Guineos en escabeche is a pickled green banana side dish that is very popular in Puerto Rico. This dish is often served for special occasions around the holidays, and they also make a great summer side dish with grilled chicken or seafood.
Guineos en escabache is a dish that always transports me to the holidays or family parties. It’s a dish that I always request when I visit my family in the Bronx, as my uncle Richie is the reigning king of this recipe. You can often find this recipe made with chicken gizzards as an addition ingredient, but if that’s not your cup of tea, that’s perfectly fine. The green bananas alone are delicious.
Are green bananas okay to eat?
Absolutely! Guineos verdes, or green bananas are exactly what they sound like…unripe bananas, and they’re SO good, but you can’t eat them raw lie you would a yellow banana. They’re not commonly eaten in American culture, but in the Caribbean, green bananas are as ubiquitous as boiled potatoes. I love going to Guavate, the official roasted pork-capital of Puerto Rico, and eating some delicious lechon with boiled green bananas on the side, with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. They’re starchy and have wonderful toothsome texture when boiled.
How To Make Guineos En Escabeche
First thing’s first, we have to make the escabeche sauce that we will use to marinate the cooked green bananas in. It’s a very simple warm dressing made with olive oil, vinegar, black peppercorns, bay leaves and slices onions. You can definitely taste the influence of Spanish culture in guineos en escabeche.
Escabeche refers to a technique, rather than a specific dish. Typically, it involves some sort of meat or fish (or sometimes root vegetables like yuca or cooked green bananas), marinated and/or cooked in an acidic mixture (vinegar) and sometimes colored with pimenton (Spanish paprika) or saffron.
The word derives from al-sikbaj, the name of a popular ancient Persian meat dish cooked in a sweet-and-sour sauce, usually vinegar and honey or date molasses. It’s believed that Spain and Portugal were introduced to the al-sikbaj dish during the Moorish conquests between 790 and 1300 AD. This technique has spread all over the world, in many different forms – The Phillippines has adobo, Jamaica has escoveitch, and many Latin American countries have a world-wide fave called ceviche.
To make the sauce, you bring the olive oil up to a gentle simmer, add the sliced onions, vinegar, black peppercorns, bay leaves & salt, and cook it until the onions are soft but not browned. Then once the bananas are cooked, you drain the bananas and pour the escabeche sauce over the top, mix to combine, and then marinate them for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
More Puerto Rican recipes from Delish D’Lites
- Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice with Pigeon Peas)
- Slow Cooker Pernil (Puerto Rican Roasted Pork Shoulder)
- Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)
- Chicharrones De Pollo (Puerto Rican Fried Chicken)
- Puerto Rican Pasteles De Yuca
- Pollo En Escabeche (Puerto Rican Pickled Chicken)
- Carne Bif (Puerto Rican Stewed Corned Beef)
Guineos En Escabeche (Puerto Rican Green Banana Salad)
Guineos en escabeche is a pickled green banana side dish that is very popular in Puerto Rico. This dish is often served for special occasions.
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup white or apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- 20 whole black peppercorns
- 3 dried bay leaves or 1 fresh
- 1 large Spanish (yellow) onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
- 6 green bananas peeled and sliced into ½ inch thick rounds
- salt & pepper to taste
Peel the green bananas and slice them into rings.
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pot. Add a large pinch of salt. Add the peeled and sliced green bananas and until cooked through & fork tender, about 10 minutes.
While the bananas cook, pour the olive oil into a sauce pan. Heat on low (simmer), then add the onions and garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Cook on simmer ( you don't want the onions or garlic to brown at all, just soften). This should take 5-7 minutes. Add the vinegar & turn the heat off.
Drain the cooked bananas and add them to a glass or plastic container. Pour the escabeche sauce over the bananas and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and sadd salt and pepper, if needed.
Cover and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.