Plantains for breakfast? Yes, it's healthy, satisfying, and nutritious. You only need a few ingredients and 10 minutes to make this sweet plantain recipe from start to finish.
Pair it with healthy proteins such as eggs and seeds for a sweet and savory combo. Or switch things up to keep your morning meals (or even lunch) interesting with crunchy, nutty, and creamy toppings and if you wish to keep it vegan-friendly.
Let's have a look at how to cook plantains for breakfast—the fastest and healthy way (Paleo-friendly, with dairy-free and vegan options).
Jump to: What are plantains I What color are ripe plantains I How to cook sweet plantains fast I What to eat with plantains | Plantains for breakfast with crunchy toppings (vegan option) | My favorite green fruit salad as a side dish
I can't get full credit for this recipe. During one of my visits too many years ago, my parents-in-law made me this microwave steamed plantain topped with fried eggs, healthy fats, and seeds.
I was hooked and loved how soft and naturally sweet the plantain turned out! It's a switcheroo on the egg and potato breakfast burrito and one that is far healthier.
Not to sound snobbery, but my microwave only runs on those rare occasions I forget to defrost something in the fridge or want to reheat up something quickly—even then, I often use the stove.
And although heating food using a microwave has its downsides, quickly steaming and cooking plantain in its peel makes total sense, especially for mornings you want something substantial without spending too much time in the kitchen.
Over the years, I have slightly added some ingredients and made it my own. First, there's the creamy and crunchy green fruit salad that I often make to vamp up this plantain breakfast dish—even worthy of a light lunch.
Then, there are the toppings replacing the fried egg now and then for a vegan-friendly morning meal.
Whether you enjoy sweet plantains for breakfast, lunch, or as a post-workout replenishment:
- It is healthy;
- super easy to make;
- packed with tons of nutrition;
- And filled with gratifying flavors;
What are plantains
Plantains are starchy fruits that look like bananas. And although both fruits stem from the same plant family, plantains are larger in size, feel heavier, have thicker skin, and are more challenging to peel than a regular banana.
It's also a fruit that you should not eat raw. But it tastes delicious when either fried, pan-fried, cooked, boiled, steamed, or even baked—I even use starchy plantains to replace flour in plantain pancakes or healthy cookies.
Like bananas, they have become a staple in my household. I fell in love with this fruit a long time ago while living for a while in Miami—they have some of the best plantain dishes in the country. Even sushi gets stuffed with this exotic fruit.
Luckily, they are now more prevalent in almost every store and come either green, yellow, or brown (almost black) in color.
More often, the produce section carries them when they are still green or green-yellowish on the outside. I can find them more readily in a ripened yellow state or sometimes even with dark brown spots in the summer months.
Green plantains have a more starchy taste and are perfect for savory dishes—think of the beloved tostones. But for this recipe, we want them ripened and thus sweeter and softer in texture.
So, let's look at how to tell if a plantain is ripe.
What color are ripe plantains
Very ripe plantains are primarily black with some yellow spots, but they should still feel slightly firm. Sometimes I go for plantains with yellowish skin (as shown in the picture above) with brown spots here and there.
As long as they have the sweet aroma of bananas and are slightly soft when placing some pressure on them with your thumb, they're sweet enough for breakfast and will hold their shape well when cooked.
You can still enjoy completely blackened plantains—there is nothing wrong with it. They are very sweet, but I find them a bit too mushy and harder to prepare.
How to ripen plantains at home? If you only find green or yellow plantains in-store, then further ripen by placing them at home in a large brown bag at room temperature.
A fair warning, it can take anywhere from a few days to a week or more before plantains are ripe and wonderfully sweet. It all depends on the season and temperature. Lately, I have been adding some apples to the bag, which speeds up the process.
But local Asian or Latin markets often carry already ripened plantains if you are in a hurry.
How to cook sweet plantains fast
You can quickly steam ripe plantains in their peel for a couple of minutes in the microwave. It depends on your microwave settings, but it takes anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes on a high setting until your plantain is soft and thoroughly cooked.
Here is how to do it!
- First, cut off the ends with a pairing knife.
- Then core the skin and cut a slid lengthwise into the flesh—do not cut all the way through. The deep lengthwise cross-section cut assists with the cooking process, and the shape of a boat makes it easier to dress it up with your favorite toppings.
- Wrap the fruit first in a paper towel and wet it with water. It ensures that the plantain does not dry out. Place it in the microwave for 3 minutes or up to 5 minutes if you want it softer.
