1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10x10 casserole dish (for a thicker pastelón) or 9x13 casserole dish (for a thinner pastelón) with nonstick cooking spray or butter.
2 Prepare the plantains: Cut off both ends from the plantain, then use the tip of your knife to cut a slit down the back. Using your two thumbs, remove the peel from the plantain and discard the peel.
Once you’ve peeled all the plantains, slice each one in half down the length. Separate the two halves and flip them onto their flat sides to create a stable base. Place your palm flat on top of the plantain, and use a sharp knife to slice parallel to the cutting board and cut the plantains into very thin slices (about 1/4-inch thick). Set aside.
(Alternatively, you can use a mandoline to slice the plantains thinly, but be careful because the plantains are soft and the mandoline is sharp!)
3 Fry the plantains: In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 300°F over medium heat (check the temperature with a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer). Line a plate with paper towels to drain the plantains after frying, and set next to the stove.
Place four or five slices of plantains into the oil and fry for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until the plantains have a browned slightly. Remove from the skillet to the paper-lined plate to drain. Continue frying the remaining plantains.
4 Cook the beef: Drain all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan you used to fry the plantains. Return the pan to the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and season with the adobo and sazón.
Continue to cook the meat, breaking it up into crumbles, for 6 minutes or until browned. Drain the meat by pouring it into a colander, but leave a bit of the grease in the pan to cook the vegetables.
5 Cook the vegetables: Return the empty pan to the heat and cook the onions, bell pepper, and recaito for 3 minutes or until glossy. Add the olives, capers, and dried oregano, and cook for 2 more minutes.
6 Finish the filling: Return the ground beef to the pan with the vegetables, along with the tomato sauce, and then stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat.
7 Assemble the pastelón: Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a single layer of the fried plantain strips. Spoon a 1-inch layer of the ground beef mixture onto the plantains. Top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Repeat with another layer of plantains, meat, and cheese (reserve the remaining 1 cup of cheese). Top with a final layer of plantains.
8 Add the egg layer: In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and baking soda until frothy. Pour this mixture over the plantains.
9 Bake the pastelón, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining cup of cheese. Return the dish to the oven and cook for an additional five minutes, until the cheese has melted.
10 Cool and serve: Remove the pastelón from the oven. Allow it to cool for at least fifteen minutes before slicing and serving, which helps it maintain its shape when sliced.
Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, cut a portion and place either in the microwave or the oven until warmed through.
Puerto Rican Pasteles (Pasteles Puertorriqueños)
The Christmas season in Puerto Rico is blessed with balmy weather and clear skies. There is nothing like dining under the shade of a gourd tree on Christmas Eve, savoring every morsel of the earthy tamales called pasteles and adobo-flavored pork while looking at the sea.
Puerto Rican women get together with their families to prepare pasteles by the hundred, freezing them until needed for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, family reunions, the Fiesta de Reyes, and the religious season called octavas that follows the Feast of the Epiphany.
It is the blend of the tiny pepper ají dulce and broad-leaf culantro in the fragrant sofrito (cooking sauce) that gives an unmistakable Puerto Rican identity to these earthy tamales. A dash of vinegar lends the sofrito just the right amount of tang against the mild dough of malanga and plantain tinted orange-yellow with achiote-infused lard.
I learned to make these in the traditional kitchen of the Puerto Rican side of my family. While one person took care of trimming the plantain leaves, others were busy grating the vegetables and making the sofrito. There the vegetables are grated by hand, though you can find machines designed specially for this purpose in any market or use a food processor. Puerto Ricans are extremely fussy about the wrapping—it has to be perfect and watertight because pasteles are normally boiled. But I prefer to steam them.
- Ground beef: I use low fat lean beef which has fat residue but you can use whichever works for you!
- Plantain: You will need a minimum of 4 depending on the size of your roasting dish. They should be ripe (some dark spots, not overripe)
- Sofrito: The onion, garlic, green bell pepper act the foundation to the recipe, very important!
- Olives/Capers: This is optional but typically included
- Cilantro (Coriander): Used as seasoning
- Tomato sauce: You can pureed sauce so think passata!
- Dairy free cheese: My favourite brands are Sheese, Miyoko and Daiya!!
- Eggs: This used as egg wash
- Sazon seasoningand adobo seasoning: What you need to season the ground beef and crucial for latino cooking
- Place the ground beef in the bowl and season with sazon and adobo then set aside.
- Sautee the sofrito - onion, garlic, bell pepper and cilantro until soft and translucent.
- Add the tomato paste and olives/capers to the skillet and stir.
- Meanwhile prepare the plantain by cutting off the ends of each one.
- Slice the skin off the plantain lengthways then slice the plantain (you should get 4 strips per plantain)
- Then fry both sides until golden brown
- Layer the bottom of the roasting dish with the plantain strips then brush on the egg mixture.
- Spoon the ground beef and spread evenly on top of the plantain layers.
- Sprinkle the cheese onto of the ground beef , repeat the step until beef and plantain is layered 2-3 times
- The final layer should be strips of plantain drizzled with egg wash and sprinkled with cheese prior to baking.
