Banana Skin Recipes

Are these bananas over-ripe? Or are they perfectly ripe?

Who knew you could eat the skins of a banana? It’s amazing what we have been conditioned into discarding as not edible isn’t it? The amount of delicious and healthy fruit and vegetable offcuts – skins, leaves, stalks…that we just throw away is actually quite shocking. We could make our weekly food shop go so much further if we re-learn what is edible and what isn’t. Lack of dietary fibre is a big health issue here in the west. It’s so important to eat enough roughage to help your digestive system move, for bowel health, and to balance your blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Dietary fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Eating banana skins is not just about increasing your fibre intake. Banana skins are rich in potassium (amazing for your heart health), magnesium (helps your muscles and nerves work properly, maintains protein, bone and DNA, levels blood sugar and pressure), B6 (which improves your sleep) and B12 (keeps your blood and nerve cells happy, helps make DNA), Vitamin A (great for eyesight), antioxidants (lowers cancer risk) and more!

So here are a couple of ways to cook banana skins. Always choose organic to avoid nasty pesticides/herbicides and give your bananas a good rinse. Riper banana skins are softer and sweeter. If you don’t fancy making a meal out of banana skins, you can always blend some into your smoothie or next batch of banana bread too.

Liz x

Save Your Banana Skin ‘Bacon’

Rescue your ripe banana skins from heading to the bin by putting them in a box in the fridge to add to smoothies – or make this vegan bacon. Yes, this recipe is a bit of a gimmick, but it is surprisingly delicious. It’s all about the smokey bacon marinade of course (which you can use to marinade strips of aubergine, mushrooms, courgette, carrots etc to make whatever plant-based bacon you desire). Banana skins bring a light banana flavour to the party along with a deliciously chewy texture. Definitely worth a go!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp garlic granules/powder
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3-4 ripe banana skins, washed

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except for the banana skins) in a container that will hold 3 or 4 banana skins. I use a sandwich box with a lid.
  2. Chop the tough ends off of 3-4 banana skins and tear them into strips (a banana skin should naturally tear into 3 or 4 strips). Use a spoon to scrape off the phloem bundles – that’s the name for the soft, stringy bits of banana stuck to the inside of the skins. These can be added to smoothies or banana bread.
  3. Place the scraped banana skins into the marinade and mix well ensuring each piece is coated in the marinade. Leave to soak up the flavour for at least 20 minutes. You can even prepare this the night before and pop in the fridge, then cook the bacon for breakfast in the morning.
  4. Fry the strips of banana skin with a little oil in a medium-high frying pan on both sides until sizzling and crispy. Enjoy as a side of your cooked breakfast plate or in a sandwich. Crumble over pasta or eat wherever you would like a sweet and salty, smokey bacon-like flavour.

Whole Banana & Coconut Curry

You need to really like banana to like this curry. It’s sweet, creamy, mild and absolutely delicious! I like it just as it is so I can really enjoy the flavour and texture of the banana skin and flesh with some simple rice, chilli flakes and coriander. But I often bulk it out with roasted cauliflower or squash or a drained tin of chickpeas too.

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • a pinch of fresh curry leaves will take this curry to the next level
  • 1/2 a white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 tsp ground/grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground/grated turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt – or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tin coconut milk
  • rice, fresh coriander, chilli flakes, lime wedges to serve

Method

  1. Get your rice on to cook then heat up a pan with your vegetable oil to medium-high. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook them until they start to crackle and pop. They should get very fragrant. If you can get fresh curry leaves where you are, add a pinch of them now too and swoon at the gorgeous fragrance.
  2. Then add the sliced onion with a pinch of salt and sauté until soft and starting to turn golden brown. Add the sliced garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.
  3. While the onions and garlic cook, slice the tough ends off your banana and peel it. Cut the skin widthways into three roughly pinky-finger length chunks, then cut those chunks lengthways into nice thin strips. Add the banana skin to the pan and stir.
  4. Add the turmeric, ginger and curry powder and stir well. The curry will be quite dry now so add a splash or two of water and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly and adding more water as needed until the banana skins have softened.
  5. Slice the banana flesh into thin, diagonal ovals and add them to the pan with the salt and pepper. Stir gently for a couple of minutes to warm up the banana, add another splash of water if needed.
  6. Add the coconut milk and turn the heat down to simmer. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or a squeeze of lime if acidity is called for.
  7. Serve piled next to rice. Add a sprinkle of fresh coriander and some chilli flakes/slices for heat if you wish and enjoy!

Sunshine Soup

Sometimes in November a bowl of sunshine is just what is needed! Put our stunning root veg to use with this simple soup (or use up your Halloween pumpkins instead). We stock organic red lentils (in a compostable bag🙌) which gives this soup the most beautiful texture and provides protein, iron, potassium, folate, vitamin B1 and prebiotic fibre. Turmeric and black pepper are a delicious anti-inflammatory addition, and we have tins of organic coconut milk for a rich, creamy finish to the soup.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • 750g diced veg (I used carrot and swede this time but any root veg or pumpkins work well here)
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300g rinsed red lentils
  • 1500ml water (approx)
  • 1 tin coconut milk

Method

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion with the oil until it softens and starts to turn golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and diced vegetables, season well with salt, pepper and turmeric.
  3. Tip in the rinsed red lentils and cover generously with water. Stir then put the lid on the pot. Bring to a boil then immediately turn the heat down and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft (around 15-20 minutes). You should take the lid off and stir every 5 minutes to ensure there is no sticking or burning on the bottom of the pot. You may wish to add more water if the soup is looking a bit thick.
  4. Scrape in the coconut milk then blend until smooth with a hand held stick blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Then enjoy!

