Is banana blossom the next big vegan meat alternative?

Big up banana blossom! This southeast Asian flower has the texture of fish.
Published 10 July, 2019

What is banana blossom?

With people increasingly considering a vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian lifestyle, there’s a rising demand for meat-free alternatives.

First, there was jackfruit, which closely resembles pulled pork. Check out this amazing pulled jackfruit burger!

And now, banana blossom has burst onto the scene as a rising star in the world of plant-based diets. So what is it exactly?

Banana blossom is a purple-skinned flower that grows at the end of a bunch of bananas. The petals are fleshy and soft, and the blossoms look similar to an artichoke heart. When cooked, the chunky, flaky texture resembles fish.  

They are consumed as a vegetable in many Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

According to a 2016 study published in open-access journal Cholesterol, banana blossoms have “tremendous nutritional value and are a rich source of dietary fibre and [...] vitamin C.”1

Where can I buy banana blossom?

Asda and Ocado stock tinned banana blossom in water and brine, respectively. 

You can also find banana blossom online, and it may be worth trying your local Asian supermarket.

Incorporating banana blossom into a range of plant-based ready meals is the next innovation focus for Sainsbury’s, according to the supermarket’s latest Future of Food report.

Banana blossom food ideas

The neutral flavour of banana blossom means it readily absorbs flavours during the cooking process.

While it has the potential to be used in a range of dishes, banana blossom ‘fish and chips’ is a popular recipe. 

Instagram is a great tool to discover new recipes, and banana blossom is no exception. From vegan battered fish & chips to banana blossom salad, there are plenty of ideas to try. Just type ‘banana blossom’ into the search field.

Whether you’re a vegan or a flexitarian, or just fancy trying something new, banana blossom could be a meal-plan game changer!

1. This research was funded by the National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka.