Guineos en Escabeche is a delicious pickled unripe green banana salad that is perfect year-round and is very easy to make.
What is Guineos?
The word “Guineos” is in many instances used throughout the Caribbean Islands (mainly Puerto Rico) to refer to “bananas”. But, these aren’t your regular Chiquita brand bananas; they are a little smaller in size compared to the Chiquita bananas. However, size is the only difference between the two.
These also should not be confused with plantains (plátanos). Plantains have a lot more starch and used in many different dishes than its counterpart guineos.
For example, unripe green plantains are usually flattened and fried; called tostones and here’s our quick and easy tostones recipe just in case your interested!
What is Escabeche?
Guineos? Escabeche? Yea… I know, Caribbean lingo very confusing. Simply put, it is a dish (fish, meat, or sometimes vegetables) marinated in an acidic mixture.
In the Caribbean Islands, it is collectively prepared with vinegar (white or apple cider), onion, and garlic. Carrots and scotch bonnet peppers are used commonly in a similar Jamaican dish called Escovitch Fish. Also, A red snapper is the star of the dish and is usually marinated in the vegetable mixture overnight.
Comparably, a Puerto Rican dish called Pescado en Escabeche is prepared almost the same besides using minor ingredient differences.
This process of preservation and is very similar to pickling onions – those nice pink colored onions in the pictures above.
I personally made a small batch of pickled onions to use as a garnish since I enjoy crunchy textured onions more than what this recipe calls for. Its pretty simple – just cut up a separate red onion into thin slices, place into a glass mason jar, and pour some of the escabeche over the onions. You can literally see the onions turn pink while it sits in the refrigerator. Serve as garnish after making your dish.
Traditionally, Guineos en Escabeche calls for chicken gizzards, but I personally am not a fan of chicken gizzards and added avocado and cilantro for a more fresh tasting dish.
Trust me, it tastes AMAZING with the added avocado and cilantro. Here in Florida, we have Choquette avocados at almost all stores and is larger than the Hass avocados. I like using them over the Hass avocados because they are less mushy while mixing with the Guineos en Escabeche.
Guineos en Escabeche (Pickled Unripe Green Bananas)
- 10 whole green bananas unripe
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 whole red onion half-moon slices
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 8 whole spanish olives
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 avocado optional
- cilantro for garnish
First, prepare the escabeche by heating a large sized saucepan to stovetop medium heat. Pour in a little bit of olive oil for sautéing. Toss in the half moon sliced red onion and minced garlic after the pan is ready. Sauté the mixture for 3-5 minutes while continuously stirring.
Slowly pour in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Add in the spanish olives, bay leaves, 1 tsp salt, and the black peppercorns. Stir the mixture around and reduce the heat to simmer. Set aside for 50 minutes.
Heat a large pot to medium-high heat. Cut the tips of the unripe bananas and add to your large pot with the skin still on. Add water to your large pot slightly covering the bananas. Add the other 1 tsp of salt into the water. Remove bananas from the water when the skin begins to split. Then, peel the skin off of the bananas when they cool off.
Finally, cut the bananas into 1-inch slices and place into a large food storage (preferably glass). Pour escabeche over the sliced bananas and mix in the avocados. Store in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving.