First, let’s get into what plantains even are. platains or plátanos (in Spanish) are a type of banana. They are part of a major group of banana varieties (genus Musa).
They have more starch than your common banana fruit and they are often used in cooked recipes.
The same banana plant can be found in 3 different colors: green, yellow, and black. Their color indicates whether they are ripe or not. Green bananas are often used in savory dishes like tostones or boiled in salted water.
Yellow plantains are slightly sweet. They can be fried, but they aren’t a great fit for tostones or maduros. Their texture will be tougher and its flavor will be mildly sweet. It’s best to wait until a yellow plantain has turned black and soft.
Growing up, plantains were a staple on our dinner plates, along with Puerto Rican yellow rice, bean stew, and sliced avocado. Fried plantains (or in this case oven-baked) are typically served as an appetizer, side dish, or snack.
What To Eat With Baked Sweet Plantains
Growing up, plátanos were served as a side, but you can mix it up and get creative with them. Because they are on the sweeter side, they pair well with dessert-type dishes.
Or, if you have the time, go for a vegan pastelón, which is a baked casserole, similar to lasagna where instead of pasta, you have layers of sweet plantains and meat. To make it vegan, switch out the meat for mushrooms or vegan ground.
How To Tell If Plantains Are Ripe Enough
To get plantains ripe enough for oven-baked plátanos or maduros, they should be tender to the touch – similar to ripe avocado. Also, they should be nearly black or dark in color. The darker in color, the sweeter they are.
It’s important the flesh of the banana is soft. This helps us get a feel if they are ready to be cooked. Sometimes, you can find a plantain banana that’s nearly black or dark in color, but it is hard.
This will yield plantains that have a bite, rather than a dish that’s soft and sweet.
How To Cut Plantains
Thankfully ripe bananas are easy to slice open. When they ripen, the fruit’s flesh becomes very soft and with a good knife, little effort is needed to peel.
First, you’ll want to cut off both ends of the plantains. Then, yoku’ll want to cut vertically from end-to-end. Next, carefully remove the fruit’s flesh.
To cut the plantain, cut into ½-inch thick pieces. I like to cut them slightly diagonally. However, you can slice them into thick coins.
Oven-Baked Plantains Recipe (Maduros)
- 1 ripe yellow plantain
- Cooking spray See recipe notes to cook oil-free
- Salt (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Cut off both ends of the plantains. Then, slice the plantains lengthwise – cutting only skin deep. Then remove the plantain skins. Slice the plantains diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.
- Add a bit of cooking spray to the baking sheet. Line the plantain pieces onto the baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes, flip, then cook for another 5 minutes. Serve and add some salt.
- You MUST use ripe, sweet plantains. If they are black and bruised – they are perfect for maduros.
- To go completely oil-free, skip out on the cooking oil spray. They can be cooked directly on a baking sheet.
Did you try out this Oven-Baked Plantains Recipe (Maduros)?