9 Most Delicious Recipes with Plantains

9 Most Delicious Recipes with Plantains

What are plantains?

Plantains belong to the banana family. They look like regular bananas, but are much larger. They are also less starchy and lower in sugar, as you can consume them while they are still green.

A ripe plantain will be yellow with brown spots, and overripe will be completely brown. The darker the plantain, the sweeter it will be.

In Spanish plantains are known as “Platanos or Platano Macho”. In Puerto Rico, they are known as “Platanos”. In other parts of Latin America, they are called “Platano Macho” as “Platano” is referred to as the regular bananas you find in grocery stores that are okay to be consumed raw. In Puerto Rico regular bananas are called “Guineos”. You’ll find that Spanish has different words in different countries.

Healthy Puerto Rican Food Recipes

Are plantains healthier than bananas?

Both plantains and bananas are healthy food sources. But, plantains, unlike regular bananas, must be cooked. They primarily grow in warm climates so they have become a big part of Latin cuisine as they grow naturally in Tropical/Latin America. You can also find plantains in other countries like Africa, India and Asia.

One great thing about plantains is that they are really versatile. You can create many different dishes and not get tired of them. They are also a great carbohydrate alternative for those on a Paleo or Vegan diet. Plantains are a potassium rich food, and are packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins like A, C and B6. Great for cardiovascular and immune support.

Plantains can be a great addition to any healthy diet. Especially if you are mindful of the way you cook them. For a healthy plantain dish, avoid deep frying in hydrogenated oils. Choose methods like baking, boiling, and even air frying. If you choose to fry them, choose healthy fats like refined coconut oil, or avocado oil.

Best Healthy Versions of Puerto Rican Recipes

What is the difference between a green plantain and a sweet plantain?

A green plantain is considered ripe enough to consume, however they are a bit harder and less sweet than regular bananas. These are used for tostones, mofongo, and various other recipes like in soups and stews. Sweet plantains are ripe/overripe plantains but are not consumed raw. These are yellow with brown spots and are typically mushy and sweet once cooked.

Traditional Puerto Rican Plantain Mofongo Recipe

What can i do with lots of plantains?

Here are 9 of the most popular foods made with plantains in Puerto Rico and Latin America:

1. Tostones or patacones

Tostones or patacones are made with green plantains. These are fried twice. First, the plantains are peeled and cut into 2” pieces. Then they are fried until completely cooked. After taken out of the oil, they are flattened and fried again until golden brown. 

2. Fried Sweet Plantains (“Amarillos ó Maduros”)

Fried sweet plantains are much simpler to make than green plantains. The plantain must be really ripe which is when the plantain is yellow with brown spots. The more brown spots the sweeter the plantain will be. For these you just peel, cut into thinner pieces, and fry. 

3. Mofongo

Mofongo is typically made with green plantains, however can be also combined with sweet plantains, and even yuca for what Puerto Ricans call a Trifongo. Even though it is a Puerto Rican dish, it was influenced by the African culture. To make mofongo, you peel and cut the plantain into 1 inch pieces. Fry until completely cooked and remove from heat. In a “Pilon” aka mortar and pestle, mash some garlic, add the plantains with butter. Add some “Chicharones” aka pork rinds if desired, and mash the plantains until soft enough to form a ball. Enjoy with a bowl of chicken broth, meats, seafood, and/or a nice salad. 

4. Pastelón (Puerto Rican Lasagna)

Pastelón is a Puerto Rican favorite. This is made with sweet plantains, cut into long thin strips and fried. It’s made similar to a lasagna but instead of pasta, you would add the fried sweet plantains instead. To prepare you would make ground beef “picadillo” to your liking and add layers of plantains, beef, and cheese of your choice. In order to help the plantain lasagna stick together, on the last layer (before topping with cheese), you would beat 2 eggs and add on top before baking. Then top with cheese and bake until all the cheese has melted. 

5. Arañitas

Arañitas are made with green plantains. These are peeled and shredded with a cheese grater into small thin strips. Then they are smashed together and fried until golden brown and crunchy. 


