Baked Tostone Pizza Bites – Discover the Healing Benefits of Plantains

Looking for a healthy and satisfying game day appetizer?  These pizza bites made from plantains can’t lose, and the resistant starch, found in green plantains, will surely be the next new champion in Superfoods!

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Plantains are a starchy fruit found commonly in the Caribbean.  These cousins to the banana can be used in both savory or sweet dishes, depending on their ripeness.  Green plantains are not sweet and can be thought of more like a dense potato.  I was in Puerto Rico over the holiday and I tried all sorts of local plantain dishes. Most of the time you find them fried, or even twice fried!  So here I made a healthy version by baking the smashed plantain slices instead of frying.  The texture and taste of tostones remind me of a cracker or crusty flatbread when baked, making it the perfect gluten free alternative that is healthy, Paleo and clean diet friendly, and just plain delicious.

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Recipe for your Mind, Body and Spirit:

If you practice yoga consistently you begin to notice the subtle signals your body is sending you letting you know exactly what you need to thrive.  If your have any sort of food allergy these signals  may not be so subtle!  Plantains can help you heal from digestive issues and will also provide your body with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Thank your body for sending your these signals, giving you the opportunity learn how to heal, how to flourish, and how to become aware and fully present in your body.  What we eat literally becomes who we are, and if we eat healthy and healing foods to nurture our bodies we become healthy, healed and nurtured.

Green plantains are chocked full of essential vitamins and minerals and are a resistant starch food, which is healing to your lower intestine.   Check out this clip from Dr. Oz to learn more about why you should incorporate resistant starch into your diet:

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/resistant-starch-flour

The main reason why resistant starch is so beneficial is that it feeds the friendly bacteria in your large intestine and colon, turns them into important short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate (known to help reduce inflammation) and is extremely helpful in cases of autoimmunity, IBS, colitis and allergies.

Ingredients for Pizza Bite Tostones (serves 4):

2 large green plantains

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 roma tomatoes, sliced

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes or Italian seasoning

¼ cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese

2 sprigs fresh Italian parsley (optional)

Method:

Cut the ends off the plantains.  Cut a slit through the peel lengthwise.

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Microwave the prepared whole plantain for 3-5 minutes.  The peel will turn black and will be easily removed.  Be careful when peeling the hot plantain!

While the plantain is still hot, slice into 3/4 rounds.

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Flatten the rounds in tostonera, or between two cutting boards.  You can buy an inexpensive tostonera here.

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Place smashed plantains on a greased cookie or baking sheet.

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Lightly brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip, season the other side with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 7-8 more minutes, the edges will become a beautiful golden brown.  Remove the tostones from the oven and add a slice of tomato, mozzarella cheese and red pepper flakes or Italian seasoning.  Return to the oven until cheese is completely melted, about 1-2 more minutes.

IMG_0058You can also omit the pizza toppings and use the baked tostones as a vehicle for your favorite dip.  Here I made a quick yoghurt lime dipping sauce out of yogurt, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro and garlic.

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I think these baked beauties would be perfect with a spinach or artichoke dip as well.  Want the recipe for my yogurt lime dipping sauce?  Was this recipe helpful, inspiring, difficult?  Let me know your comments below!

 

3 easy recipes for pumpkin that will have you doing headstands!

Turkey Stuffed Pumpkin, Salt and Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds, and Pumpkin Smoothies, oh my!  These recipes are all easy to follow,  gluten free, casein free, and both AIP and Paleo friendly.

inside stuffed pumpkin

This fine orange squash has my creativity chakra spinning!  If you are in North America you are seeing everything pumpkin right now.  Trader Joe’s, one of my favorite grocery stores here in Southern California, is carrying everything from pumpkin butter and pumpkin cheese, to pumpkin coffee and even pumpkin ravioli!  Ok, so the ravioli isn’t gluten free, but it still has me inspired with the tastes of the season.  In my last post I talked about the amazing GI reparative cleanse I was on.  I created this stuffed pumpkin recipe so I could have something amazing to eat while on the cleanse.  I adapted the recipe from my favorite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking.

My muse
My muse!

