Banana Stuffed with Picadillo


People always think that Florida is known for its seafood options, but in Tampa Cuban fare reigns supreme.

While I started out dipping my toe into the shallow end of menu options at Cuban restaurants by ordering chicken and yellow rice - basically the Cuban equivalent to chicken fingers - I've now graduated to more mature dishes.

That's where this recipe comes in. I always order the picadillo stuffed in the plantain at our favorite spot, and decided to finally try making a lighter version for Andy and I. The verdict?

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Andy told me I could make this recipe every week and he would be perfectly content. I first made it a couple weeks ago, and then again this week because it's just that good.

The picadillo's slight heat pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the ripened banana, but is equally as delicious served over white rice. And scraped off the plate with Cuban bread, because bread.


Banana Stuffed with Picadillo

  • 4 ripe bananas*
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 1/4 cup brine from the green olives
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  1. In a hot skillet, saute your onion and garlic.
  2. Add in the ground beef and cooked until browned all the way through.
  3. Once fully cooked, add in the salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, tomatoes, tomato paste, olives, and brine.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the red wine vinegar.
  6. On a greased baking sheet, place your bananas. You will cut them in the center, leaving about an inch at either end that isn't sliced, so you can open your banana into the shape of an oval.
  7. Spoon the picadillo into the center of each banana.
  8. Sprinkle cheese over top of each banana.
  9. Broil until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. 

*If your banana isn't ripe, you can bake it at 300 degrees for 45 minutes to ripen it quickly,