6. Canoas

Canoas are made with an entire peeled ripe plantain. These are smothered in oil with a  bit of salt, and wrapped in aluminum foil, then baked until cooked. After the plantains are cooked they are removed from the foil, and a slit is cut in the middle. Then they are stuffed with ground beef “picadillo” and cheese, and baked again until the cheese melts. 

7. Picadillo con maduros

Picadillo con maduros is made with ground beef. It follows the same recipe as “Picadillo” but with added fried ripe plantains. To make; the ground beef is cooked with onions, peppers, cilantro and garlic, tomato sauce, and seasoned with adobo and sazón. After the sweet plantains have been fried, they are added to the meat. This is best enjoyed with a side of white rice, a side salad and a slice of avocado. 


8. Empanada de Pastelón

An empanada de pastelón is made with empanada dough and filled with picadillo con maduros. The dough is made with all purpose flour, salt and warm water until dough forms. Then it is stuffed with meat and either baked or fried. Fried empanadas are also known as “empanadillas” or “pastelillos”. You can also find pre-made dough in the freezer section in the Latin area in a grocery store near you. 

9. Jibarito Sandwich or Patacones

A jibarito sandwich or patacones (the name depends on where you are from) is a sandwich made with large tostones (patacones). You would cut the plantain in half, fry twice just like the tostones, and prepare it like a sandwich. You can add various meats like steak or chicken,cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, and spread with the famous mayo-ketchup which is a blend of mayonnaise, ketchup, and a touch of garlic.

Enjoy!

Made with Love,

Mayra

___

Thanks for reading our blog. Please let us know what you think of our articles and recipes in the comments below. If you’d like to stay up to date, join our Nutrition Dork’s mailing list here: https://sendfox.com/nutritiondork

Want to find out more about our Healthy Rican Spice Brand? Visit our online store here. There you will find our Healthy Blends of Latin Adobo & Sazón made with all-natural ingredients. Our NO-JUNK seasonings are made with pure flavor “Puro Sabor” and are FREE of MSG, GMO’s, artificial ingredients and artificial colors. Check it out now at HealthyRican.com

What Are The Health Benefits of Root Vegetables and Sancocho Recipes?

What Are The Health Benefits of Root Vegetables and Sancocho Recipes?

What are root vegetables “vianda”?

Root vegetables or in Spanish referred to as “Vianda” are, as the word says, vegetables that are roots; meaning they grow underground. They are a starchy vegetable like yucca, cassava, yautia, malanga, taro, sweet potatoes, and more. These are the most popular ones in Latin America and Puerto Rico as they are native to the land. Because they grow underground, they absorb a great amount of nutrients from the soil.

**Yams, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, celery root (or celeriac), horseradish, daikon, turmeric, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, radishes, and ginger are also all considered roots. 

Gluten-Free Puerto Rican Recipes

Some of the health benefits of root vegetables include: 

  • Good source of dietary energy
  • Rich in soluble and insoluble fiber
  • High levels of vitamin A, B & C
  • High levels of minerals and antioxidants
  • Helps boost gut health
  • Lower high levels of blood fats and glucose
  • Reduce risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers

Because root vegetables grow underground, it is important they grow as natural and organic as possible. Just like they absorb the nutrients, they can also absorb any pesticides and chemicals in the soil. Buying the produce when it is in season, from a farmers market, or organic is recommended to get the best quality and  nutrients.


Puerto Rican Paleo Recipes

How to make “Vianda”

Vianda is a popular dish made in Puerto Rico. It is basically root vegetables boiled until soft. They are served with a bit of olive oil on top, and typically with bacalao (salted codfish) on the side. You can find a recipe for our famous “Gazpacho” on the blog

To make the vianda; peel and chop yucca, yautia, ñame and malanga into 2-3” chunks. You can also peel a few green bananas and cut into 2” pieces and add to the vianda.

In a large pot, add all your vianda, fill with water until it is all covered, and boil until soft enough to stick a fork in them. Drain, add a few pieces of each onto a plate, drizzle extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt to taste. Enjoy as a side to your favorite protein, and veggies or salad. Buen provecho! 


https://twitter.com/joelperezNY/status/913115318238826498

What is sancocho?

Sancocho is a popular stew in Latin American countries, mainly because it’s made with various root vegetables that predominantly grow in warmer climates. 

The recipe varies from place to place but the base of it is really similar. The stew consists of chicken, pork or beef, and a variety of root vegetables like yucca roots (cassava), yautia (malanga), ñame, and batata (a type of sweet potato or yam). Some also add green bananas and green plantains.

I will share the Puerto Rican version of sancocho, as it’s the one I’m most familiar with, as well as a recipe inspired by the Panamanian sancocho. It’s the perfect meal for colder weather and rainy days, but can be enjoyed at any time. Plus, it’s a really healthy stew as root vegetables are gluten-free, low-glycemic, and high in fibers and minerals. 


Gluten-Free Puerto Rican Recipes

Puerto Rican Sancocho

(Meat and Root Vegetable Stew) 

Ingredients: 

5-6 servings

  • 2 yucca/cassava roots (peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • 2 malanga roots (peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • 2 green bananas, or green plantains (peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • 2 or 3 corn on the cob cut into 1- or 2-inch pieces
  • 2 or 3 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • Optional: celery root (chopped)
  • 2  lbs of chicken thighs cut into pieces (with or without bone)
  • Optional: 1 lb stew beef
  • Cooking oil of choice
  • 4 tbsp of *sofrito (blended onions, peppers, cilantro and garlic) *Recipes on my blog.  
  • 2 tbsp of stuffed green olives
  • 1 tbsp of *sazón (seasoning made with annatto) *Recipe on my blog or can purchase at healthyrican.com
  • 2 cups of organic tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of chicken broth

Directions: 

  • Boil the chicken in about 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Do not drain.
  • In a separate large pot (big enough to fit all the ingredients), add the oil, sofrito, olives and sazón. Stir fry for a minute or so.
  • Add the tomato sauce and stir.
  • Add all the root vegetables including the green bananas, plantains, carrots and corn.
  • Add in the boiled chicken and broth until everything is covered.
  • Cook until all the root vegetables are cooked (soft enough to stick a fork in them) and the liquid has a thick consistency. 
  • Serve and sprinkle cilantro on top if desired. 
  • Can be served with rice or on its own as a hearty soup. Enjoy!!


https://twitter.com/YOPBanquets/status/1176284357117562883

How to Make Caribbean Sancocho

(Chicken & Root Vegetable Stew)

As I mentioned before, sancocho is a traditional soup or stew found in various Latin American countries. This recipe was inspired by my trip to Panama. I ordered a sancocho at a local restaurant and was pleasantly surprised.

In Puerto Rico, sancocho is made as a hearty stew with a variety of meats and root vegetables. In Panama, it’s made as a broth chicken soup. In this variation, I combined both the Puerto Rican and Panamanian sancochos, with a twist, as I’ve made it compliant to suit both the elimination (Whole30) and auto-immune paleo diets.

I love this recipe because it combines the soothing benefits of bone broth and turmeric. It is ideal for someone dealing with autoimmune symptoms.

Healthy Puerto Rican Dinner Recipes

Ingredients: 

