If you’re looking to mix things up, there are a number of fruits that you can substitute for bananas. Many of these fruits are tropical, and although they look or taste like bananas, they each have their own unique taste and smell and can be served on their own or included in your cooking.
Plantains are so similar to bananas that they are often mistaken for them. Unlike bananas, plantains are very low in sugar and have a starchy taste. They are also meant to be cooked and should not be eaten raw. Plantains usually resemble green bananas but may also appear black. Plantains grow in warm climates such as India or the Caribbean. They have a thicker skin than bananas and are usually longer.
Jackfruit does not resemble a banana but does have a similar taste. Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit and can weigh up to 100 lbs., although it is usually much smaller. The raw pulp tastes like bananas and its seeds can be boiled and then eaten. You may have difficulty finding jackfruit in a North American supermarket, but Asian grocery stores often stock it fresh and canned.
Also called Mexican breadfruit, Monstera Deliciouso, often simply called Monstera, resembles a scaled green banana. The taste and odor is a combination of banana and pineapple, with a pulp that is creamy and white. The fruit is unsuitable to eat before it ripens. This fruit is native to Central America and can be extremely hard to find, but can be found in the south of Florida.
The pawpaw is a tropical fruit that is native to North America. The taste is a combination of banana, pineapple and fresh cream and has a smooth texture. The outside of this fruit is green and turns yellow as it ripens. The inside is yellow with easy to remove pips. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked, though it loses much of its flavor when it’s cooked. This fruit is very perishable and can’t last more than two days at room temperature.
References and ResourcesThe Cook's Thesaurus; Exotic Tropical Fruit; Lori Alden
Fruits Info: Monstera Deliciouso
Grab 'em Snacks; What is a Plantain?; 2009
Canada Gardens: The Pawpaw