- Once done, use a towel to unwrap paper towel and open up the fruit's peel—because it will be scorching.
- Let it cool a bit before peeling it carefully.
- Place the peeled plantain on a plate, cut side facing up. Now you can add your fried egg, toppings and fruit salad on the side.
- I'll share some topping ideas below.
What to eat with plantains
These add-ons can be enjoyed either for breakfast or lunch.
Plantain and Egg
Here is what we're making
- Microwaved sweet plantains, ready in about 3 to 5 minutes;
- A sunny-side-up egg or two—you can opt for egg whites only or make it vegan-friendly with healthy toppings (see below);
- A few seeds for their health benefits.
- A teaspoon of healthy fats such as avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, macadamia or coconut oil.
This wholesome homemade breakfast is perfect for busy mornings, but if you want to make it extra filling, pair it with a delicious green fruit salad, and it adds no additional cooking time.
Add healthy seeds and other toppings
- Hemp seeds and sunflower kernels not only provide the right type of fats and extra protein, but I also love the nutty flavor in contrast to the hearty egg and sweet plantain;.
- And although they are my usual food toppings for this simple plantain breakfast.
- Experiment with adding nuts, raisins, homemade nut-free granola, crunchy steel-cut oats granola, or even a spoonful of nut butter.
- Also, I love to pair it with some fruit on the side—green apples are my favorite.
Make a green fruit salad as a side dish
- All you need is
- one green apple
- a kiwi, peeled
- and half of a peeled ripe avocado
Chop and combine everything while your egg is frying, and sprinkle some extra seeds on top.
Granny Smith apples and a kiwi are deliciously refreshing, while the avocado adds that indulgent texture. It's perfect for those days when you are a bit more hungry than usual and need an extra boost of energy to get out of the door.
Plantains for breakfast—Other topping ideas
Switch it up, make it vegan-friendly by replacing the egg with some of the following:
- Your favorite (cashew) yogurt with crunchy granola.
- Chopped nuts like Brazil nuts, walnuts, or almonds.
- Roasted sunflower kernels, bee pollen, pumpkin seeds, raisins, or flax seeds.
- Other toppings (optional): nut or seed butter, a drizzle of homemade jelly or apple butter/sauce.
This plantain breakfast is ready in 10 minutes, and I know I might be biased, but this is an incredibly satisfying breakfast, so worth making. Enjoy!
Note: Just double or triple, etc., the ingredients for large portions!
Healthy Plantain BreakfastMariska Ramondino
To make plantain for breakfast
- 1 large and ripe plantain
- 1 teaspoon hemp seeds optional
- 1 teaspoon roasted and unsalted sunflower kernels
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil plus more to coat the pan (you can also use avocado or macadamia oil)
- 1 large egg or two
To make the fruit salad
- 1 green apple cored and chopped
- 1 kiwi peeled and chopped
- ½ avocado peeled and chopped
Make plantain for breakfast
- Cut the ends of the plantain and discard the ends (don't peel yet). Then create lengthwise a cross-section cut (don't cut all the way through only halfway).
- Wrap the unpeeled fruit with a large paper towel and lightly wet it on all sides with some water.
- Place the wrapped plantain in the microwave and cook for three minutes—5 minutes if you like your plantain extra soft. When done, let it sit for another minute to cool a little.
- In the meantime, take a small non-stick frying pan. Coat the bottom with a small amount of coconut or olive oil and heat over medium heat.
- Gently crack open the egg above the skillet, letting the egg pour into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low—season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the egg until the white has set, but the yolk is still runny (sunny side up egg).
- Take the wrapped plantain out of the microwave (be careful as it can still be hot). Unwrap and carefully remove the fruits' peel. The plantain should be soft and mushy.
- Discard the peel, place the cooked fruit on a small plate, cut side up, and gently open the fruit (creating a boat form).
- Divide first the hemp seeds and sunflower kernels over the plantain.
- Coat with coconut oil (optional but recommended) and slide the egg on top, allowing the yolk to run over the plantain.
- Enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee, tea, or Yerba Matte!
Serve with a green fruit salad on the side (optional)
- Combine the chopped fruits and arrange them on the plate next to the plantain.
- Sprinkle with extra hemp seeds or sunflower kernels.
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Nutrition (% Daily value)
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.
Note: this post was initially published in June 2017. This post has been updated to include new info and photos
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