This is a tricky one. Plantain chips have been a longtime staple on Whole30. People for years have rejoiced in the discovery that Trader Joe’s makes a seemingly compliant plantain chip…until March 2017 when all of that changed.
A new rule was introduced not long ago that bans all store-bought commercially produced chips of any kind, even if they are made entirely of compliant ingredients.
This means that the once beloved Trader Joe’s Plantain Chip, even with its simple ingredients of plantains, sunflower oil and salt, is no longer an option. This new rule, however, also clarifies that while store-bought chips are out of the question, you are welcome to make your own, “real-food version” at home as long as there is no deep-fryer involved.
What does this mean for your plantain chip consumption on Whole30? Even though store-bought plantain chips are no longer allowed, homemade ones are absolutely allowed on Whole30! Lucky for us, plantains are inexpensive, simple to prepare, and a super tasty way to include some healthy carbs on the program.
Although we generally want to be avoiding “chip-like” foods in order to remain aligned with the spirit of Whole30 and avoid any food-with-no-brakes situations, plantains are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.
The Plantain Low-Down
If plantains are not a part of your usual food rotation, they can be a bit mystifying at first glance. These giant-banana-looking starches often make up the base of many tropical dishes and just happen to be naturally Whole30-friendly! There are a few different varieties of plantain: green, yellow and black.
- Green plantains are low in sugar and high in starch—they are best used in savory applications like soups or chips and are similar to potatoes in texture.
- Yellow plantains are slightly sweeter and less starchy than green—they are amazing fried or even halved lengthwise and grilled on the barbecue.
- Black plantains are, although they may look it, not overripe or rotten! They are sweet and almost banana-like—great for baking in desserts!
Nutrition-wise, plantains are even more awesome. They are a great source of the essential starch that will provide you with sustainable energy on your Whole30—not to mention they are an incredible source of Vitamin C along with an array of other vitamins and minerals.
What about sugar content, though? If your sugar dragon is easily awoken, some of the sweeter starches may trigger a food-with-no-brakes sort of reaction. If this sounds like you, stick to the starchier, less sweet varieties like green or maybe yellow.
How Do I Use Plantains on Whole30?
You can use plantains much like you’d use potatoes, sweet potatoes, or any other starch—they’re great fried, baked, or even riced!
To make things easy, check out this super simple fried plantains recipe from the Real Food Dieticians that goes great with salad or as a topper to your favorite Whole30 chili.
- 2 medium-sized plantains (yellow work best here)
- 1 ½ – 2 Tbsp. ghee
- Pinch of good sea salt
- Fresh lime wedges (optional, but delicious!)
Carefully peel the plantains by cutting the end off at either side and slicing a shallow slit long-ways through the skin. Gently use your hands to remove each peel.
Heat a skillet on the stove on medium-high heat and slice your plantains 1/4” rounds. Add the ghee to the pan and as soon as it melts, place your plantain slices in the pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Once they turn a gorgeous golden color, flip and repeat. Continue this process until all the slices are fried, adding more ghee if necessary.
Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt. Serve with a squeeze of lime if you’d like!
What are your thoughts on plantains? Love them as much as we do? Tell us what you think in the comments below!