Pastelón (Puerto Rican Plantain “Lasagna”) - Recipes
Sweet Plantain Meat Pie - ( Piñón o Pastelón de Platano Maduro)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
- 2-3 cubes or 1/4 cup Basic Sofrito.
- 1 pound ground meat of your preference.
- 1 teaspoon Homemade Dry Adobo Seasoning.
- 1 cup spanish style tomato sauce.
- 1 tablespoon capers.
- 3 tablespoons spanish style stuffed olives.
- 1 tablespoon wine vinegar (optional).
- 1 tablespoon sweet wine or sherry (optional).
- 1 teaspoon Pique (Homemade Puerto Rican.
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed.
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin.
- 6 large eggs, scrambled (seasoned with salt and pepper, optional).
- 8 large ripe plantains, tips removed, peeled, each plantain cut in 3 slices lengthwise
- 9 ounce package frozen french cut green beans or peas and carrots or other
Warm 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium heat.
Sautee sofrito until fragrant, one or two minutes.
Cook over medium high heat until browned.
Stir in tomato sauce, capers, olives, oregano, cumin.
Stir in pique,vinegar and wine (if using).
Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Taste and reseason if necessary.
Turn off heat and set aside.
Heat 1 inch of frying oil in skillet over medium heat.
Fry plantains , turning once, until golden on the outside and tender on the inside
(check tenderness by poking with toothpick or fork).
Carefully remove plantains from oil and drain on paper towel lined plate.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a 13 inch by 9 inch by 2 1/2 inch baking dish (if using smaller but deeper
dish just create more layers).
Spread half egg batter over bottom of dish.
Top with half of plantain slices (about 12).
Spoon meat mixture over plantains to cover.
Top with an even layer of vegetables.
Top with remaining plantain slices.
Evenly pour remaing egg batter over dish.
Bake uncovered 40 minutes.
To serve, remove from oven and let cool partially. Slice. Using spatula lift and place
on individual plates. If layers start to separate, let cool an additional 5 minutes before
How to Make Puerto Rican Pasteles Recipe
To prepare the Puerto Rican pasteles recipe (stuffed plantain leaves) first place the shredded vegetables, liquid seasoning, salt, and milk into a food processor pulse until well blended.
In a small sauce pan, warm the olive oil and mix with annatto powder.
Pour into food processor and pulse together with vegetable mixture.
Take a piece of plantain leave, add a teaspoon of oil and rub onto the leave.
Add about 3 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture and top with about 1 ½ tablespoons meat filling.
Fold one side over the filling fold opposite side in, folding around until there is no excess vertically.
Fold in the ends to completely close in the filling.
Tie cooking string around like a gift to secure.
Place the Puerto Rican pasteles into a large pot of boiling water and let cook for 45 minutes.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ⅓ cup sofrito
- 8 green olives, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ cup recao
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- cooking spray
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 6 large ripe plantains - peeled, halved, and each half cut lengthwise into 4 slices
- 5 large eggs
- 1 (9 ounce) package frozen French cut green beans, thawed and drained
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef cook and stir until browned on the outside and no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes. Remove meat from pan drain fat.
Place tomato sauce, sofrito, green olives, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, recao, and oregano in the skillet. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Return ground beef to skillet reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes more.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Pour oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Fry plantain slices until golden, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Beat eggs thoroughly in a bowl add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Line the bottom of the baking pan with half the plantains, overlapping as needed. Layer ground beef mixture, green beans, and remaining plantains pour eggs on top. Top with mozzarella cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until eggs are set and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes.
Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
Pastelón is a classic Puerto Rican dish made with layers of thinly-sliced sweet plantains, ground meat, and cheese. Think of it as a Puerto Rican version of lasagna. It’s the perfect casserole to make for a potluck or family gathering! I‘m using Mazola® Corn Oil for this recipe. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, visit Mazola.com.
I’ve already decided that I had to choose a last meal, it would be pastelón. If you’ve ever had it, you know why. If you haven’t, put this on your bucket list now! Pastelón is a Puerto Rican version of lasagna. While pastelón is super delicious, I also know it’s not the kind of meal you should eat regularly. Since February is Heart Health Month, I decided to lighten up this traditional Puerto Rican recipe, with help from Mazola® Corn Oil! Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for your family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health. It has a variety of uses include baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing.
Instead of noodles, pastelón features sweet plantain slices, layer it up with deliciously savory picadillo and cheese, and the whole thing is baked into a bubbly, cheesy, gooey, amazing, ridiculous…I think you get it. I decided that I would lighten up this recipe 3 ways:
- I swapped deep frying with air frying my plantains by brushing them with Mazola Corn Oil
- I swapped ground beef for lean ground turkey for the picadillo
- Instead of a ton of cheese, I only used one cup total
Mazola Corn Oil has more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils – four times more than olive oil and one and a half times more than canola oil. Clinical studies indicate that when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, visit Mazola.com.
For the perfect pastelón , you want super, duper ripe plantains. They should mostly be black with spots of yellow, just like these. This will guarantee the sweetest plantains, which is essential for the sweet and salty combo that is the signature of this dish. I love to use a shortcut by using frozen sweet plantains, because they’re always perfectly ripe! Using my air fryer helps me make them super sweet and caramelized, without the heaviness of deep frying!
