Guineos en escabeche is a marinaded green banana side dish that’s very popular in Puerto Rico. So popular in fact that the English name is simply Puerto Rican green bananas. Guienitos are often served for special occasions around the holidays but I find them tasty and refreshing as a summer side dish as well.
How to make guineos en escabeche
You won’t go wrong making guineos en escabeche in advance. The green bananas definitely benefit from having extra time to absorb the escabeche flavor. And it’s always a bonus to be able prep some side dishes ahead of time when you’re cooking up a feast.
The process of preparing guineos en escabeche is quite simple. The unripe bananas are peeled, sliced, and boiled over medium-high heat in salted water until fork-tender. About 10 minutes. You don’t want banana mush.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the escabeche marinade. Peel the garlic and onions, cut the onion into thin slices. Combine the oil and vinegar, onion and garlic, bay leaves, salt, olives, and peppercorns into a large pot.
Cook it slowly over low heat. You want it warm but not boiling.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. After 5 minutes or so, check the bananas for softness. When they are ready, strain the bananas and place them in the ice water to cool and stop cooking. Strain the bananas again d place them in a non-reactive bowl. Think glass, ceramic or stainless steel.
Fill the water bowl up again with ice water. Once the onions are soft hold the bottom of the pot in the ice water and stir the escabeche to quickly cool.
Next, pour the escabeche over the cooked bananas. Yum. But wait. Now is not the time to eat this. As I said, the escabeche de guineos tastes best after some quality time in the refrigerator absorbing flavors. Give it at least a couple of hours, but preferably overnight.
What is in guineos en escabeche?
- green unripe bananas
- white vinegar
- olive oil
- Spanish olives
- roasted peppers
- bay leaves
- whole peppercorns
- kosher salt
How green do the bananas need to be?
Honestly, to make guineos en escabeche the bananas need to be very green. They should not have any hint of yellow or ripening at all. As in so green you probably won’t be able to find them in a typical American grocery store. But don’t worry, they are likely to be stocked at your local Asian or Latin market.
How to peel a green banana
The green bananas used in guineos en escabeche are very similar to plantains. I have a nice instructional post over at the Pioneer Woman which explains the peeling process in detail, Plantains 101, everything you need to know.
Basically, you treat the green banana like a green plantain. First you slice the ends off and then you slice the peel on the seams, be careful not to slice into the flesh of the banana.
Because green bananas have a lot of slimy residue, try peeling them under running water.
What is escabeche?
Escabeche is a flavorful oil and vinegar marinade infused with pickling spices like bay leaves and peppercorns. And it isn’t just for bananas. Though guineos en escabeche is a popular dish, this staple Puerto Rican concoction is usually associated with seafood dishes.
However, in Puerto Rico many other foods are served escabeche style. Some of my favorite escabeche dishes are Yuca en escabeche, red snapper in escabeche, and I have a chicken wings in escabeche recipe that is delicious.
more Puerto Rican recipes you’ll love
Include some more Puerto Rican flavors on your dinner table! Try some of these traditional recipes:
- Habichuelas Guisadas | Puerto Rican Beans
- Bacalao a la Vizcaina (Basque Style Stewed Salted Cod)
- Ensalada de Bacalao (Salted Cod Salad)
- Yuca en Escabeche | Cassava in Olive Oil & Vinegar
- Pastelon (Puerto Rican Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
- Sopa de Pollo con Fideo (Chicken Noodle Soup)
- Spanish Bean Soup
- Asopao de Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice Soup)
- Asopao de Camarones
As always you can find tons of delicious PR dishes in my Puerto Rican recipe collection.
- 8 green unripe bananas
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 small heads of garlic
- 12 Spanish olives, halved
- 1/2 cup roasted peppers, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 whole peppercorns
- kosher salt
- Peel and slice the bananas at a slight bias about a 1/2 inch thick. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. You should be able to taste the salt in the water. Lower the heat of the water to a rolling boil. Add the sliced green bananas and boil until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
- After 5 minutes or so, check the bananas for softness. When they are ready, strain the bananas and place them in the ice water to cool and stop cooking. Strain the bananas again d place them in a non-reactive bowl.
- While the bananas boil prepare the escabeche marinade. In a medium sized non-reactive pot combine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, onions, and bay leaf, and peppercorn. Bring to a simmer and cook until the onions are tender about 15 mins.
- Fill the water bowl up again with ice water. Once the onions are soft hold the bottom of the pot in the ice water and stir the escabeche to quickly cool.
- Pour the escabeche over the cooked bananas. Add olives and pimentos and toss until well combined. Season the bananas with kosher salt to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
Marinaded bananas can be kept covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 502Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 158mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 6gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g