A Heaping TBSP of Life


~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

Plantain Crust Pizza

Are you tired of cauliflower crust pizza on repeat?  Actually don’t answer that.  TBH, I don’t think I could ever get truly tired of cauli-pizza goodness.  BUT.  It never hurts to mix things up!  When I was in Costa Rica (and St. Martin, and Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas and basically anywhere near or around the Caribbean) I ate a lot of plantains!  I’d never even had a plantain until my first trip to the Caribbean so it was a new and exciting experience!

Actually, on a side note, I kind of have to tell this story.  My very first time in Puerto Rico was also my first off-continent experience.  Sure I’d traveled a lot within the states, but I’d never been ANYWHERE like Puerto Rico.  My Spanish wasn’t that great, I was struggling to get people to understand, ‘No carne, por favor’, and it was all just a bit overwhelming in general.  I was craving something that reminded me of home.

Alex and I drove past a fruit stand on one of our little trips around the island, and I saw what I thought was a gorgeous bunch of huge bananas.  I got so excited because I’d never had a fresh, actually ripe banana.  I made him stop so I could buy them (I think they were about 50 cents for several pounds, I was so excited!)  We go them back to our hotel and decided to let them ‘ripen’ for a day, because they were still very hard, even though they seemed ripe.  They were still hard the second day.  And the third.  And then they started to get rotten.  I was so confused.

It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth day on the trip, when we took a class on making mofongo that I realized I had bought Plantains, not bananas.  You should have seen the looks I got when I asked them if I could just eat it like a banana.  Leave it to me to amuse the teacher of a cooking class with my lack of cooking knowledge.  (They don’t teach about Plantains in French schools!!  Don’t blame me!)

Anyways.  I now know what a Plantain is.  On our last trip to Costa Rica I had a long talk with one of the chefs on a catamaran we took (my Spanish is still only slightly better…he was a very patient man) I told him that I was ‘vegetariano’ and he got all excited and started explaining to me his favorite ways to veganize dishes.  Most of them involved plantains.  Salted and drained plantains instead of fish in ceviche, plantain patties, kneaded with savory spices, instead of chicken breast in burgers.  Cubed, sauteed plantains in soup, instead of more fish.  Talking with him really got my creative juices flowing.  If plantains are this versatile, why don’t we use them all the time up here?

Well, I found out once I got back to Minnesota.  First of all, they’re fairly hard to find.  Secondly, when you do find them, they’re typically beat up, black and splotchy, and sticky with something or hard, green, and rot before they ever get ripe.  Despite these challenges, it is possible to get good plantains here occasionally, and I’d imagine the further south you get the more obtainable they become!

This pizza crust recipe was actually the result of my having seen good-looking plantains, buying them, and then being unsure of what to do with them.  I had planned on making mofongo, but, lacking ingredients, decided to try a pizza crust instead.  I was VERY impressed with the results!  There isn’t much that can actually go wrong with the recipe though, tbh.  You throw everything in a blender, puree until smooth and combined (this also helps to give ‘lift’ to the dough by aerating the egg) and then pour it on some parchment.  The only issue that I have ever had with this recipe is overcooking.  At 500 degrees a lot can happen in 5mn!  The times that I give on here are only suggestions, make sure you keep an eye on your pizza while it’s cooking and adjust cook times as necessary.  Also, if you don’t have a baking stone the times (and possibly temp) will be different.  The baking stone gives the pizza a huge head start by immediately searing the bottom and starting the cooking process, I’m not sure how the times would be different without it.  If you try it though, please let me know your results!

 

I have included two of my favorite sauces below, I like to drizzle them over the pizza right before the last cook, putting it on top of the veggies ensures you still get all the delicious flavor, while keeping the sauce from making the pizza soggy if it’s sits around too long.

 

Plantain Pizza Crust
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

A vegan pizza crust using a popular Caribbean ingredient.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 Crust
Ingredients
  • 1 Plantain, Ripe
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat a baking stone in the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Blend all ingredient together until creamy and well combined.  Volume will increase.

  3. Place a piece of parchment on a pizza peel.  Pour the crust mixture onto the parchment and spread into a thin, even layer with a spatula.  Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for about 10mn or until beginning to brown around the edges.

  4. Take the crust out of the oven, flip it over, and bake for another 5-7 minutes, it will be a medium brown color, and should be crispy around the edges and very firm on the inside.

  5. Remove pizza from oven, add desired toppings (I like to drizzle the sauce over the top to keep it crispy for longer), and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

Sweet and Spicy BBQ
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

An all-American, slightly spicy definitely sweet BBQ sauce

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 Pizza
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Devil's Spit, Frank's, or other spicy sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Spicy Mustard
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Stir everything together and drizzle or spread over pizza.

 

Korean Fire Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 Pizza
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp Gochujang
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos, or Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Chili Garlic Paste
  • 2 tsp Orange Juice Concentrate
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and spread or drizzle on pizza before final bake.



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