4-6 servings

Paleo – AIP – Whole 30

  • 3 lbs organic boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • ⅓ bunch fresh cilantro
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground annatto (if available)
  • 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil
  • 8 cups of homemade bone broth, or 2 quarts store bought chicken broth 
  • 1 large onion
  • 1.5 lbs yucca root (cassava), can be bought frozen (peeled and cut)
  • 2 green plantains
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cut the chicken into small pieces. 
  • Chop the cilantro, including the stems. 
  • In mortar and pestle, mince the garlic cloves. Add the cilantro and continue to mince together. Then add the salt, oregano, turmeric, cumin, annatto, and mix well.
  • In a large pot, on high heat, add the oil and the herb and spice mixture, allow to sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the chopped meat and mix well. 
  • Continue to stir on high heat for a minute or two. Add a bit of broth if it starts to stick. Bring to low and cover. 
  • In the meantime, chop the onion, add to the chicken and mix well. Cover and continue to cook on low.
  • Peel the plantains and yucca, and cut into 1-2 inch pieces. 
  • Bring the heat back to high, add the broth, plantain, and yucca. Continue to cook on high heat until it boils. After it boils, lower the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the yucca and plantain are tender enough to stick a fork in them easily. 
  • Turn off the heat. Enjoy right away or allow it to sit and cool off for 10 minutes. 
  • Serve and top with a few fresh cilantro leaves if desired. 

Healthy Puerto Rican Dinner Recipes

Enjoy!

Made with Love,
Mayra

___

Thanks for reading our blog. Please let us know what you think of our articles and recipes in the comments below. If you’d like to stay up to date, join our Nutrition Dork’s mailing list here: https://sendfox.com/nutritiondork

Want to find out more about our Healthy Rican Spice Brand? Visit our online store here. There you will find our Healthy Blends of Latin Adobo & Sazón made with all-natural ingredients. Our NO-JUNK seasonings are made with pure flavor “Puro Sabor” and are FREE of MSG, GMO’s, artificial ingredients and artificial colors. Check it out now at HealthyRican.com

Resources: 

**https://ohmyveggies.com/a-guide-to-root-vegetables/

https://www.oprah.com/health/dr-oz-foods-you-must-buy-organic 

How Do You Use a Sazón Seasoning?

How Do You Use a Sazón Seasoning?

What is Sazón?

Sazón is a seasoning used in Spanish and Latin cultures to add color and flavor to their foods. It is proven that foods with vibrant colors look more enticing and palatable. This is why the Latin culture has adapted using sazón in almost all of their recipes. 

What is Sazón made with?

Sazón is mainly made with Annatto which translates to Achiote in Spanish. Annatto is obtained from the pulp of a tropical fruit. Sometimes also called annatto seeds. The color is extracted by heating the seed in oil or water. In sazón, annatto is used in its powdered form, blended with other spices like cumin, coriander, oregano, and sometimes salt.

Homemade Sazon Seasoning Mix

What does the word sazón mean?

The word Sazón is the Spanish word for flavor. Many times it also refers to seasoning, or to season (e.g. To season the meat). As you can see the sazón seasoning got its name while referring to the seasoning of the food in order to give it flavor. 

How do you use a Sazón Seasoning? 

Sazón is used in rice, stews, to marinate meats and more. With sazón you can make a bland piece of chicken, delicious and appetizing. You can add it to your favorite recipe to bring out the color in your rice, soups, stews, and to enhance the flavor of your foods. To use, follow the directions on the packaging. Most times sazón is used 1-2 teaspoons per every 3-4 servings. 

What Can I Use Instead of Sazón Seasoning?

Sazón is typically used to add an orange/yellow color to foods. Instead of sazón seasoning you can use ground annatto, oil of annatto (recipe below), ground turmeric, and with it add various spices like coriander, garlic, and cumin to your foods. 

How To Make Homemade Sazón Seasoning Mix

To make homemade sazón seasoning you will need ground annatto which is the key ingredient. With that you can add turmeric for its health benefits and bright orange color. You can also add spices like cumin, coriander, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. I would recommend experimenting with the recipe until you get the right amount of color and flavor that pleases your tastebuds. Below I’ll share a DIY (do it yourself) recipe to get you started. 

Puerto Rican Sazon Recipe

DIY Puerto Rican Sazón Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons ground annatto (achiote molido)
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric (cúrcuma)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic (ajo)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (comino)

Optional ingredients:

  • Coriander
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Directions:

In a small bowl or container, blend all the ingredients together. Place in a labeled shaker to use as needed. 

How to Make “Aceite De Achiote” (Oil Of Annatto)

As I’m speaking of sazón I think it is important to also mention how achiote (annatto) initially was incorporated into our Latin cuisine. As I mentioned before, the primary use for annatto and sazón is for it’s color. The color is extracted by heating the annatto seeds in oil or water. I remember my mom making big batches of the oil of annatto, and kept it in glass jars to use as needed. 

Oil of annatto is used as a base when cooking “arroz junto” meaning our yellow rice which includes other ingredients like beans, meats, and vegetables. You’ve probably heard of “Arroz con Pollo” or Puerto Rican’s famous “Arroz con Gandules”. Both recipes include oil of annatto or sazón, or both! Now let’s move on to teach you how to make it, and how to use it. 

All-Natural Sazon Seasoning Recipe

DIY “Aceite de Achiote” (oil of annatto) Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Annatto seeds 
  • Oil of choice 
    • In this case you can use any type of oil you cook with. Many times in Latin cuisine, lard is used as the fat of choice. 
    • Healthy oil options include, avocado oil, and refined coconut oil. 

Directions:

Add 1 cup of annatto seeds per every 2 cups of oil in a pot. Bring the oil to a boil, and allow to boil for 1-2 minutes. Allow to cool and strain the oil into a glass jar. If desired, you can save the annatto seeds for another time as you can use the same seeds twice. 

How to use “Aceite de Achiote” (oil of annatto)

You can use oil of annatto in place of plain oil when cooking rice, beans, stews, and to marinate meats. In Puerto Rican cuisine, oil of annatto is used to stir fry the sofrito used in most recipes. Oil of annatto is also used in the “masa” dough used to make Puerto Rican fritters like “Alcapurrias and Empanadillas” to give the dough it’s orange/yellow color. Most of the time the oil of annatto is used 1-2 tablespoon at a time. It all depends on what you are cooking. 

Here’s a quick recipe in which you can use oil of annatto

“Arroz a la jardinera” (Rice with vegetables)

Puerto Rican Sazon Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons oil of annatto
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh sofrito
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sazón (DIY or our delicious Healthy Rican Sazón)
  • 1 bouillon cube (or 3 cups of chicken broth)
  • 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables (or 1 can of mixed vegetables) 
  • 3 cups of rice (preferably medium grain or jasmine rice) 
  • 3 cups of water, ONLY if using the bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot or “caldero”, add the oil of annatto to high heat. 
  2. Add the sofrito and stir fry until it releases its aroma. 
  3. Add the sazón and bouillon cube (if using) until it’s dissolved into the sofrito. 
  4. Immediately add a bit of the water (if using the bouillon cube), or a bit of the broth. This is to make sure the sofrito doesn’t burn or stick to the pot. 
  5. Add the mixed vegetables and rice, and stir well. 
  6. Add the water, or chicken broth if using. 
  7. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Try the liquid and make sure it’s to your liking. Please note that the liquid should be on the salty side, as the rice will absorb the majority of the flavor. 
  8. Stir and allow to boil until the water/broth slightly disappears. 
  9. Stir again, cover, and set to low heat. 
  10. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. The time will depend on what kind of rice you used. 
  11. Stir in between to make sure the rice doesn’t stick too much from the bottom. Unless you like “el pegao” which is the rice that burns to the bottom of the pot which will turn out golden, and nice and crunchy. 

Note: If you are using long grain or brown rice, you may need to add more water. Please read the package to make sure you have the correct amount of water per rice ratio. 

Enjoy!

Made with Love,

Mayra

___

Thanks for reading our blog. Please let us know what you think of our articles and recipes in the comments below. If you’d like to stay up to date, join our Nutrition Dork’s mailing list here: https://sendfox.com/nutritiondork

Want to find out more about our Healthy Rican Spice Brand? Visit our online store here. There you will find our Healthy Blends of Latin Adobo & Sazón made with all-natural ingredients. Our NO-JUNK seasonings are made with pure flavor “Puro Sabor” and are FREE of MSG, GMO’s, artificial ingredients and artificial colors. Check it out now at HealthyRican.com

How to Cook Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules and Bistec Encebollado

How to Cook Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules and Bistec Encebollado

Arroz con gandules (rice and peas) and bistec encebollado (beefsteak and onions) is a very typical dinner in Puerto Rico. Arroz con gandules is also a staple during the Holidays, or in any main event in Puerto Rico.

