Boiled plantains are very common in Nigerian cuisine, eaten at all stages of ripening from green, and starchy to ripe and sweet. This recipe uses ripe, but firm plantains which hold their shape, giving a nice contrast with the fresh vegetables. Boiling the plantains in their skin deepens the flavor and may preserve some nutrients.
- 2 ripe, firm plantains
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/3 cup diced cucumbers
- 1/3 cup diced mixed bell peppers
- 1/2 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped
- 8 whole pitted black olives, sliced into rings
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- 2 tablespoons quick pickled red onions
- 2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup toasted peanuts
- For Garnish: peanuts, pickled onions, and lime wedges
Gather the ingredients.
Trim off both ends of the plantains, then make a slit along the length of it. Don’t peel or remove the skin—the slit will make it easier to remove once cooked. Cut into 3 or 4 pieces.
Place the plantains in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for about 10 to 15 minutes or until plantains are soft enough to allow a fork or tip of a sharp knife pass through with ease. Once cooked, drain the plantains and set aside to cool.
Make the dressing by whisking the oil, lime juice, zest, honey, the rest of the salt and chili flakes together until creamy or shake together in a jar. Taste and adjust.
Once the plantains are cool, remove the skins. Slice each piece in half lengthways and slice each half again so you have four slices in total. Finally, cut across to make the dice.
Combine with the cucumber and peppers, then pour the dressing on top. Stir well and let rest for half an hour at room temperature so the flavors marry together.
Put the lettuce in a large bowl and add the plantains and vegetables.
Top with the olives, cilantro, cumin seeds, and peanuts. Serve and enjoy!
- Ripe plantains will cook faster than green ones and will be much sweeter too. Use them if you can find them—they 'make' the dish.
- If you’d like to make the salad in advance, you can do this up to 24 hours ahead—keep covered. Once ready to serve, stir in the lettuce, olives, cilantro, cumin seeds, and peanuts.
- You can roast the plantains—dice, grease, and salt lightly and put on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 180 C for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing now and again. Let them cool before adding to the other ingredients.
- Tomatoes and zucchini pair well with the roasted plantain version of this salad.
- You can use an herb sauce instead of the vinaigrette—parsley works well.
- Cut all the ingredients smaller, skip the lettuce, and serve this as a salsa.