A delicious make-ahead side, this grilled plantain salad can be made indoors on the grill pan or outdoors on a charcoal or gas grill!
My family is pretty spoiled. When I’m on vacation to visit them, I do the cooking. Unless of course, we order take out. One of my sisters hosted us at her house for dinner on a trip last year and “cooked” via take out from the local Whole Foods. She was particularly excited to share this salad because it’s a favorite of hers. Reading the ingredients, I knew I had to try and reverse engineer a version of this grilled plantain salad. It’s a grilled salad that’s at once creamy, crunchy, sweet and salty. Not to mention, totally workable for a lot of the current “clean eating” diets. But nobody was thinking about that for the week straight I made the Godfather eat this at dinner. Delicious is as delicious does darlings.
I want to apologize that I’ve been holding on to this recipe for a year. We made it, I think I even teased it on Instagram stories, and then nothing. We probably got distracted by goat cheese ice cream or something. But what’s important is the now and how we have plenty of summer to enjoy grilling all the things.
Can I make grilled plantain salad for dinner tonight?
Yes. Because while you are totally welcome to make your own maduros, I prefer taking a shortcut for this recipe and using frozen sweet plantains. Then all you’re doing is warming the maduros on the grill (easy peasy) or a grill pan, tossing with the other ingredients, and allowing to sit until it’s time to serve. Done!
You can find frozen sweet plantains in most grocery stores in the “international” section of the freezer aisle. Sometimes there’s a separate “Hispanic” section, and it could be there as well. Occasionally the plantains are next to frozen fruits. I’ve found that location depends on the store and where you live. Thankfully, I’ve always been able to find them relatively easily no matter where we’ve lived. And with plantains gaining popularity over the past few years, it’s just going to get easier.
I’m giving you the recipe for a single batch, serves between 6-8 because I don’t like leaving halves of bell peppers. The typical package sizes for frozen maduros are 10-11 ounces or 20-24 ounces depending on brand. Grilled plantain salad keeps incredibly well for a few days, so I purchase the larger box (or make more plantains if I’m making my maduros from scratch), and have extra for lunches. This is convenience meal-prep, Godmother style. 😉
The key to a really memorable result is not to rush the grilling. I know that the maduros, whether homemade or store bought, are already sticky sweet and ready to eat, but the double grill is what makes this salad. Think of the extra crisp you get on double fried potatoes, or tostones for those of you familiar with savory fried plantains. This is what you’re creating on a smaller scale here. As the plantains touch the grill or grill pan, those sections making contact with the heat will caramelize a little and get a bit crispy chewy. This adds a great depth of flavor to the salad and a little smokiness – even when you use a grill pan! So don’t rush this step. I also grill the pepper and onion to soften the flavors and make the texture better. And because grill marks look beautiful. No one expects a completely grilled salad like this!
Just don’t forget to oil the grates… maduros can get a little sticky.
I hope you enjoy this grilled plantain salad recipe, darlings!
- 20 ounces frozen sweet plantains (maduros) You may also make your own, see link to recipe in post
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 scallions (green onions) diced
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- salt and black pepper to taste
If working with frozen maduros, they will likely be stuck together. Microwave for half the recommended cooking time on the box before proceeding to the next step.
Lightly oil the grates of your grill or your grill pan and set over medium to medium high heat.
Working in batches, grill your maduros until grill marks appear on each side. This takes about 2-3 minutes per side. If working with frozen maduros you didn't have to partially thaw to separate, this will take about 4 minutes per side because you are thawing and warming the maduros in this step. Set the maduros aside while you finish grilling the vegetables.
Slice your bell pepper in half and remove the seeds. Slice the onion into thick rounds. Grill the onion rounds and bell peppers until grill marks appear, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the grill, dice into bite-size pieces, and add to the maduros.
Add the cilantro and green onions to your salad.
Make the dressing by whisking together the honey, vinegars, and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over the plantain mixture and toss. May be served warm or room temperature. Keeps in the refrigerator up to 5 days.