Bistec encebollado is usually cooked and paired up with white rice, bean stew, and some maduros (ripe fried plantains) on the side. All of these can be paired with a slice of ripe avocado, which will have everyone mouth watering over these delicious dinner plates. Puerto Rican foods made with the right ingredients, can be both delicious and part of a well balanced healthy dinner.


how to choose healthy ingredients for arroz con gandules and bistec encebollado

- Meat:  Certified organic, or humanely raised from a local farm is best. Second best choice are meats that are labeled grass-fed, and free of antibiotics. 

- Fats and oils:  Coconut oil is best for cooking as it is highly resistant to oxidation at high heat. Olive oil and avocado oil are also good choices especially when choosing plant based oils. Animal fats in moderation include butter, ghee, lard, tallow, and duck fat; these are safer to consume with vegetables rather than grains. 

- Rice: Choose rice in its natural state meaning it is not "enriched" and has not been depleted of its quality and color. Brown rice is best, however some white rice like Jasmine and Basmati are also good choices. 

- Legumes:  Soaking and cooking uncooked beans and legumes is the best option. When buying pre-made and canned beans, organic is best. 

- Vegetables:  To avoid vegetables that have been sprayed with glyphosate and pesticides, choose organic or from a local farmers market. If that is not available to you, make sure to wash your vegetables very well. You can make a solution by mixing 1/2 cup of vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 1 tbsp of lemon juice in a spray bottle. Then spray and rinse your vegetables in a colander in the sink. 

- Salt and Seasonings: Try to reduce your sodium by purchasing seasonings low in sodium or salt-free and add your own salt in moderation. When choosing salt, avoid table salt as it is the highest in sodium. Choose salt in its natural form and color. Salts like sea salt, pink himalayan or celtic salt are best. I'm a fan of pink himalayan salt, as it has a third (1/3) less in sodium than regular table salt. As for seasonings, I created my own blend of Adobo and Sazón. When I couldn't find any healthy option in stores, I decided to make my own. I have some recipes on my blog (https://nutritiondork.com/blog) or check it out at my shop on this page at healthyrican.com

Keep in mind that eating healthy is not an all or nothing thing, just do the best you can with what you have. Make sure you are consuming vegetables with every meal, drinking lots of water, and reducing sugar and sodium intake. 

Below you'll find the recipes of how I make arroz con gandules (rice and peas) and bistec encebollado (beefsteak and onions) the Nutrition Dork way. 


How to make Arroz con Gandules (Rice and peas):

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp healthy oil (I use refined coconut oil)
  • 2 tsp fresh sofrito
  • 2 tsp sazón
  • 1 cup diced ham or meat of choice
  • 1 tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 1 bouillon cube (or chicken broth - which I prefer and make my own)
  • 3 cups of rice
  • 2 cups of gandules (pigeon peas)
  • 3 cups of water (if using bouillon cube) or 3 cups of broth
  • Salt to taste (I use pink himalayan salt)
  • Optional: Black pepper and oregano to taste. I usually just sprinkle a bit on top, about a pinch or two. 
  • For this recipe I also added a hoja de platano (plantain leaf) on top of the rice before cooking. This adds a great flavor to the rice. It reminds me of eating a pastel during the holidays. This is optional as it is not needed. If you'd like to try it, I found the plantain leaves in the frozen section where the Goya products are.

Directions:

- In a large pot, preferably a dutch oven (typically known as a caldero), add the oil and stir fry the sofrito on high heat for a few seconds. 

- Add the sazón, diced ham, tomato sauce, and bouillon cube and a bit of water or a bit of broth. Continue to stir fry until it releases a delicious aroma.

- Add the rice and gandules and stir. Then add the water or broth until the rice is completely covered (about 1/2 inch above the rice). 

- Add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp). Also add black pepper and oregano if desired. 

- Taste the liquid to make sure the flavor is to your liking. 

- Allow to boil on high heat until almost all the liquid has disappeared. Mix well from the bottom up. 

- Cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes or until the rice is completely cooked. 

Tip: To add more flavor, you can place a plantain or banana leaf on top of the rice, then cover and cook. 


How to make Bistec Encebollado (Beefsteak and onions):

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 pounds flank steak (sliced into strips)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo
  • 2 teaspoons sazón 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp sofrito
  • 10 spanish or pimento stuffed olives

Directions:

- Marinate the onions in the vinegar.

- Add the adobo, sazón and pepper to the meat.

- Add the meat, onions with vinegar, sofrito, olives, and bay leaves to a medium pot.

- Cook in a crockpot on high for 2 hours. Or cook in a regular pot on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until meat is cooked and tender.

Remember to add your own twist and "sabor" (flavor) if desired. Also add vegetables, or a salad on the side. A slice of avocado is also a great addition to this plate. 

Enjoy!

Made with Love,

Mayra


Easy Puerto Rican Recipes

Thanks for reading our blog. Please let us know what you think of our articles and recipes in the comments below. If you’d like to stay up to date, join our Nutrition Dork’s mailing list here: https://sendfox.com/nutritiondork 

Want to find out more about our Healthy Rican Spice Brand? Visit our online store here. There you will find our Healthy Blends of Latin Adobo & Sazón made with all-natural ingredients. Our NO-JUNK seasonings are made with pure flavor “Puro Sabor” and are FREE of MSG, GMO’s, artificial ingredients and artificial colors. Check it out now at HealthyRican.com

Resources:

http://nourishingtraditions.com/why-you-should-purchase-meat-eggs-and-dairy-products-directly-from-a-farmer-you-know/

https://nourishingtraditions.com/all-those-new-oils/

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito from Scratch?

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito from Scratch?

First let’s talk about “What is sofrito?”

Sofrito is a blend of various vegetables and herbs used in Latin cuisine, especially in Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Recipes vary from place to place, but primarily consist of onions, garlic, peppers, cilantro, culantro, and tomatoes. 

The word sofrito comes from another spanish word “sofrier” which means to stir-fry. Typically the sofrito is stir fried in a bit of oil, before using in a recipe. According to Google’s dictionary sofrito means; a Caribbean and Latin American sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs.

Depending on which part of Latin America, sofrito is made with different ingredients, and used in various ways. Sofrito is added to rice, beans, meats, soups and stews to enhance the flavor of the food. 

As a Puerto Rican, I grew up enjoying the aroma and flavors of sofrito as it is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine. We just can’t cook without it. It is used to marinate meats, used in our famous rice and chicken “arroz con pollo” and rice with peas “arroz con gandules”. It is also used in our famous bean stew, and various soups like “asopao” and “sopa de gandules”. Sofrito is also used in meat stews like “fricase de pollo” and “carne guisada”. It is literally a staple used in almost every single meal. 

Below I will share a variety of sofrito recipes to satisfy your cravings.

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito from Scratch

Traditional Puerto Rican Sofrito contains various ingredients that are native to the Caribbean and may not be available in your area. I will explain each of these ingredients in detail, however no need to worry if you can’t find them. I will also share other ingredients that you can use as an alternative. 

Puerto Rican Sofrito From Scratch

Cubanelle peppers; according to Wikipedia “The Cubanelle, also known as "Cuban pepper" and "Italian frying pepper", is a variety of sweet pepper of the species Capsicum annuum. When unripe, it is light yellowish-green in color, but will turn bright red if allowed to ripen.”

Healthy Puerto Rican Recipes

Aji Dulce; according to Wikipedia “Ají dulce, ají cachucha, quechucha, ajicito, or ají gustoso is any of a variety of sweet perennial peppers found in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is most widely known in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela, where it refers to a specific native variety of Capsicum chinense that is related to the habanero but with a much milder, smoky flavor. In the English-speaking Caribbean, it is known as seasoning pepper and is essential to a variety of traditional dishes.”

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito

“Recao” also known as Culantro; according to Wikipedia “Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial herb in the family Apiaceae. Common names include culantro, recao, shadow beni, Mexican coriander, bhandhania, long coriander, sawtooth coriander, and ngò gai. It is native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, but is cultivated worldwide, sometimes being grown as an annual in temperate climates. In the United States, the common name culantro sometimes causes confusion with cilantro, a common name for the leaves of Coriandrum sativum (also in Apiaceae), of which culantro is said to taste like a stronger version.”

Traditional Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion (or 2-3 small onions)
  • 3-4 green cubanelle peppers 
  • 10 aji dulce
  • 1-2 bunch of culantro (recao)
  • 1 cup of garlic cloves

Directions:

Peel and chop the onion in four parts. Rinse and remove seeds from the peppers and aji dulce. Rinse and chop the cilantro, and peel the garlic cloves. Add the ingredients to a blender or food processor a little at a time. Start with the onions and peppers as they will release liquid making the ingredients easier to blend. Then add the aji dulce, recao and garlic until everything is blended together. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. May be stored in the fridge for up to a month. You can also freeze in small containers, then defrost when needed and store the rest in the fridge. 

Puerto Rican Sofrito From Scratch

Alternative Ingredients: 
Cubanelle Peppers = Bell Peppers
Aji Dulce = Sweet Peppers
Culantro = Cilantro

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito

Sofrito with Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cored ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion (or 2-3 small onions)
  • 3-4 green cubanelle peppers or bell peppers
  • 10 aji dulce or small sweet peppers
  • 1 bunch of culantro (recao)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 cup of garlic cloves

Directions:

Rinse, core the tomatoes, and chop into large chunks. Peel and chop the onion in four parts. Rinse and remove seeds from the peppers and aji dulce. Rinse and chop the cilantro, and peel the garlic cloves. Add the ingredients to a blender or food processor a little at a time. Start with the tomatoes, onions and peppers as they will release liquid making the ingredients easier to blend. Then add the aji dulce, recao, cilantro and garlic until everything is blended together. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. May be stored in the fridge for up to a month. You can also freeze in small containers, then defrost when needed and store the rest in the fridge.

 

Dominican Sofrito

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 green cubanelle pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground annatto (achiote)
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

In a skillet add the olive oil to low heat. Add all the ingredients, and saute for about 5 minutes until the ingredients release their aroma. Allow to cool, then blend until a paste forms. Save in small containers in the refrigerator and freezer to use as needed. Will last up to a month in the refrigerator, and about 3 months in the freezer. 

Spanish Sofrito

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small spanish (or yellow) onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5–6 diced plum tomatoes (or diced canned tomatoes)
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet add the olive oil to medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and garlic, stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure the tomatoes have softened, and the sauce looks thick. Remove the bay leaf and allow it to cool. Save in small containers in the refrigerator and freezer to use as needed. 

How to use Sofrito

Using sofrito in your food is pretty simple. Just add 1-2 tablespoons before cooking rice, beans, soups and stews. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of your pan, add the sofrito, and stir fry until it releases its aroma, then add your other ingredients like rice, beans, meats, etc. and cook as you normally would. 


Here’s a quick bean stew recipe to get you started:

Healthy Puerto Rican Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sofrito
  • 1 tablespoon Sazón 
  • ½ cup of diced potatoes
  • 2 cups of cooked beans (or 1 can of beans) 
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium pot, add the olive oil to medium heat. Add the sofrito and stir fry until the sofrito releases it’s aroma. Add the sazón, diced potatoes, beans, and tomato sauce. Add 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Once the potatoes are cooked and the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy on the side of white rice.

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