 

My turkey stuffed pumpkin is AIP and Paleo friendly, casein free and just plain mouth watering. I gave a bite to my office mate, and she was so enchanted she wanted the recipe right away.

 

I am so excited about pumpkin, I have also created a healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie and Roasted Pumpkin Seed recipe to give you some additional ideas on how you can incorporate  pumpkin this fall.  By the way, I am pretty famous among my family and friends for my pumpkin pie.  I plan to post that recipe closer to Thanksgiving, so be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it!

pumpkin patch 2

The Dharma of Pumpkin:

If you are a yogi or yogini you know that Dharma is a  sanskrit word meaning purpose in life.  In my yoga and meditation classes I ask students to contemplate their own dharma, by asking themselves, “How can I help, how can I serve using my own unique talents and gifts?”.  The gifts of pumpkin are too numerous to count. They can be served in both savory and sweet dishes with grace and ease.  One serving of pumpkin contains 7 grams of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, lower your risk of heart disease, and helps keep things moving through your digestive tract.  Pumpkin is also high in vitamin A to strengthen vision and immune system, beta carotene for an antioxidant boost, and iron for healthy blood.   Often folks who suffer from Celiac Disease can become iron deficient, so getting enough iron is crucial.  Even the seeds are helping you with a healthy dose of magnesium.  There is not much these orange beauties cannot do!

 

Turkey Stuffed Pumpkin

Ingredients:

1 sugar pumpkin (about 2 pounds)

1 cup fresh bulk turkey sausage*

1 large green apple, cored, and cut into ¼ in cubes

¼ cup fresh sage, chopped

coconut oil

⅛ teaspoon stevia (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

*Use lean ground turkey meat if you are on the GI reparative cleanse

 

Method:

Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold the pumpkin.

Cut the top off of the pumpkin and remove the seeds and strings.  Save the seeds for roasting!

Brush the pumpkin lightly with coconut oil.  This puts a pretty sheen on the finished product and aids in baking.  Place the pumpkin and pumpkin top on the baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake until almost tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, crumble the turkey in a skillet and cook over medium heat.  Without draining off the fat, add the cubed apple.  If you are using very lean turkey and don’t have any fat in the skillet, add some coconut oil here.  Add the sage,salt and pepper and cook, stirring for a few minutes, until the apple is crisp-tender.  Set aside.

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When the pumpkin is cooked, let it cool a bit and scoop out most of the flesh.  Set the pumpkin top aside, you won’t need to bake it again.  Gently mix the pumpkin flesh with the turkey mixture.  Mix in 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and stevia (stevia is optional if you like a sweet touch).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pile the stuffing into your beautiful pumpkin and lightly drizzle with a little more coconut oil.  Bake, uncovered, until piping hot, 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.  I like to put the pumpkin lid back on when serving for a little added drama!

 

*****BONUS RECIPES!*****

 

Salt and Vinegar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

1-2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds (leftover from your stuffed pumpkin or jack-o-lantern carving project)

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons salt

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove any pumpkin pulp from the seeds, rinse and pat dry.  In a bowl, drizzle the seeds with the vinegar until lightly coated.  Add salt to taste and toss.  Arrange the seeds on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet.  Place in the oven until they just start to turn golden brown, 15 minutes.  Allow to cool and store in an air-tight container.  I left my seeds in the oven too long and they burned, then I got burned pulling them out of the oven.  Casualties of a gluten free yoga chick!  Sorry, no pics for this recipe as I was too busy nursing my wound.

 It's just missing the whipped cream!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 cup cooled herbal chai tea.  I like Trader Joe’s Rooibos Chai or Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice

½ cup canned pumpkin puree

1 frozen banana

teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 scoop of your favorite vanilla nutritional shake powder such as Vega One or Shakeology

Ice

1 tablespoon chopped walnut or granola(optional)

 Method:

In the order above, place all ingredients EXCEPT walnuts into your blender.  blend until smooth.  Enjoy with a sprinkle of walnut or granola on top for a delectable pumpkin pie “crust”.  I won’t tell if you add a dollop of whip cream, too!

 

 

What are your favorite foods and recipes of the season?  Tell me what you think, and be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss a thing.  lv-GFYC