An authentic recipe for Guineos en Escabeche that makes a colorful & flavorful side dish or appetizer. These pickled green bananas are marinated with sautéed onion, peppers, whole spices, olives, vinegar and oil. This unique Puerto Rican dish brings a bright zesty flavor unlike any other!

a bowl of guineos en escabeche

If you’re skeptical about the concept of pickled green bananas, I’m here to change your mind! These marinated green bananas are a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine for good reason.

The unique starchy texture of boiled green bananas is paired with a super bright & flavorful marinade (the escabeche) that’s loaded with sautéed onions, colorful peppers, garlic, & spices.

If you love pickled things, this recipe is for you!

a bowl of guineos en escabeche

This version of Guineos en Escabeche uses a blend of colorful fresh bell peppers, but you’ll often find this recipe made with a can of roasted red peppers instead. I find that the fresh peppers and fresh cilantro add a brightness and depth of flavor that’s fabulous paired with the super savory pickling liquid.

This pickled banana dish is traditionally served as an appetizer or side dish as the bright, zippy flavors compliment many other Puerto Rican recipes well.

Whether it’s these pinchos de pollo, fried sweet plantains, or arroz con gandules, Puerto Rican cuisine is all about big flavors!

bowls of vinegar, oil, olives, and more

What You’ll Need

  • green bananas
  • salt
  • white vinegar
  • oil (avocado, olive, etc.) 
  • onion (white, yellow or red), julienned 
  • red bell pepper, julienned
  • yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • green pepper (bell, poblano, jalapeño, etc.), julienned
  • peppercorns 
  • bay leaves 
  • garlic, minced or grated
  • pimento olives, halved 
  • cilantro, minced

Find the full ingredient list with exact quantities in the recipe card below.

Step by Step Instructions

Important: Be sure to use bowls and pans that are nonreactive to vinegar. Avoid materials like aluminum, copper, and iron. I recommend using glass, ceramic, and/or stainless steel.

These pickled green bananas will keep for up to 1 week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

A Note on Reactive Cookware

You may have noticed the (many) warnings about using non-reactive cookware in this recipe. It’s a really important call-out that could ruin your entire dish if ignored.

Reactive cookware is typically made of one of the three materials: aluminum, copper, or iron.

When you cook with vinegar, or any highly acidic ingredient (like tomatoes, lemon juice, or other citrus juices) in reactive cookware, the materials can leech into the food. This can cause damage to the cookware and create a metallic off-putting taste in your food.

I’ve made this mistake before with an aluminum bowl and a salad dressing that was heavy on the apple cider vinegar. The result was a truly strange vinaigrette, that had an undesired undertone of aluminum.

All this to say, it’s important to cook with non-reactive materials when using vinegar. I like using All-Clad pots & pans, and glass Pyrex bowls. But you could use whatever you have in your kitchen.

Just be sure to avoid any pots, pans, or bowls made from copper, aluminum, or iron when cooking with acidic ingredients.

a spoonful of guineos en escabeche

What to Serve Alongside

As mentioned above, these pickled green bananas work really well served with other Puerto Rican dishes.

Here are some of my favorite recipes to serve with them:

Variations in the Escabeche

There are many variations to this recipe across Puerto Rico and even here in the states. The main differences usually shine when it comes to the escabeche (marinade), which is what gives the green bananas their flavor.

Here are some ideas:

  • Boil the bananas with their skins – some recipes will call for boiling the bananas with their skins on before peeling and chopping – this method works great but will require a longer cook time
  • Skip the olives – if you’re not into olives, they can easily be left out of this recipe. There’s still tons of flavor thanks to the vinegar, spices, onions and peppers.
  • Skip the peppers or use a can of roasted red peppers (and slice them) instead of fresh peppers. Note that you won’t need to sauté them with the onions and can instead add them when instructed to add the olives. You can also skip the peppers entirely and only use onions if desired.
  • Add spices – use whatever spices you’d like to shine through! I’ve tried a few pinches or sazon or adobo and really enjoyed the added flavor. You could also use cumin or oregano.
  • Sweeten your pickles: I’ve never been a sweet pickle kind of girl, but if you’re into that idea, you can add a spoonful of sugar to your pan just before adding the oil and vinegar, for a fun sweet and savory pickle effect.
a bowl of guineos en escabeche

If you enjoy guineos en escabeche, you probably love plantains! If you’ve got time, definitely check out this short list of some of my favorite plantain recipes:

Buen Provecho,

Salima written in cursive
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a bowl of guineos en escabeche

Guineos en Escabeche (Pickled Green Bananas)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Snack, Appetizer, Side Dish
  • Method: Boiled, Sauteed
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Latin, Caribbean
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

An authentic recipe for Guineos en Escabeche that makes a colorful & flavorful side dish or appetizer. These pickled green bananas are marinated with sautéed onion, peppers, whole spices, olives, vinegar and oil. This unique Puerto Rican dish brings a bright zesty flavor unlike any other!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 68 green bananas
  • 1 tbsp salt + 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar + 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oil + 1 cup oil (avocado, olive, etc.)
  • 1 small onion (white, yellow or red), julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 green pepper (bell, poblano, jalapeño, etc.), julienned
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/3 cup pimento olives, halved
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced


Instructions

  1. Peel & slice green bananas. Peel the bananas and slice into 1 inch rounds.
  2. Boil the bananas with salt & vinegar. Add the bananas to a pot (see note) and cover with water. Season the water with 1 tbsp salt and a quarter cup of vinegar. Boil until the bananas are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Cool the bananas. Transfer the bananas to a bowl (see note) filled with ice water to chill for a few minutes. Strain out the water and ice, leaving the bananas in the cold bowl. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator.
  4. Sauté the onion & peppers. Warm a tablespoon of oil in a pan (see note) over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Season the escabeche marinade. To the vegetables add the rest of the salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, until the garlic is fragrant, before adding the rest of the oil and vinegar. Bring to a simmer before turning off the heat completely. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes.
  6. Combine bananas & marinade. Pour the marinade over the bananas in the chilled bowl. Add the olives and cilantro and toss everything together gently, coating the bananas with the marinade.
  7. Chill then enjoy. Cover the bowl and transfer to the fridge to let everything marinate together. Chill for 1 hour or over night. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Important: Be sure to use bowls and pans that are nonreactive to vinegar. Avoid materials like aluminum, copper, and iron. I recommend using glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.
  • Storage: These pickled green bananas will keep for up to 1 week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.