I am one for a good bargain. When it comes to food shopping, this is no exception. In my area, there is a local grocery store my family likes to go to called “Caputos”. They have great deals on produce, from local fruits and vegetables to exotic delicacies. My favorite section however is in the back of the produce department. Practically hidden, there are some metal shelves that contain boxes and crates of produce that is about past its prime. The store drastically discounts these items, as many are bruised, over ripe, and considered ‘ugly food’. My boyfriend, another deal-shopper, was very excited when I introduced him to this hidden gem, and ended up buying a whole crate of bananas for about $2.50. So now there is about forty bananas and his house, and forty at mine.
A secret about bananas is that they are more versatile than people think. You can put them in your smoothies, freeze them and make chocolate covered banana pops, turn them into vegan ice cream, put them in an almond butter and banana sandwich, make banana pancakes, etc. They are great for breakfast, dessert, or a midday snack. They even can be used in a lunchtime meal….or so I have discovered.
I wanted to use up all these bananas, but I didn’t want to just have them for breakfast and dessert. Looking up recipes on my Pinterest, I found a recipe for Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos on the Minimalist Baker’s website. I didn’t have plantains, and in my mind, I thought bananas were a similar substitute, hence the Fried Spiced Banana Tacos were born.
I was really surprised at how good these tacos turned out! The bananas offer a sweetness to the dish. To compliment the taste and texture of the fruit, I whipped up a tangy red cabbage slaw that uses lime juice and cilantro. Crunchy, softy, gooey, sweet, tangy, are all adjectives to describe this dish! Oh, I forgot to mention healthy! As always, here are some of the health benefits of this dish:
Banana – We probably have all heard that bananas are a great source of potassium, but did you know that they are also linked to the absorption of calcium in our bodies? This makes them a good source for strong, healthy bones!
Red Cabbage – This hearty vegetable contains an amino acid called glutamine. This specific animo acid is good for reducing pain and inflammation in the gastrointestinal system. If you don’t suffer from this pain, well red cabbage has a load of other healthy benefits, like having high sources of vitamins A and C, as well as the minerals calcium, magnesium, and manganese.
Red Onion – While it may give you stinky breath, onions are in fact great for oral health and have been used in the past to prevent tooth decay and oral infections. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, onions are also great for relieving stomach aches and aiding in digestion.
Even if you don’t live somewhere tropical, this dish will bring the Caribbean feel to your tastebuds. It’s quick, easy, and simple to make. One banana down, thirty-nine to go…
Fried Spiced Banana Tacos with a Tangy Slaw
- 1 banana – semi-firm
- 1 tsp brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp coconut flakes – fine
- dash of cayenne
- 1/2 cup red cabbage – finely chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro – finely chopped
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 1/2 a lime – juiced
- 1/2 small red onion – minced
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- dash of cayenne
- 2-3 corn small corn or flour tortilla shells
- 1 tbsp coconut oil – frying
- roasted coconut flakes – for garnish
- In a bowl, combine all the slaw ingredients and mix well. Set aside to marinate.
- For the bananas, I cut mine in half down the length of the banana, then with each half, I cut those into thirds, giving me six banana pieces total. I found that this allows for the option of having two or three tacos.
- In a small dish, mix all the spices for the bananas together. Once blended, add the bananas to the mixture and coat well.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil. Once heated, add the bananas, placing them on one side to start, flipping them after 2-3 minutes to fry the other side.
- Once you have fried both sides of the bananas, add them to your taco shells*. Apply the slaw evenly to the tops of the tacos, and sprinkle with roasted coconut flakes as an added bonus.
*I’d recommend using the flour taco shells for this. I’ve noticed that the corn shells have an overpowering taste to them, which may take away from the flavor of the bananas.