A couple of weeks ago, I received a very special invitation. Shauna James Ahern, of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, was going to be in New York City and hosting a potluck! It was all part of a few weeks trip that she was making with The Chef across America to taste regional dishes as research for their next book.
To prepare for the American Potluck Trip event, I had to figure out what to make. Oh man, what to make?! It was actually a stressful decision because, well, I’d be surrounded by people I admired. How do you make something for people you look up to?
In the end, I settled on making something that would touch on my roots–a dish with plantains. Since I needed to make something regional, I went with a Puerto Rican-inspired recipe by making them crunchy like tostones. But of course I had to make them healthier, which is how I came up with the baked plantains with avocado crema.
The New York City American Potluck Trip went really well, and I think my dish was enjoyed. Between baking the sweet plantains, and giving them a little extra flavor with cinnamon, sugar and paprika, I helped myself to a few servings. The avocado crema, though? That’s a dipping sauce that I will be making again and again, for many years to come.
When it comes to making sweet plantains, I only know one way to slice them and that’s the classic Cuban way. At least, when we fry them, this is how we make them.
Just before going into the oven, my sweet plantains swam in a little almond milk after being topped with the seasonings I wanted. Smoked Spanish paprika, anyone?
Mmmm when they came out of the oven, they smelled so sweet. I admit it: I tried one.
The last thing I really needed to complete my dish was the avocado crema sauce for dipping. Here’s the thing, though: I’m a big believer in using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. A traditional Mexican crema is typically used making heavy cream and buttermilk or sour cream and heavy cream. I wanted a healthier version, though, so I swapped out the Greek yogurt for the sour cream and added avocado for the fat.
It came out really well. Doesn’t it look creamy? It was perfect to go with the plantains.
Here they are! Since the point of the potluck was to make something that was regionally appropriate, I decided to title my dish “Nuyorican” Baked Sweet Plantains with Avocado Crema. I figured that the New York Puerto Ricans would appreciate it.
Next to my plantains was some nice hummus and falafels and even a big dish of Cuban black beans with brown rice. Now, why didn’t I think to make that?
Look at all of these great dishes! They include the vichyssoise from my friend Margaret of Savory Sweet Living and Filipino chicken adobo from my friend Justin of JustCook NYC (who also is Gluten-Free Girl’s cookbook editor). And yes, their food was amazing.
Look, so many more amazing dishes! Have I mentioned I’m a sucker for quinoa salad?
These gluten-free desserts were delicious. However, the flour less brownie cheesecake from Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen was definitely the clear winner.
Here’s the table at American Potluck Trip, which included a display of some gluten-free goodies and Shauna’s latest Gluten-Free Girl Every Day.
I came away with a pretty satisfying dish, I think. And it was pure luck that someone also brought black beans and rice. Those together were perfection. Of course, the best part of the potluck was getting to try many of the other dishes, too.
Trust me, though, you’re going to want to try this recipe for yourself.
- 6 very ripe plantains
- ½ cup almond milk
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon raw sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 3 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1½ cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
- 3 ripe Haas avocados
- 1 lemon, juiced
- a pinch of sea salt
- ½ bunch cilantro
- Peel the plantains and cut them diagonally into 1 inch pieces.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Coat the bottom of a glass baking dish with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
- Place the bananas in the baking dish, then pour almond milk from the side to cover the bottom of the tray.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar, salt, pepper and paprika on top.
- Drizzle the remaining coconut oil on top, then put in oven.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the plantains are golden.
- Meanwhile, combine Greek yogurt, avocados, lemon juice, salt and cilantro in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding salt if needed.
- Once plantains are done, let cool for 15 minutes and then serve with the avocado crema as a dipping sauce.
What gluten-free dish would you make to bring to a potluck?
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