For those times when you just need a little treat - but don't want to dive back into old habits, old foods, foods that make you feel icky, or things that don't support your new habits - it's nice to have a little something on the back burner that feels indulgent.
These plantain fritters - actually more of a baked cookie, but fritter sounds so much more fun - have become my little treat. I love that these have the potential to be super unhealthy, but the simple ingredients and lack of sugar, dairy and refined grain makes them a really nourishing choice. Plus, they'
re packed with refueling starches (those nice complex carbohydrates the body loves to use for energy), potassium (yay, electrolyte replenishing) and Vitamins A, C and B6. Great balance of nutrients to help the body out after a period of activity -- and really fueling with a little protein as a breakfast option*. The coconut oil also makes these nice and filling, and imparts a particularly sweet flavor all on its own. Sweetness without sugar? Huzzah!
Plantains are relatives of the banana, although they're more closely related, nutritionally, to a yucca or a sweet potato. They're high in fiber, but low in sugar, which means they take a long time to break down (good) without wreaking havoc on blood sugar levels (also good). They contain more glucose than fructose; glucose being the sugar the body can immediately use and stop consuming when we've had enough. Fructose, on the other hand, is the tricky sugar we have trouble not eating: we're not designed to stop consuming it, and there's no 'you're done' signal in the brain that corresponds with this fruit sugar. Crazy, right?
Bananas, on the other hand, are 80% fructose and cause a sudden spike in blood sugar. This is usually followed by a sudden drop as the body tries to find its equilibrium, which means we get hungry more quickly and our energy ends up all over the place as it tries to find a happy medium again. (If you're going to have high-sugar fruits, eat them alone, along with something high in protein, like nut butter, 30 minutes before or after.) More on food combining here, if you're interested.
While you could whip up this batter and make an actual fritter (dropping this, french-fry style, in hot oil), this baked version reduces the amount of oil you need and makes for a less soggy, longer-keeping treat. (Although I will admit: they're so good, I find it tough keeping them in the fridge for longer than a few days. They call to me. Do you ever experience that? I suppose there are worse things.) :)
The addition of the curry powder and cayenne takes this to a whole other level of sweetness: the kick from the spice definitely reminds you you're not having an Oreo, but there's something lovely about how well it goes with the plantains' carby-ness. A little like a Journey Bar, these have a distinctly 'healthy' quality to them... but in a good way. :)
The majority of the flour in these fritters is the chickpea flour; again, a great source of complex carbs. It's a high-fiber, high-protein gluten-free substitute. Keep it in the fridge in a sealed container for best results -- you can use it in everything from cookies to dusting tofu before pan-frying to dog treats to veggie burgers.
Serve with a little sweet basil ponzu dipping sauce on the side for a savory treat, or have them plain as an energy-boosting, sugar-free snack. These are also awesome post-workout to refuel without tipping the blood sugar scale into crazy-land. They're also just really decadent while being entirely guilt-free. Everyone wins!
*legitimately a breakfast cookie worth eating. Don't fall victim to the allure of Second Cup or Starbucks' 'breakfast cookies' -- they're just regular, not-great-for-you cookies with a different label. ;)
- 2 large ripe plantains, peeled
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- a pinch of chili powder or cayenne
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1. Preheat oven to 350F.
- 2. In a food processor, combine plantains and coconut oil. Blend until smooth.
- 3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer and add in remaining ingredients. Whisk vigorously or mix on medium-high for about 90 seconds until everything is combined and slightly fluffy.
- 4. Form into cookie shapes (round or lady-finger-like) and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake 15 minutes. Edges will brown slightly, and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
- 5. Allow cookies to sit for 5 minutes before removing from tray.
- Store extra batter and/or prepared cookies in the fridge in a sealed container.