Fried Plantains with Cilantro Pesto

Did you know that cilantro has some really great health benefits?  I didn’t know just how healthy it is until this morning.  It is rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids.  It’s also very high in vitamin A and lutein.  Cilantro has some excellent health benefits which include:

  • Powerful anti-inflammatory capacities that may help symptoms of arthritis
  • Protective agents against bacterial infection from Salmonella in food products
  • Acts to increase HDL cholesterol (good), and reduces LDL cholesterol (bad)
  • Relief for stomach gas, prevention of flatulence and an overall digestive aid
  • Wards off urinary tract infections
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea
  • Eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation & reduces cramping
  • Adds fiber to the digestive tract
  • Helps promote healthy liver function
  • Disinfects and helps detoxify the body
  • Helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar

The other day I watched Food Networks $10 Dinners where host Melissa D’Arabian.  She made a Quinoa Lentil salad and Cilantro Pesto Shrimp.  As soon as I see a protein like shrimp I think it will be easy to substitute with some grilled or baked tofu and turn it into a veg meal.  Since I had tofu with black bean sauce at a local restaurant Sunday night I decided to switch it up and try this with some fried plantains instead.

I’ve been meaning to cook with plantains and this gave me a great opportunity to do so.  Both plantains and cilantro and well known ingredients in Latin cooking so I was sure they’d compliment each other very well.  For my husband I grilled a few shrimp so he had a version closer to the original recipe.

Melissa D.’s Lentil Quinoa salad looks very similar to my Summer Quinoa Salad so I made an adaptation of that and added some lentils to the original recipe.  This complimented the plantains very well and was a super healthy protein rich dinner.  It is also vegan and gluten free! This can easily double as an appetizer and will  be a delicious meal to pack up and take to work for lunch today.

Ingredients for Fried Plantains

2 ripe plantains cut into 1″ rounds

Oil for frying

Salt, Pepper

Bowl of cold water with several ice cubes


Heat oil in a skillet and fry plantain rounds for 2-3 minutes per side, remove from the pan and flatten each round with a glass or wooden spatula, place then in the icy water for 1 minute, towel dry to remove excess water and then return to the pan and fry for 1 more minute on each side, remove from heat and season

Cilantro Pesto Ingredients

1 large bunch of cilantro rinsed, dried, with stems removed

1/3- 1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 white onion

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves

juice from 1/2- 1 whole lime

1/4- 1/2 cup oil, I used a mix of olive and canola

salt, pepper


Place nuts in food processor and chop, add in all other ingredients including 1/2 the oil and pulse, scrape down the bowl  as needed, and add the rest of the oil until desired consistency

Inspirations for this post:

Have a peaceful day, Lin

  1. sorry to double up on the comments, but I just put up my favorite (mom’s) pesto recipe, thought it might be of interest…easily transferrable as a vegan recie

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