Are you ready for your mind to be blown? Yes? Then check out this recipe for vegan pulled pork sandwiches using banana peels! Don’t believe it? Well, I didn’t either until I tried it and I can tell you that it’s actually really good!
It turns out that Venezuelan vegans have been keeping a big secret from us. They’ve been using plantain peels to veganize their cow dish called carne mechada for years and they didn’t bother to tell us about it! Look here!
Carne mechada is a kind of shredded beef that sort of resembles pulled pork. To veganize it, they boil plantain peels then shred them with a fork. Some recipes marinate the peels in soy sauce and spices before frying them up with onion and tomato.
The brilliant Chef Jana also noticed that peels can be shredded into a meat-like substitute but in this video she uses banana peels to make pulled pork sandwiches. I was super sceptical about it but brave enough to try it. Turns out it works!
You are probably just as sceptical as I was about banana peels so let me put your mind at rest: no, they are not bitter and no it doesn’t taste like banana. The trick is to choose bananas that are not quite ripe yet as the peels are firmer and thicker, and scrape out the white skin part from the inside.
And don’t worry, banana peels are perfectly edible. You can google that.
In developing this recipe I wanted to test out both plantain and banana peels. I prefer the banana peels, they’re softer, easier to work with and cook more quickly.
Of course you should choose organic bananas for this and be sure to wash them really well. If you want you can soak the bananas in a water-vinegar solution to try to get them as clean as possible before starting.
Once you’ve cleaned the peels, simply shred them with a fork. I first tested this recipe the way that Chef Jana does it by simply frying the shredded peels in barbecue sauce but I felt that it needed a little something extra.
I mixed together a quick pulled pork-style spice mix and marinated the peels in it while I prepared my vegan coleslaw. The smoked paprika gives the peels an extra smokiness (obviously) and the chili powder gives it a nice kick.
Once your coleslaw is done the only thing left to do is cook the shredded banana peels. Simply toss them in a pan and add a few splashes of water to help them steam and tenderize.
They don’t take too long to cook but the cooking time is variable depending on how ripe your bananas are. The riper they are the faster they cook so you should taste them after a couple of minutes to see where they are.
You do not want to undercook them or else you won’t be able to bite through your sandwich and that’s unpleasant. You don’t want to overcook them either or they will start to turn to mush so be careful. Generally speaking they’ll need about five minutes.
Once you’re happy with the texture, add a dollop of your favourite vegan barbecue sauce and give it just another minute to incorporate the flavours before taking it off the heat.
Give it one more minute to cool before piling it onto your bun and topping with your vegan coleslaw. That’s it! Who knew that something so delicious could be made from something that we normally throw away?!?!
Wanna see how to make this Banana Peel Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich? Watch the video and share it on Facebook (read the comments tho, lol!):
Banana Peel Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich
- 2 medium organic bananas firm and not quite ripe (mine still had tinges of green around the stem and bottom)
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- A few splashes of water
- 2 tablespoons vegan barbecue sauce
- A pinch of salt
- Vegan coleslaw
- 1 bun
- Wash the bananas well.
- Slice the top and bottom off the bananas remove the peels. Scrape the white part off the inside of the peels with a spoon.
- Shred the peels with a fork and cut them into 2 to 3 inch-long pieces. Transfer to a bowl and add the olive oil, paprika, chili powder, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin. Mix well and set aside to marinate while you prepare your coleslaw.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add the shredded banana peels. Add a small splash of water to help them steam and tenderize.
- The cooking time will depend on how ripe your bananas are (the riper they are the faster they cook) so start tasting after a couple of minutes. It’s important that they are tender enough to bite through but not so overcooked that they turn to mush. They should be done in around 5 - 10 minutes more or less.
- Add the barbecue sauce and give them another 30 seconds to a minute more to incorporate the flavour. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool for a minute.
- Pile the banana peels on your bun and top with your coleslaw. Serve immediately.
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