in these regions, it is believed that plantains were first found in Southeast Asia before being traded and grown elsewhere.
When they are under-ripe and green, they complement starchy dishes. When they are over-ripe and brown/black, their sweetness really comes through. Similar to potatoes, a plantain can be cooked in various ways. Fried plantains are an immensely popular dish, being delicious, nutritious, and very easy to make. They can also be mashed or boiled, and can even be made into flour for a natural gluten-free baking substitute.
How Are Plantains Used For Gluten-Free Cuisine?
Plantain flour is a relatively new innovation in gluten-free substitutes, but is one rapidly growing in popularity for its versatility. Because the ripeness of a plantain changes its flavor, it allows for plantains in each stage to be turned into a flour substitute for dishes with varying flavor profiles. This is important to consider when choosing which type of plantain flower you will use.
Plantain flour can be used for your everyday baking needs, such as muffins, pancakes, waffles, and bread. It can also be used in sweets such as cookies and cakes. Plantains on their own can be turned into delicious and healthy chips, being the perfect texture to substitute for potato chips or nachos.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Plantains?
Not only are plantains gluten-free, inexpensive, and yummy, but they are very nutritionally dense. Some of the benefits plantain offer are:
- They are high in fiber, which helps combat diabetes, heart disease, and constipation
- They contain a good level of antioxidants, which helps alleviate stress and free radical damage to the body
- They are high in Vitamins A and C, which support a healthy immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties
- They are also high in potassium and Vitamin B6, which are two important parts of every diet
The nutritional facts of a baked yellow plantain, according to the USDA, are as follows: