Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Need a breakfast or brunch idea for the holiday season?
Our Plantain Pecan Bake is the perfect low histamine, low lectin recipe to pull together for a celebratory morning meal.
It’s simple to make, and only takes 20 minute to cook in the oven.
It’s also very versatile, so can easily be made low oxalate, low salicylate, or AIP compliant.
This recipe was created by Tracey. She and Luka sat down together so Luka could ask her some questions about how it was created.
Scroll down to watch a video + get the recipe!
About Tracey’s Plantain Pecan Bake Recipe
Luka: This recipe features plantains. What made you decide to add plantains?
Tracey: Plantains were never part of my diet growing up. I’d seen them in stores as an adult but ignored them for the most part.
After finishing my nutritional studies, I started eating a paleo or ancestral diet. This way of eating is low lectin, and I started seeing some improvements in my health.
I still didn’t know histamine was a problem for me then. All grains are replaced with healthier carbs in this type of eating, so exploring different healthy carbs was part of the process I went through. That’s when I started experimenting in my kitchen with plantains.
This recipe is one way I enjoy eating them. My family loves this meal. And plantains are great for your microbiome too.
Luka: Yes, it’s so important to explore the abundance of foods that are available to us, and all the different ways we can prepare it. Tell our audience more about the microbial piece. Why are plantains so good for our gut microbes?
Tracey: Sure. Plantains are a great source of resistant starch. As the name suggests, these starches resist digestion. That means we can’t digest them. This is great news for the microbes living in our gut. They love to feast on anything we can’t digest.
What’s really cool about resistant starch is that it preferentially feeds microbes that make a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate is really important for the health of our gut lining. It’s the fuel for our intestinal cells. So, by eating sources of resistant starch, you get to help your microbial community and your intestinal health. It’s a win-win.
Luka: I love it! Can everyone enjoy this food? So many people in our audience have issues with other food compounds like salicylates and oxalates.
Tracey: Mmm. Plantains are high in oxalates. But the good news is that they can easily be swapped out with Granny Smith apples, another healthy carb. And while apples aren’t a great source of resistant starch, they are high in pectin, which some of our gut microbes also really like.
Plus, they are a good source of quercetin, which is mast cell stabilizing. I did a recording of the Granny Smith version of this recipe. Find it at the bottom of this article.
Luka: Yeah. I’d encourage everyone to check that out. If you don’t have the cookbook yet, then definitely watch the video. You can get the book on our website’s book page.
So, we’ve been talking about plantains and gut health. What are some of the other ingredients?
Tracey: Well, Luka, you and I worked really hard to put the recipes together to support the histamine and mast cell piece, but also to be gut healthy, and nutrient dense. This recipe is no exception. It has zucchini, which is antihistaminic, turkey for bioavailable protein, pecans for healthy fats and minerals, a touch of maple syrup for flavor, and the meal gets finished off with a sprinkle of ground nigella seed. Nigella is really well researched and known for its ability to inhibit histamine release from mast cells.
Luka: It’s also known as kalonji, black cumin or just black seed. It has a pleasant oniony flavor. We feature it in many of our recipes for that reason.
You can find it in some grocery stores in the International Food aisles, or at grocery stores that cater to an Indian / South-East Asian community.
Health food stores often carry it, or in Canada you can order it online from sites like The Light Cellar in Calgary, or OM Foods in Nelson BC. It’s such a great addition to a low histamine approach.
You mentioned turkey for protein. Could you replace that with a plant protein like chickpeas?
Tracey: (laughs) I know why you are asking that question. You and I are in agreement on this. Plant proteins like legumes and grains are high in lectins, which can trigger mast cells. They aren’t high in histamine, but histamine isn’t the only chemical that can trigger mast cells. Lectins is another one—that’s why our recipes are all low lectin in addition to being low histamine.
So no, I wouldn’t recommend you swap out the turkey for plant protein. Plus, research shows that plant sources of protein aren’t as bioavailable as animal sources, so when we talk about nutrient density, animal foods are our best sources.
Unless there are religious reasons for not eating meat, I would encourage people with histamine and mast cell issues to include meat in their diet, not only for the bioavailable protein but for other nutrients that are hard to come by in a plant-based diet. Think vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins D3 and A.
When I say A, I mean the preformed version of vitamin A called retinol. Conversion rates of beta-carotene to retinol are pretty crappy. We talk about that in our book.
Luka: Let’s focus in on B12 for a bit—it’s one of the nutrients that support methylation. Why don’t we wrap up this conversation with a bit about B12. Tell everyone why it’s so important when you have histamine stuff going on.
Tracey: For sure. Methylation is a biochemical process that happens in our cells all the time. But most importantly in the histamine conversation it is one of the pathways that we need to have functioning really well to clear histamine from the body. Methylation relies on B12, plus B6 and folate as well. We need these nutrients to be able to metabolize histamine in the liver so that our bodies can get rid.
Luka: So, if we go back to the turkey in this recipe, the B12 in the turkey will help move out spent histamine, but a plant-based protein wouldn’t have B12 to carry out this important function.
Luka: Okay, so that’s a little bit about some of the ingredients in Tracey’s Plantain Pecan Bake, and why she chose the ingredients that she did. We hope you enjoy it this holiday season.
Happy Holiday Season!
Luka & Tracey
1 lb (450 g) turkey breast tenders
3 medium zucchini (roughly 750 g)
3 granny smith apples or 2 plantain
1 cup (125 g) pecans
1 clove garlic
Avocado oil (suggest Chosen Foods or Primal Kitchen brand – I find many others are rancid) Maple syrup
Makes enough for 2 sheet pans to go in to the oven. Can easily be halved!
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