RECIPE: Plantain Arepas

More than half of the food the average Trinbagonian eats is imported. This should come as no surprise since our twin isle’s annual food import bill is approximately $6 billion. By purchasing local, you funnel money back into our community and support its growth and sustainability for future generations. Our weekly column “In Season” features a sweet and savoury recipe for one readily-available ingredient, so you can take advantage of the vibrant bounty from farmers’ markets, local farm stands, and your own yard.


Plantains are starchy version of bananas, rich in both potassium and magnesium. They are also high in fiber, vitamins A, C and B-6. They help build the brain and boost immunity, so if you don't already eat plantain, you best start now. Fried, boiled, grilled or baked—no matter how we prepare it, plantains are a must in every Caribbean kitchen.
Arepas de Plátano Verde (green plantain arepas) are very popular in our neighbouring Latin American countries. Boiled, pureed plantains are mixed into the cornmeal base for a twist on traditional arepas. They're crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and absolutely irresistable when warm and brushed with melted butter.
It can be made ahead for breakfast that's a breeze. It's also lovely after a long day of work when you want nothing more than a simple, filling, comforting meal like soup and grilled cheese. 
Serves: 4 to 6 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
  • 2 medium sized plantains 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1⁄2 cup feta, queso blanco, Mozzarella or Cheddar cheese
  • Vegetable oil for greasing  


  1. Fill a medium sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cut the ends off the plantains and slice each piece into thirds with the skin still attached. Add to the boiling water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork.
  2. Strain plantain, peel and allow to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, use your hand or a potato masher to mash plantain. Add water, sugar and salt; mix well.
  4. Add the cornmeal, half at a time, and mix thoroughly using your hands to get rid of any lumps.
  5. When well combined, separate the dough equally into 8 arepas. Roll each into a smooth ball and then gently flatten until it takes on the shape of a disc. Repeat with remaining arepas. Rub each side of the arepas with vegetable oil.
  6. Grease and warm grill or frying pan to medium heat. Grill each arepa until golden brown on each side or until golden grill marks appear. (I cover mine while grilling to ensure the center of the arepa cooks.)
  7. Slice each arepas open with a knife, and fill with cheese.
  8. Return to the grill, frying pan or toaster oven for a minute or two and heat until the cheese is melted.
  9. Serve warm or with a side of tomato soup. Enjoy!
If you made the pulled pork recipe from last week's In Season and still have extras in the freezer, try stuffing some into these arepas—it’s sure to be a winning combo.

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