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Loaded Plantain Fries with Ropa Vieja and Cashew Queso

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HI friends! I definitely feel like I’ve been slacking on you. Keeping up with the blog these days has been difficult! I’ve had a few recipes that I’ve made & shot just sitting and waiting to be shared with you and I apologize! I shot these Loaded Plantain Fries a few weeks ago and they were SO good. They would also be perfect for this upcoming memorial weekend because they’re a total crowd pleaser and easy group food. They’re also fairly easy to make and really not that time consuming. I really wanted to put a healthier twist on something that makes me weak in the knees – loaded fries. Ya know? The ones with all the fake nacho cheese and bacon and hot sauce? I have a secret to tell you – this green plantain recipe is even better than that. Don’t believe me? Try them for yourself!

FRY ME!

What is a Green Plantain?

These are those huge green bananas you see in the grocery store. I get mine from Fresh Direct! Sometimes they’re green and sometimes they’re more ripe and a mix of yellow and black. For this particular recipe we want the green!

How to Peel a Green Plantain:

I’m sure there are many ways you could find on the internet about how to make peeling these guys easier BUT I haven’t had too much trouble with the way I do it, so here it is. Run a sharp knife down the back of the plantain from top to bottom. You want the knife to go in just enough so you’ll be able to get the peel off but not cut too much into the actual plantain.

How to Cut a Green Plantain:

So something I actually learned in a cooking class in college was how to make things square that aren’t naturally that way. Cut the plantain in half. Then with the plantain half vertically facing, you’ll cut a small amount off of the left side to make it a straight line & roll the plantain cutting a sliver off of each side until you have a rectangular looking plantain. Now, cut each half into planks and each plank into strips. YOU DID IT!

How to Make Fried Plantains

There are multiple options here for this green plantain recipe, you can pan fry in coconut oil or avo oil, you can bake them in the oven or you can even air fry them. I chose to do them in the oven because it’s honestly the easiest and fastest and works perfectly.

I topped this with Ropa Vieja that I’ve made multiple times on the blog and some good old cashew queso that I spiced up. Honestly, these are the way to go for a crowd – no one will know or even think that they’ve been healthified.

If you’re like “what the heck is cashew queso” it’s a cheese sauce I make using cashews. It’s dairy-free and so delicious. It has cashews, nutritional yeast which acts as the cheese flavor and also a great addition because it’s full of B12, garlic, onion, hot sauce and whatever flavors you want! I drop in a little cumin to really make it taste like queso. Also, if you’ve never made Ropa Vieja – do not fret! It’s insanely easy and only has like 4 ingredients. I also found a way to make it way cheaper. Traditionally it’s flank steak or skirt steak but I found if you make it with stew beef chunks, it’s just as good and half the price! That’s my fun fact of the blog post. If you have any questions at all while you’re making this please shoot me a message below or on IG!

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Loaded Plantain Fries

Course Appetizer
Cuisine latin
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 5 People
Author Jordan Elbaum

Ingredients

Plantain Fries

  • 2 Green Plantains
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tbs Olive Oil

Ropa Vieja

  • 1 lb Flank Steak or Stew Beef Chunks
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers sliced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion sliced
  • 1 tbs Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbs Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup Canned Tomato Sauce

Cashew Queso

  • 1/2 cup Raw Cashews soaked in water
  • 1/2 cup Hot Water
  • 1 tsp White Distilled Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Pinch of Salt to Taste

Instructions

Plantains

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Peel the plantains by running a knife down the back of the peel and take off like a jacket. Cut the plantain in half. Take one of the halves and cut a small amount off of each side to make it a rectangle. Cut this into planks and each plank into strips. Repeat with remaining plantain.
  • Add plantain strips to a greased baking sheet. Spray or top with more oil if necessary and sprinkle sea salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Ropa Vieja

  • Add all ingredients to the pot of a pressure cooker and combine. Set on high pressure for 45 minutes. If you have a crockpot do this on high for 6.5 hours. Test if it's ready by poking and shredding with a fork. If it shreds easily it is finished.

Cashew Queso

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth adding more hot water or salt as needed.

Assembly

  • Lay down a layer of plantain fries, then drizzle some queso, then some of the shredded ropa vieja, repeat until all ingredients are gone. Top with fresh salsa and enjoy!