Smokey Beans with Sweet Plantain

Smokey Beans with Plantain 1

My love for cooking is derived from the variety and flavors of food that I grew up with in my household and from my extended family.  My paternal grandmother was an amazing cook as she traveled the world as an Ambassador’s wife and would explore those cultures in her cooking.  My maternal grandmother, my mother, aunts and cousins (and there are MANY across those last two categories) can all cook very well – no pressure.  They enjoy the planning, preparation, serving and delight in seeing their guests enjoy what they’ve created.  As I mentioned in other posts, I am a first generation American born to parents from the Caribbean.  My first love will always be ‘island’ spices and traditions from their preparation of cooking.

Plantain was a staple in meals during my childhood and treated as a side dish as you would have potatoes, yams or sweet potatoes.   Also known as plátanos, they are closely related to the fruit, banana.  Plantain can be prepared and cooked when green, and also when it is ripe which is signaled by it softening and turning yellow and black.

I  cook plantain once or twice a month – not too often as it is relatively high in calories.  The starch converts to sugar even more than a banana – but I do enjoy having it. Tremendously.  Plantain is nutritious and is a  great source of Vitamins A, C, B-6 and Potassium.   I fry plantain, boil it, boil and mash it, add to soups and stews; I use it numerous ways.  The addition of plantain to this dish I prepared is magic.

So let’s talk about my ‘oh so smokey beans’!  I use both kidney beans and black beans.  I find it interesting how various cultures use different beans in their dishes.  My father’s Haitian culture uses the kidney bean in rice as they do in Jamaica.  A Costa Rican family that lived on my block in Brooklyn used black beans in their dishes and that was my introduction to those beans as my mother never used them in her Vincentian upbringing.  I love both of these beans and they are used frequently in my vegetarian lifestyle.  Kidney beans are great for absorbing the flavors they are in.  As with all beans these are both very good sources of cholesterol-lowering fiber, iron and lots of protein.

My ingredients for this dish are simple but combined they provide several layers of flavor.  The garlic, liquid smoke and the paprika provide the great smokey flavor, yet the red peppers provide a nice sweet finish to the beans.  Paired with the unexpected soft, sweet plantain really makes this a side dish that is unique and appealing.

Feed the wellness in you!

Smokey Beans with Sweet Plantain

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4-6


  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 c onions
  • 5 sweet peppers, sliced and seeded
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbl tomato paste
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbl smoked paprika
  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 2 - 4 Tbl olive oil


  1. Sautee the garlic, onions, sweet peppers in 1-2 tbl of olive oil.
  2. Add the beans and vegetable broth and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remainder of the ingredients except for the plantains. Add 1 tsp of sea salt.
  4. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes stirring periodically then turn to low heat and leave covered with a slight crack so the dish does not create condensation/water.
  5. In another pan, heat 2 Tbl of olive oil and slice your plantain into discs as shown in the picture of the finished product.
  6. Place the discs in the pan and allow to get golden brown on both sides.
  7. Once done, place on paper towels to drain the oil.
  8. Add to the smokey beans. The beans should be a nice, smooth, consistency. Not too thick and not at all runny and loose.
  9. Remove from heat and serve.

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  1. Carla says

    I just love this post! From beginning to end, I could feel the love of food and family, and the pride of your Caribbean heritage. I love black beans, in particular. I prepare them as a side dish and an ingredient in soups and chilies. I will try your recipe with kidney and black beans. I am sure I will love both preparations!
    As for the mysterious plantain…it is that interesting item in the produce section of the grocery store that always reminds me of my vacations to the islands but I have never attempted to cook one (or 2 for this recipe.) I accept the challenge! The recipe looks easy, “simple,” and delicious!!
    Thanks for sharing the food you love and the people you love.

    • says

      I’m so glad what I think is so ordinary can be special to others!! The two plantains really stretches the dish so to start try one and if you enjoy the plantain in every bite add another. Cheers to wellness and variety!

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