I may not be Miss Cleo, but I know what you thought when you saw these Ripe Plantain Boats (Canoas) with Eggplants: 1) “That looks fine!”, and 2) “That’s not how you make Canoas!”.
Yeah, you’re right. Canoas — a Puerto Rican dish — is typically stuffed with minced beef, and the plantains are fried, which both give it a nice golden color and also add quite a few more calories. There’s always a cloud for every silver lining.
The good news is that this version is very good. It will make your stomach and your waist equally happy.
There’s a reason why I’m always looking for ways of making lighter version of our foods: I love food, and if I can eat what I love without guilt, all the better. And since I share with you the food I love, it always ends up here.
In the many years I’ve been here pushing food on you, much has changed in “the business”. The good news is that people are becoming more aware of their food and its effects on our health and our environment. The bad news is that there is a lot of disinformation, and too many people making a living from imparting health advice without the required qualifications. This is something that worries me. And something I’ve tried very hard to avoid.
The truth is, there is no simple solution. No food will guarantee we will not fall ill and no fad diet will cure us of a serious illness. The reality is, the way we have to eat is not, and has never been a secret: Let’s eat more vegetables, more fruits, let’s exercise, let’s cook more of our food from scratch at home. It just isn’t glamorous.
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, as the great Carl Sagan put it, and your doctor is still the best person to ask about what you need to do to stay or get healthier. Caveat Emptor, and all that.
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (corn, peanut, soy) to grease tray
- 6 very ripe plantains , peeled (skin must be partially black)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 large onions , diced finely
- 3 cloves of garlic , crushed
- 1 red bell pepper , diced
- 2 large eggplants , washed and diced (unpeeled)
- 6 large tomatoes , diced
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt , or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of dry , crushed oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper , or to taste
- 3/4 cup of grated cheddar
- 1 tablespoon of sliced chives
Grease baking tray with oil. Set aside.
Boil the plantains, adding the salt to the water. Remove from the water, slice along their length and pull apart to create the boats. Place on the baking tray and set aside.
Heat oven to 350ºF [175 ºC]
Heat olive oil over low heat. Add onions and cook stirring until they turn translucent. Add garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, and eggplants and mix. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and all liquid has evaporated.
Season with cayenne pepper, salt to taste, oregano, and pepper to taste.
Divide the filling between the plantains. Top with the cheddar cheese.
Bake until cheese is bubbly and starts to turn golden brown (about 20 mins.).
Garnish with the chives and serve.
For a vegan version, leave out cheese, or use a vegan substitute.
SIf you don't like spicy food, don't add the cayenne pepper.