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Banana Peel Carnitas Recipe

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Get ready for a yummy banana peel recipe. Banana peel carnitas are spiced with delicious herbs, spices, and citrus. Tasty and easy to make, carnitas are perfect in tacos, burrito bowls, or taco salads. This recipe will make you rethink banana peels forever!

Shredded banana peels

Can you eat banana peels?

Yep. I wouldn’t be writing this blog post if you couldn’t. Before you think I’m totally insane for creating a banana peel recipe, let me just say, I was completely skeptical too. I actually created this recipe as part of a personal challenge I was undertaking for Earth Day 2021 (watch the video below). I’d seen banana peel recipes on Instagram, and was not at all interested. But knowing that food waste is just plain bad for Mother Earth, and a third of food available in the United States goes to waste––not including waste products like banana peels––I knew I had to give it a go. 

It doesn’t taste like banana

Banana peels don’t taste like banana, they don’t taste much like anything, but they do have a chewy slightly meaty texture when cooked. 

Eating banana peels is by no means a new trend. Actually, cultures around the world have eaten the banana peel for generations in everything from chutneys to curries to a Brazilan “meat” called casca louca de banana

Now that I’ve eaten banana peels, I’m annoyed that I wasted the peel for all these years. Banana peels are an edible part of the fruit that we waste. And with every banana peel that is thrown into the garbage or compost, we’re wasting nutrients and money. 

If you’re not ready to eat the banana peel, check out my list of other ways to use this valuable food “scrap, below.

Why you should eat banana peels

  • Save valuable produce from ending up in the landfill
  • They’re nutritious 
  • Can be used in many recipes and cuisine types, sweet and savory
  • Prepared well, are delicious and have a nice, almost meaty texture
  • A budget friendly meat substitute

Banana Peel Carnitas Recipe

Banana peel nutrition

Banana peels, like the skins of many fruits, are very nutrient dense. They contain additional fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and magnesium. Bananas and banana peels also contain tryptophan which may help improve your mood.

Bananas are sprayed with pesticides, so be sure to wash the fruit well with a mild natural soap and water before consuming. You can also buy organic bananas, though you should wash those too. 

Bananas peels are difficult to eat raw, slightly bitter, and contain a latex on the inside of the peel. When you cook banana peels you soften the skin and remove the bitterness. 

If you have a latex allergy, banana skins may not be for you. 

Banana Peel Carnitas Recipe

How do you prepare a banana peel?

As you see in my video, there is a little preparation required before cooking the banana peel. If you’re making a smoothie or banana bread, you can blend the banana whole, without any preparation––aside from removing the tough ends.

If you are using banana peels in a recipe, you should use a spoon to scrape out the inner flesh stuck to the skin. 

For this banana peel carnitas recipe, I use a fork to shred the peel. This takes a little time, but it’s quite easy. 

Banana peels

What else can you do with banana peels?

Before we get to my carnitas recipe, I’d like to lay out a few other ways you can use banana peels. Leave a comment below to let me know if you’ve tried any of these!

  • Add to smoothie
  • Add to banana bread. Blend the whole ripe banana (cut off hard ends), and add to recipe like you normally would.
  • Fertilize your plants with minced banana peel––bury in the soil of outdoor plants––or banana peel water––soak banana peels in water overnight and use. 
  • Rub the inner part of the peel on your skin to stop itching, lighten scars, and treat acne
  • Whiten your teeth by rubbing the inner part of the peel on your teeth daily
  • Candied with sugar 
  • Add to homemade granola

 

Banana Peel Carnitas Recipe

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Notes on this banana peel recipe

Use yellow bananas that are not fully ripened for this recipe. There should be a little bit of green at the ends, but the whole banana should not be green. 

You have to open 4-6 bananas to make this carnitas banana peel recipe. Freeze the flesh or use it to bake something right away. Frozen bananas are great for adding to smoothies, or making Banana Nice Cream.

The flesh scraped off of the banana peel can be added to a smoothie or oatmeal. Just be sure to use it right away, because it will oxidize and turn dark grey/brown.

Accumulated banana peels can stay fresh in the fridge for about 24 hours before oxidizing too much, and becoming difficult to shred.

4.72 from 50 votes

Banana Peel Carnitas

By: Jenné
Use yellow bananas with green-ish tips for this recipe. Overripe bananas are not a good option. Save those for banana bread (yes, you can add the skin).
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients 

  • 6 banana peels
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, from 1 fresh orange
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos

Instructions 

  • Remove both ends––the stem and the bottom–– from the banana.
  • Use a spoon to scoop the fibrous flesh from the inner part of each banana peel.
  • Use a fork to shred the peel into long strips.
  • Warm a large pot over medium heat, and add oil. Once the oil is warm add the onions, garlic, and jalapeño pepper. Sauté until onions are soft.
  • Add the banana peel, followed by the oregano, cumin, sea salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  • Squeeze the orange into the pot (being careful to catch any seeds), along with soy sauce then stir again.
  • Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat, and cover the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the banana peels are tender and tasty. Season to taste with more soy sauce or sea salt if needed.
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Jenne

I’m a Georgia Peach living in Los Angeles (by way of NYC), with an insatiable love of sweet potatoes, travel, animals, and cooking. On Sweet Potato Soul you’ll discover hundreds of delicious and easy-to-make vegan recipes.

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27 Comments

  1. Banana peel is delicious and easy to make. It’s perfect when you want something sweet and cold, but you don’t want ice cream.

  2. It was so unusual that I had to try this recipe and found it to be good. It passed the meat-eater test, he also rated this as good. I modified the recipe just a little by using olive oil instead of the grapeseed oil and substituted a product called No Soy (Whole Foods) for the soy sauce in order to reduce the sodium level. Also, the jalapeno pepper flavor was lost so I will use jarred tomatillo sauce in the future. One warning for those who have a smooth top cutting board; slicing the peel on this surface will leave a stain that will have to be scrubbed out with a smooth cooktop cleaner.

  3. These were some of the best tacos I’ve ever tried, so much flavor! I was skeptical since I don’t like bananas, but I could eat the peels all the time.

  4. Just tried the banana peel carnitas recipe, added aminos instead of soy sauce, added a little garlic powder, no orange juice so I just added lime juice. Added three chopped baby portobello mushrooms. Ate the entire skillet without making a single taco. It was really delicious. I couldn’t believe it! I had planned to take it for my lunch tomorrow, but they are gone. Next time I may add a pinch of cayenne pepper. My bananas were more ripe than the recipe recommended, which made scrapping the inside a little more delicate. It didn’t look appealing after I cut them, but the end result was really tasty. I didn’t mind the slight chewy texture. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’m now about to make your collard green and sweet potato biscuits recipe, which I love.

    1. Amazing! I’m so glad you liked it too. Everyone is skeptical until they give this recipe a try. I love that you added mushrooms too.
      Enjoy the other recipes too!

  5. Wow! I would never have thought of this. Would love if you could make a video or blogpost on cooking different greens. Mustard, collard etc. I can never get them right. TIA

  6. Wow this is never something I would think of cooking, but this looks so good. I may have to try it soon (especially because I eat so many bananas!)

    1. This looks super fascinating! Never imagined eating cooked banana peels was a thing!
      Appreciate all the other uses you mentioned as well.