I’ve been to the Dominican Republic. Not the touristy spots but the REAL Domincan Republic. A group of us went down for Engineers Without Borders to design and raise funds to build a hydroelectric generator for a small, remote village that the government refused to supply power to. During our trip, we stayed at a retreat center where Dominican women cooked us authentic meals from scratch. This one, right here, was everyone’s favorite. It has taken me 4 years to find a recipe but I finally did here. Despite a burning desire to do so, I restrained from putting peanut butter in this recipe since it was my first attempt. Did I put some peanut butter on top and taste it together? Yes. Will I be incorporating peanut butter next time? Absolutely.


6 very ripe plantains*
2 Tbsp butter or equivalent
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (??? – untested!)
1/4 cup milk, plus more as needed
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used 75% Cabot Cheddar)
1 lb lean ground beef, turkey or pork
2 tsp of oil
2 Tbsp of tomato paste
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
kosher salt
ground pepper

*Note: How do you know if your plantains are ripe enough? There should be at least this many brown spots:


1. Chop the plantains into sections (leave the skin on) and place in a large pot with 1 tsp salt. Fill the pot with water until the plantains are covered. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp olive oil, then add the garlic, onions, red pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook through, about 5-7 minutes. Drain the grease and add 1/4 cup water along with the tomato paste and salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.

3. When the plantains are bright yellow and very tender (stab with a fork to test), remove them from the pot and place in a large bowl. Peel and mash them with the back of a fork, then add the butter, peanut butter (if you’re feeling adventurous) and 1/4 cup milk. Mix until smooth, adding more milk as necessary. You want the plantains to be creamy enough to spread, but stiff enough to hold their shape – similar to mashed potatoes.

4. Spread half of the plantain mixture evenly on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Then distribute the beef mixture on top, followed by the rest of the plantains and top with cheese.

5. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, then switch the oven to broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is browned and crispy.

Additional Info:

First – you must make this dish, it’s phenomenal. Second – if you make it with peanut butter, you must tell me!

Filed in Main Course, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butterless

11 Responses / Leave a comment »

  1. shannon says:

    plantains turn black when they’re ripe! i just tried a dish like this and it was fantastic, can’t wait to try it at home :) we’ll see if i add the pb!

    • Nick says:

      Yes they do, but you only need a few brown spots to make this dish, it will still turn out sweet! Besides, if they are too ripe, they will be too mushy and won’t hold their shape. If you add the pb, let me know!

  2. melissa says:

    Sounds like a wonderful experience for both you and the people you were helping!!
    I bet this tasted good. Plaintains are similar to bananas, afterall. :) Did you really make it with bananas!?
    And peanut butter is good in savory dishes!

    • Nick says:

      We had an incredible time in the DR, and it was very rewarding, personally and culinarily =]

      No, I used plantains! What made you think I used bananas?

  3. Ashley Tiseo says:

    Will SO be making this for me and Joe for dinner :-)

  4. Aunt Clara says:

    It seems like you have a PB obsession. Have you talked to your doctor about that? :)

    Yours look very yummy, but I can honestly say it would have never occurred to me to add PB, but hey! de gustibus and all that.

    • Nick says:

      Haha, no my doctor does not know my dark little secret…

      I can honestly say that it would never have occurred to ANYone else in the world besides me. I’m special =).

  5. I’ve been frying plantains in coconut oil lately and thats really tasty!

    Any update on that secret project I was helping you determine?

  6. Evan Lovett says:

    this looks awesome and def would be awesome with PB

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