Swede, Kale & Coconut Dal with Curried Parsnip Fritters

A page from my illustrated cookbook, available to buy from Green Earth Organics shop here.

Dal and fritters are staples in our house. The dal is especially useful to have in your repertoire for those days when you are low on fresh veg just before your next veg box arrives. And of course bulking out a dal with whatever seasonal veg you have is always a good idea. I like to make it with a tin of coconut some days, usually in winter when the weather calls for something rich and creamy, and with a tin of tomato on other days when I want it lighter and tangy (as in the recipe illustration from my book above).

My fritters are not dissimilar to onion bhajis. Here with curry spices in the gram flour batter they go particularly well with the dal and you can add whatever shredded veg you have around – cauliflower, squash, carrot etc. Fritters also make great sandwich fillers or burger patty alternatives and of course they don’t have to be curry flavoured, add whatever herbs and spices you like to make them your own. I love courgette fritters with fresh herbs in the summer, squash chilli and sage in autumn, celeriac, preserved lemon and parsley…the possibilities are endless.

As always, let us know in the comments or over on our community Facebook group if you make this recipe. We love to see our recipes leave the screen. Don’t forget to share this blog with your friends and family.

Happy cooking! Liz x

Ingredients for the Dal

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • an onion or leek
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp each: brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, fenugreek, salt and chilli flakes or chopped green finger chilli to taste
  • 1 mug red split lentils
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • curry leaves (if you can get them fresh/frozen that’s best, if not dried is fine)
  • 1/2 a swede
  • a few handfuls of kale
  • lemon/lime juice

Ingredients for the Parsnip Fritters

  • 2 mugs of gram flour
  • 2 mugs of water
  • 1 tsp each: salt, pepper, nigella seeds, turmeric, curry leaves and chilli to taste
  • 3 parsnips
  • vegetable oil for frying

Method

Dice the onion or leek and soften it in a large pan on a medium high heat with the oil.

Add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir to toast them until fragrant. Then add the ground turmeric, ginger and fenugreek and stir to briefly toast for just a few seconds.

Add the mug of red lentils and the diced swede and stir to coat them in the spices. Then add the tin of coconut milk and two tins of water to the pan.

Season with salt and pepper and add the curry leaves (if you have them – buy online or at specialist Asian shops) and chilli flakes or chopped green finger chilli to infuse while the lentils and swede cook.

Bring the pot up to boil then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the lentils and swede are cooked through.

Meanwhile get the fritter mix ready. Whisk the gram flour, spices and water together into a smooth batter. Then grate the parsnips and add them to the batter. Stir well to coat all the grated parsnip with the batter.

Heat a frying pan with a generous slick of vegetable oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and fry whatever sized dollops of the fritter mix in the pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown on the outside and cooked through. It’s better to cook them slowly if they are large so that they don’t end up burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Raw gram flour batter can be a little bitter.

Stir chopped and rinsed kale through the dal about 10 minutes before serving. Serve the dal and fritters in bowls with Indian chutneys and optional rice, popadoms etc.

Jerk Jackfruit with Red Beans & Rice

I always keep a kitchen cupboard stocked with tins of beans, tomatoes, coconut milk and jackfruit. Having a repertoire of store-cupboard suppers is very useful when you are subscribed to a veg box delivery. Depending on what’s going on each week, sometimes I have a bit of fresh fruit and veg leftover when the new, weekly box arrives and sometimes I need to make a store-cupboard supper or two before it arrives and that’s totally fine! Especially with the range of brilliant, organic groceries at Green Earth Organics. What a luxury to be able to eat fresh, organic vegetables most days, and organic store-cupboard ingredients on other days!

Here’s one of our current store-cupboard staples, a spicy, Jamaican inspired jerk stew with the most delicious coconutty red beans and rice!

As always, please share your photos of your version of the recipe with our friendly community Facebook group. We love to see our recipes leave the blog! Liz x

Ingredients for the rice

Method

Put the rice, coconut milk and drained tin of beans into a small pot. Add the onion wedge and whole cloves and a pinch of salt. Add a mug of water then stir briefly to combine.

Bring the rice pot to the boil with the lid on, then immediately as it comes to the boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, leave the lid on, do not stir, and allow the rice to gently simmer and absorb all the liquid in the pot.

For white rice this only takes about 15-20 minutes, brown rice takes double that time. So if you are using brown rice, get it assembled and on to boil first, if you are using white rice, get the stew on first then the rice.

Ingredients for the stew

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • the rest of that onion – diced
  • 4 sticks of celery – diced
  • 1 red pepper – diced (optional – can switch with seasonal veg)
  • 4 carrots – diced
  • jerk seasoning – see below to make your own (about 4 tbsp)
  • scotch bonnet chilli (optional)
  • 2 tins of young jackfruit (drained)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

Sauté the onion, celery, pepper and carrot in a large pot with the vegetable oil. Once it starts to soften and colour, add the jerk seasoning and stir to coat the vegetables and toast the spices.

Add the jackfruit pieces, break them up as you add them to the pot, then season with salt and pepper.

Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, 2/3rds fill the tin with water and swirl that out into the pot too. If you like it spicy, you can drop in a whole scotch bonnet chilli or two at this stage too.

Give the stew a stir and pop the lid on and allow it to simmer while the rice cooks. Remove the lid and give it a stir every now and then to make sure it’s not sticking on the bottom.

Serve with wilted dark leafy greens or with wedges of roast squash like I have done in the video above.

Ingredients for jerk seasoning – mix together in a jar

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 tsp ground allspice (or mixed spice if you can’t find allspice)
  • 6 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 tsp smoked paprika