Tostones (Twice-Fried Green Plantains)

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Tostones, twice-fried green plantains, are a traditional side dish in many countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean. They are a great Paleo/Real Food safe starch option when cooked in a healthy fat like lard, bacon fat, coconut oil, ghee, or palm shortening. They are a versatile side dish that goes well with just about anything, from eggs, to meats, or just paired with avocado slices as a quick snack. This recipe is gluten-free, paleo, primal, and is suitable for the athlete modification of the 21-Day Sugar Detox or as a starch option on a Whole30. This is a picture tutorial recipe with a printable version at the end of the post. Also at the end of the post is a list of where to buy the tools and ingredients so you can make this recipe yourself at home. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 green plantains (check your local Hispanic market, farmer's market, and sometimes chain grocery store to find them)
  • cooking fat (coconut oil**, lard, bacon** grease, ghee**, or palm shortening**)
  • tostonera  (tostone press)** or meat tenderizing mallet with flat edge**
  • coarse sea salt**
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

First, you have to peel the plantains. They are NOT like bananas. You'll just make a mess and frustrate yourself if you try to peel them like a banana. Cut off both tips and then slice the peel down the length of the plantain on one or two sides. Then, you can remove the peel, but know that it will usually come off in pieces.

Slice each plantain crosswise into discs about 3/4" to 1" wide.

Heat about 1/4" of a good cooking oil like coconut oil**, lard, bacon** grease, ghee**, or palm shortening** in a large frying pan over medium heat for several minutes.

When oil is hot, add discs to the oil (carefully!), trying not to crowd them too much. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the plantain has turned a darker, more golden color (but not yet browned).

Remove from oil and let cool briefly before smashing. You will either need a tostonera (tostone press**) or, as a friend showed me, the flat edge of a meat tenderizing mallet**.

With a tostone press, place the disc in the center of the recessed circle and then press firmly with even force with the lid using your palm. Use a fork to help you remove the smashed discs. Sometimes they will stay in the recessed part, sometimes they stick to the flat side. 

If you are using a meat tenderizing mallet, put the plantain slices on a cutting board, then place the mallet gently on top of the disc in the center and use even pressure to press the disc into a circle.

If you have neither, you can use two cutting boards or other flat objects to press the plantains.  

Return the flattened discs to the hot oil and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, or until they turn an even darker golden color with some light browning, if you like. You will have to work in batches to cook them all. Add extra cooking fat as needed, because these will absorb quite a bit of fat as they cook. 

Top with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt** and a garnish of fresh chopped cilantro. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Serving ideas: 

  • They make a great snack or appetizer all by themselves!
  • For a heartier snack, pair with sliced avocado
  • Dip 'em in your favorite dip -- guacamole is my favorite 
  • With bacon, eggs, and avocado for breakfast (can make mini "sandwiches" with them!)
  • As a side dish with Latin American-style meat dishes, like Picadillo, Ropa Vieja, or Vaca Frita.  
  • As a side dish with just about any other meat main dish you like :)  

Tostones - Twice-Fried Green Plantains (Paleo)

Recipe by Amanda Torres

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1/4 inch cooking fat (coconut oil, lard, bacon grease, ghee, palm shortening)
  • 3-finger pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (optional garnish)

Cooking Directions

  1. First, you have to peel the plantains. They are NOT like bananas. You'll just make a mess and frustrate yourself if you try to peel them like a banana. Cut off both tips and then slice the peel down the length of the plantain on one or two sides. Remove peel (it may come off in pieces).
  2. Slice each plantain crosswise into discs about 3/4" to 1" wide.
  3. Heat about 1/4" of a good cooking oil like coconut oil, lard, bacon grease, ghee, or palm shortening in a large pan over medium heat for several minutes.
  4. When oil is hot, add discs to the oil (carefully!), trying not to crowd them too much. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the plantain has turned a darker, more golden color (but not yet browned).
  5. Remove from oil and let cool briefly before smashing. You will either need a tostone press or, as a friend showed me, the flat edge of a meat tenderizing mallet.
  6. With a tostone press, place the disc in the center of the recessed circle and then press the lid down firmly and with even force. I lay my whole palm across the lid. Use a fork to help you remove the smashed discs. Sometimes they will stay in the recessed part, sometimes they stick to the flat side.
  7. If you are using a meat tenderizing mallet, put the plantain slices on a cutting board, then place the mallet gently on top of the disc in the center and use even pressure to press the disc into a circle.
  8. If you have neither, you can use two cutting boards or other flat objects to press the plantains.
  9. Return the flattened discs to the hot oil and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, or until an even darker golden color with some light browning, if you like. You will have to work in batches to cook them all. Add extra cooking fat as needed, because these will absorb quite a bit of fat as they cook.
  10. Top with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt and a garnish of fresh chopped cilantro. Serve immediately. Enjoy tostones as a snack by themselves, use them as a vehicle for your favorite dip (guacamole is an awesome choice), eat them with eggs and bacon for breakfast, or use them as a side dish with your favorite protein. They are incredibly versatile!

**WHERE TO BUY TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS**

The following links for products that I used in this recipe are from my affiliate partners. My full affiliate disclosure is here. I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, but you pay the same price as everyone else. I appreciate your support and I only recommend products that I personally use and love.


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