This sweet and savory plantain stew is loaded with flavor and incredibly easy to make! Packed with sweet plantains, smoky bell peppers, kidney beans, and juicy green olives in a coconut-tomato base, it’s perfect with a slice of crusty bread and totally doable on a weeknight.
Plantains are one of my favorite ingredients that I don’t cook with nearly often enough. They’re delicious and so easy to work with!
Have you cooked with plantains before? If they’re new to you, putting them into a stew is a great place to start. I can be as simple as chopping them up and throwing them in a pot, like I did with this chili.
This recipe is slightly more work than that — you’ll be pan-frying the plantains before adding them to the stew, but trust me it’s worth it. I got the idea from this chicken plantain stew, which was in turn inspired by a Puerto Rican dish called mofongo. My stew doesn’t bear much resemblance to mofongo, but it’s absolutely delicious.
What You’ll Need
- High-heat oil
- Ripe plantains
- Bell peppers (red and green!)
- Spices (cumin, paprika, and cloves)
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Vegetable broth
- Coconut milk (the full-fat kind)
- Kidney beans
- Lime juice
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh cilantro
Some recipes call for unripe plantains, while some call for ripe plantains. We’ll be using ripe ones for this recipe.
Look for plantains that are yellow with lots of black spots. About a 50/50 mix of yellow and black is good. No green!
Ripe plantains will be sweet and soft — exactly what we’re going for in this recipe.
How go Make Plantain Stew
Fry the Plantains
You can either start with this step, or save time and do it while your stew simmers. Heat up some oil in a skillet, and add plantain slices in an even layer. Let them cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until they’re soft with lots of browned spots.
Tip: plantains tend to stick to pans, even good nonstick pans. Make sure to use plenty of oil, and after about a minute of cooking, use a spatula to loosen them from the pan. This will prevent them from adhering as they cook.
Transfer the cooked plantains to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Prepare the Stew
Heat up some oil in a large pot, then add your onion and peppers. Sweat the veggies for about 5 minutes, then add your garlic and spices. Continue cooking everything for about a minute, until the garlic becomes very fragrant.
Now add your tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, coconut milk, and beans. Bring the stew up to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer for about 25 minutes, until it thickens up a bit. Stir in the plantains and let it cook for about five minutes more.
Now add lime juice and olives, then season the stew with salt and pepper to taste.
Top off your bowls with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
Plantain Stew Tips & FAQ
- Is this stew gluten-free? Yup!
- Is this stew spicy? Nope! It’s very mild. If you’d like a spicy stew, add some cayenne pepper to taste.
- Leftovers & storage: Leftover stew will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days.
- The plantains really need to be ripe for the right flavor balance in this stew! If you can’t find them ripe, stick them in a paper bag with some apples or another fruit that gives off ethylene gas. This will speed up the ripening process a bit!
This sweet and savory plantain stew is loaded with flavor and incredibly easy to make! Packed with sweet plantains, smoky bell peppers, kidney beans, and juicy green olives in a coconut-tomato base, it's perfect with a slice of crusty bread and totally doable on a weeknight.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 (14 ounce or 400 gram) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) can kidney beans
- 2 ripe plantains, sliced (about 1/2 inch thick)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh cilantro, for serving
Coat the bottom of a large pot with 1 tablespoon of oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and both bell peppers. Cook the veggies for about 5 minutes, until softened a bit, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and cloves. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
Stir in the tomatoes, broth, coconut milk, tomato paste, and kidney beans.
Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, until thickened slightly. Stir the pot occasionally.
While the stew simmers, coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the plantain slices in an even layer. Work in batches if you can't fit them all at once.
Cook the plantain slices for about 5 minutes on each side, until softened and browned.
Remove the cooked plantains from the skillet and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate.
After the stew has simmered for 25 minutes, gently stir in the cooked plantains. Let the stew simmer for 5 minutes more.
Remove the stew from heat, then stir in the lime juice and olives. Season the stew with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve.