Hasselback Plantains with Lemon Aioli Dressing

Hasselback plantains??

Yes, indeed! I mean, you can pretty much hasselback anything if you try hard enough! It seems to be quite the trend these days, and I couldn’t be happier. Here are a few other Hasselbacked dishes for you to give a go while we’re on the subject:

See? Just a few extra slices during your veggie prep and all of a sudden an already tasty meal becomes utterly delicious as the starch roasts, each pocket capturing a bit of fat and flavor as it browns in the oven. Sometimes all you need in order to escape boredom in the kitchen is to get creative with your knifework–keeping all the ingredients the same!

Starches for you, starches for me

The beauty of eating food is that, like, you eat what works for you and no one else can decide or figure out how that shakes out for you. Sure, you can have a guide here and there, and sure, that can be really helpful when there are doubts about how certain foods actually feel in your system. But after playing around with a pared-down style of eating, whether it’s the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), a ketogenic style or the autoimmune protocol (AIP) (just to name a few!), there can often come a time where you may feel a bit out to sea regarding carbohydrates.

They’re an intense subject these days, it seems. Signs that you may not be tolerating the starches you’re currently eating include (but are not limited to):

  • gassiness (lots of farts)
  • burping
  • bloating and belly distention after meals
  • diarrhea/increased urgency after meals
  • increased feelings of overall puffiness, fatigue or total body overwhelm
  • joint discomfort or pain
  • increased skin eruptions or irritation

Not a super fun list, huh? All of the above symptoms can often be tied back to an inability to fully break down and process the carbohydrate structures within different starchy or sugary foods–and we haven’t even touched on our blood sugar levels and how these foods can affect how we feel throughout the day through the also-quite-a-big-deal effect they can have on blood sugar levels! Blood sugar is fodder for another post, though. When consuming unprocessed carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables and fresh fruits, often this change alone can be a relief to our blood sugar levels that likely have been rocketing up and plummeting down on a more average North American style of eating.

Anyway–we’re not talking blood sugar here! We’ve getting a bit geekier by looking at the structure of the carbohydrates within the unprocessed carbohydrates themselves, and what to do if there isn’t quite enough tolerance. Simple ideas to consider when working towards regaining a tolerance for expanded loads of real food carbohydrates:

  • Working with a practitioner to assess digestive function, starting from the brain and moving all the way down to the lower intestines:
    • How are stress levels? Can you even taste your food when you’re eating? Do you salivate?
    • How are stomach acid levels? are they high enough? This is informed by stress!
    • How are gut bacteria levels? Have you followed a low-carb/keto style of eating for an extended period of time? There may not be enough bacteria in the gut that can effectively break down any carbohydrates, since the gut just hasn’t been trained by the sheer omission of carbohydrate in these types of eating plans–makes sense, right?
    • How are you getting good bacteria into your gut? Fermented foods? High-quality and consistent probiotic use?
    • How are digestive enzymes levels in the potentially overburdened/underactive digestive system? Is there need for exogenous digestive enzyme via supplementation?
    • Are there major or unidentified irritants that are keeping your body in stress-mode or provoking systemic inflammation, such as parasite activity or toxin-overload in the system?

Whew. Intense. But good to think about! Now, what does any of that have to do with hasselback plantains? Because, dear readers, I see so many people continuing to take quality, safe starches out of their eating routines and demonising that entire macronutrient (we only have three macronutrients–carbohydrates, protein and fat, so, it’s kind of a big deal when we explicitly and consistently take one away in the long-term).

And, if we can work on a few factors to increase the digestive prowess, feed bacteria in our guts that pay us back in spades, and keep our palates happy with coconut oil-drizzled and garlicky plantains, and bring fun back into our kitchens, well… I’ve been on the other side of the kitchen, and I gotta say, it’s warmer over here when it’s fun again!

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Hasselback Plantains with Lemon Aioli Dressing

A little work up front pays off in spades once these plantains make it into the oven!

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Hasselback Plantains

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 medium garlic clove minced
  • 4 plantains peeled and room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Lemon Aioli Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (see note)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced or grated
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • pinch smoked paprika
  • pinch sea salt

Additional kitchen items

  • Chopsticks
  • Kitchen brush

Instructions

Hasselback Plantains

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and minced garlic clove until the garlic is just fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  3. To chop the plantains, first lay the chopsticks along each side of the plantain you'll be cutting. These act as a bottom railguard, making sure you don't chop all the way through the plantain while creating the multiple slices that make it a Hasselback! Slice each plantain every 1/8th inch, from one side to the other. Repeat with the remaining plantains.
  4. Place all plantains on the baking sheet, then brush with copious amounts of the garlic coconut oil, making sure to get in between the slices in each plantain. If the plantains are straight from the fridge (if you've stored them in there!), the coconut oil will solidify while brushing and it will be difficult to saturated each slice with oil. Opt for room temperature plantains.
  5. Sprinkle the plantains with the garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper.
  6. Roast for 25-35 minutes. If you have leftover garlic coconut oil, drizzle the remaining oil over the plantains halfway through cooking.
  7. While the plantains roast in the oven, make the Lemon Aioli Dressing (see below).
  8. Once the plantains are out of the oven, allow to cool briefly before serving over a bed of greens, and garnish with the lemon aioli dressing, and cilantro if the mood strikes!

Lemon Aioli Dressing

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or using an immersion blender in a jar with high sides to reduce splatters (a wide-mouth mason jar works well).
  2. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Recipe Notes

Use homemade mayonnaise, or purchase avocado oil-only mayonnaise!

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