Plantain is one of my favourite foods, so I was trying to explore more plantain recipes when I came across the plantain lasagne. Pastelón, also referred to as plantain lasagne, is a Porto Rican delicacy made with cheese, green beans (or raisins), ground beef, onion, and bell pepper called picadillo layered between thinly sliced unripe plantains. Similar to Italian lasagna, pastelón is a gluten free lasagne which means it is healthier, and in my own opinion tastier.
Pastelón is a family dish packed with loads of nutrients and can be served with salads to make a perfect balanced diet.
Ingredients for making pastelón (plantain lasagne)
Guessing you will not be too familiar with most of the traditional ingredients for making Puerto Rican pastelón, where an ingredient is not common I have used appropriate substitutes so you won’t have any issues finding them in your local supermarket.
Plantain: 4 semi-ripe yellowish plantains. The best plantains for making pastelón are the nearly ripe ones. This is different from yellowish plantain used to make fried plantain. The picture below shows two types of plantain and you should use the one similar to the picture on the left. The plantain is sliced long into ¼ inch thin pieces and seared with olive oil.
Tomato sauce: The tomato sauce is at the heart of this dish; the flavour makes the plantain lasagne perfect. I used 3 vine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 cup diced onion, 2-3 garlic cloves, 1 pound 95% lean ground beef (or any lean ground protein of choice), 2 cups tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 teaspoon ground sage or Italian seasoning and sea salt and pepper to taste.
Cream layer: 1 ½ cups or 250g ricotta cheese and 6 tablespoons / 2 egg whites. Some pastelón recipes contain green beans and raisins without cheese, I have excluded this and included cheese instead as seen in Kelvins version.
Garnish: ½ cup shredded/grated Parmesan, 4 more tablespoons egg whites, 2/3 cup grated mozzarella and fresh parsley.
Plantain: Slice the plantain into ¼ inch thin pieces. The Plantain will be very slippery when you’re cutting it, so be very careful not to cut yourself with the knife. You can place it on a chopping board and cut it gently.
Veg: Dice the onion and press the garlic cloves (or use a knife to thinly slice it).
How to make pastelón (plantain lasagne)
Roast vine tomatoes
- Set the oven to 210C.
- Place the tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper or tin foil. Spray the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and pepper on top. Roast the tomatoes for about 15mins, or until the blisters are visible and the tomatoes are soft; then set the oven at 180-190C.
Place a non-stick skillet on the hob and set to medium heat. Let the skillet heat up then spray with olive oil then add plantain slices. Sear for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Set the plantain aside when you finish.
- Using the same skillet (on medium heat), add about 50mls of olive oil, diced onion and pressed garlic. Sauté onion and garlic until they turn brown but be careful so it doesn’t get burnt.
- Add mince/ground beef to the skillet and chop it up with a wooden spoon as it starts to cook. When the beef is about 75% cooked (only some visible pink pieces), add the roasted tomatoes to the skillet. Use the wooden spoon to mash the tomatoes to create a natural tomato paste. Cook all together for about 2mins.
- Pour tomato sauce in and add 1 teaspoon of oregano and sage (or Italian seasoning), a pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of ground pepper flakes. Stir all together and cook for about 3-4mins.
Cream layer: Add 1 ½ cup (or 250g) of ricotta cheese and 6 tablespoons of egg whites. Whisk the mixture together.
Build the Lasagne
- Use a rectangular baking dish. Start by adding an overlapping layer of plantain slices, followed by a spread of tomato sauce, layer of ricotta cheese and egg white mix then sprinkle some parmesan on top. Repeat the steps and place more plantain slices after the second round of layers. Pour 4 tablespoons of egg whites over the plantain slices and grate some mozzarella on top.
- Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake for 30min at 200C. At the last final 5mins, remove the tin foil to get a brownish lasagne look.
- Let the pastelón cool for about 15mins before slicing.
Utensils and tools
Baking dish, knife, saucepan, oven tray, non-stick skillet, garlic press, chopping board and wooden spoon. (You can buy any of the items on Amazon by clicking the link. This opens a new tab on your browser so you will still remain on this page).
Let me know if yours came out well in the comment box below. Connect with me on my social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest @Daddysnom.