Baked Plantain Chips might be the best snack ever – crispy and crunchy just like a chip, but baked, not fried, healthy AND gluten-free!
So, I know I’m a little late to the game on this one, but when did JUNE happen?
It’s like it was February, and then I turned around and BAM, summer. Not that I’m complaining or anything because we all know how much I live for summer, yes? Give me 100 degrees over 20 degrees and (and every) day of the year. Seriously. ☀️
Thanks to the year I spent in living and working Nicaragua (remember my post about the simple, life-changing cookies I discovered while there?), excessive heat, sweat-soaked clothes and feeling like you’ll never been cool again are not nuisances but welcomed nostalgia.
Mostly because that nostalgia reminds me of two of the greatest food discoveries I have made to date, both while living there: plantains (cooked in just about any form) and gallo pinto, their rice and beans specialty. Ok, ok. There were a few more like those cookies, tamarinds, mamones, ramboutan, pitaya, calala, and on and on…. BUT THOSE PLANTAIN CHIPS THO.
As soon as the heat rises every year, I start craving plantain chips (and/or tostones) and they are usually made at alarming rates in our household for a solid few weeks… while I blast Chino & Nacho, Pitbull or Nicaragua Nicaraguita of course ?
Seeing as how the weather has finally hit summer status here in Philly (…even if we did somehow seem to magically skip right over spring…) I’ll give you 3 guesses on what is probably in our oven right now.
While Granola would probably be your next best bet, it’s 99.99% likely that the answer is plantain chips. I simply can’t get enough.
And by all this “oven” talk (and thanks to the title of this post ?) I’m sure you’ve figured out my absolute favorite thing about these plantain chips: they’re baked and not fried! Mean, it IS swimsuit season afterall. Unlike its other starchy counterparts (looking at you, Mr. Potato) plantains can get just as crispy and crunchy baked in the oven as they can deep fried in oil. Gotta love that!
The secret to a super crunchy chip is a super thin slice. If you have a mandolin, I would highly suggest using it to slice up these plantain chips. If you don’t, just be sure to slice the plantain as thinly as possible with a super sharp knife – watching those fingers, of course! The other little trick? Flip them over halfway through their bake time. That way both sides get lots of contact with the hot sheet pan, helping them to crisp up as much and as evenly as possible.
In all of this plantain chip
talk excitement, I completely forgot to address a very important topic: what the heck is a plantain, anyway?
I’m sure you’ve seen them a time or two in the grocery store – likely in the exotic produce section – and thought: “no wonder someone ditched those bananas over there – they’re monstrous and green and goofy looking.” You were right on with the banana thought… kind of! Plantains come from the same family as bananas, but they’re much less sweet and a little starchier. Unlike bananas, you definitely want to cook them and never want to eat one raw like you would a banana. Not pleasant; don’t do it. Even when they are fully ripened and “sweet” they are still not a banana-like. Again, don’t do it. Trust me.
For this recipe, you’ll definitely want to make sure you use green plantains, and not the yellow, ripened plantains. Some people go for the fully green ones for plantain chips, but I like the ones on the lighter green side when just a touch of yellow is starting to show. Why? Peeling a plantain isn’t nearly as easy as peeling a banana. It definitely takes some oomph, and I’ve found that if you score plantains that are just a tad less green, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get the skin off.
So what’s the best way to EAT plantain chips? Other than straight up (it’s dangerously easy to down a whole batch!), I love serving them instead of chips with guacamole, using them in place of chips in a huevos rancheros dish, or eating them alongside a big, juicy burger in the summertime. They pair well with just about anything that a fry, tortilla chip, or potato chip would pair with, so don’t be shy!
Does the summer bring back any fun and unique food memories for you? I’d love to hear!
- 2 large green plantains
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ - 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the ends off the plantain, cut a thin line down the length of the plantain, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Then, using the knife and your hands, remove the skin from the flesh of the plantain *
- Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, cut the plantains into thin slices.
- Place the plantain slices in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper until every slice is well coated. Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer with no overlap.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, and then remove the plantains from the oven, flip them over, and return to the oven for another 6-10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and enjoy!
** Plantain chips are best when eaten the same day.