Once the plantains are cooked, I flatten them with the underside of a plate, so they spread out. Then I use them just like I would lasagna noodles, to layer into the dish. I use Mazola Corn Oil to grease the baking dish, to make sure that nothing sticks.
After covering the bottom of the pan with a layer of sweet plantains, I add half of the turkey picadillo, and 1/4 cup of shredded part skim mozzarella cheese. Then I repeat with another layer of plantains, picadillo, cheese, and top the pastelon with a final layer of sweet plantains.
To finish off this sweet plantain lasagna, I top it with the remaining cheese, and then pour two beaten eggs all over the top. This helps the casserole stay together when you cut it. And it’s a great way to avoid adding too much cheese, and swapping it with some extra protein!
Once the pastelón is baked and bubbly, you’re ready to slice it into servings, and dig in! I like serving pastelón with my Avocado, tomato and watercress salad to round out this comforting dish.
Picking Plantains for Pastelón
If you have never tried this dish, I know at first just hearing that the main ingredients are ripe plantains, beef and cheese sounds awfully weird and maybe even not that appealing or tasty, but you will have to just trust me that it all works deliciously well.
You may be familiar with green plantains and maybe not so much with ripe plantains. However, picking ripe plantains for this dish is crucial.
At first glance, ripe plantains may seem spoiled and appear to have gone bad because they are mostly black with few yellow areas. Do not be alarmed because this is how they are suppose to look. The plantains must also feel tender to the touch but not mushy.
Note: If you can only find green plantains in your local supermarket then buy them and let them ripen for a few days on your kitchen counter.
How to Make Pastelón
Start with making the ground beef.
While the ground beef is cooking, peel and cut the plantains. Here you have two options. Once the plantains are peeled you can cut plantain in half and then into thin slices or you can just keep the plantain whole and cut thin slices straight down the whole plantain to make long plantain strips.
I prefer to cut them in half and then cut them into thin strips because I find it a bit easier.
Then go on to frying the plantains and drain on paper towels.
Note: If you are hesitant about &ldquofrying&rdquo the plantains, you can also boil them whole and then slice the plantains.
Next, in a lightly greased square dish (I used a meatloaf pan but normally you will see pastelón prepared in a square cake pan or large casserole) layer the first layer of plantains.
Then add the first layer of picadillo.
Now add a layer of shredded cheese and repeat the process of plantains, beef and cheese and finally top with a last layer of plantains.
After doing the last layer of plantains, pour whisked eggs on top of the casserole. This will keep everything together once cooked. Then top with more cheese.
Place the Pastelón in a 350 F oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Now your delicious Puerto Rican dish is done and ready to eat.
Serve Pastelón by itself or with a salad, avocado or yellow rice. Traditionally you will find pastelón served with arroz con gandules as well.
Hope you love this dish as much as I do! Enjoy!
For more delicious Puerto Rican dishes, you may also like:
medium onion, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
green bell pepper, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
red bell pepper, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)View Product Details
shredded GOYA® Queso Blanco (white cheese), optional
You are now able to buy this recipe’s ingredients online! After you select your market, you decide if you want to have your items delivered or if you want to pick them up in store!
Vegetarian: Pastelón (Sweet Plantain 'Lasagna') with Radish Salsa
I used to live in Brooklyn's Sunset Park, which has a large Hispanic population, and during that time my diet was full of the beans, Mexican cheeses, tortillas, tomatillos, culantro, and pumpkin found in all the local markets and bodegas in my neighborhood. But I moved away long ago, and now I live in Crown Heights—so my shopping habits have shifted somewhat in the direction of the Caribbean population of my new area. Several days ago, though, I had a sharp craving for soft, sweet fried plantains, and I realized I haven't been eating nearly enough Latin food.
I wanted to craft something hearty out of bananas' large, starchy cousin, and happened upon pastelón, a dish found in both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. It's kind of like a Latin American lasagna, layering fried plantains with a spiced ground beef filling and melty white cheese.
I instantly wanted this dish in my house (and stomach), and I knew that I could adapt the recipe to be vegetarian-friendly. I prepared spicy red beans for the filling, using all of the traditional flavorings, which includes a sweet-salty combination of raisins and olives. Because I knew that I would be sacrificing some texture by using creamy beans, I decided to make a crunchy, refreshing radish salsa to serve on top of the finished casserole. And since I had the radishes around anyway, I chopped up their greens and tossed them into the bean filling for a touch of bitterness.
This recipe is a bit time-consuming, but nothing about it is too hard, and the end result is a flavor-packed, sweet, salty and satisfying dish that's big and hearty enough to feed a crowd.
12 Easy Puerto Rican Recipes (Best Puerto Rican Food)
Puerto Rican Food is full of spice and herbs with a combination of flavors beyond your wildest dreams. We’ve collected 12 Easy Puerto Rican Recipes that are authentic and incredibly delicious. Take a deep dive into these dishes and walk into the richness of Puerto Rican cuisines.