Dairy free/lactose free delicious Puerto Rican style lasagna consisting of thin layers of plantain strips topped with ground beef and cheese.
I’m so pleased to finally introduce you all to this recipe called Pastelon. This latino dish makes the perfect weeknight dinner recipe, it’s flavoursome, tasty, freezer friendly and even great to prepare for a dinner party. If you enjoy Caribbean cuisines and sweet plantains with ground beef, then I promise this Puerto Rican lasagna is what you are looking for.
I made this recipe over a course of several months, fine tuning it until it came out perfect. There’s nothing but thin strips of sweet plantain, lightly fried until golden brown with each layer topped with seasoned ground beef and a lactose/dairy free cheesy topping. I love Pastelon so much that there isn’t a week that goes by now that I don’t eat it.
The recipe for Pastelon calls for………
- Ground beef
- 4 plantains, ripened
- Green bell pepper
- Cilantro (Coriander)
- Tomato sauce
- Dairy free cheese
- Sazon seasoning
- Adobo seasoning
How to make pastelon
Seasoning the ground meat – ground beef is the choice of meat that’s used to make this plantain lasagna. You can of course used ground turkey if you wish. This won’t impact too much on the overall result. I like to use lean 5% beef which isn’t very fatty nor is there an excess of oil/fat leaking from the pan when it time to brown the meat.
Latinos are very particular using their own seasoning – sazon and adobo which is what is featured in pastelon. I used my homemade recipe (see above). A heaping tablespoon of sazon against 2 heaping teaspoons of adobo so both spice blends compliment each other.
Sprinkle it over the meat then work it in and set aside. There is no need to leave the dry rub to infuse overnight, the ground beef can be seasoned and used immediately.
Sofrito – this is the base ingredient, a common feature in Latino dishes – green bell pepper, garlic and onion along with cilantro. The former needs to be sauteed until soft and translucent.
Searing the beef – Once the sofrito is sauteed then add the ground beef a bit at a time until all of the meat is folded into the pan. The beef should take a few minutes to brown, just keep stirring and rotating the pan so it cooks evenly.
Frying the plantain – I used a total of 4 large plantains. The ends need to be snipped off then score the plantain length ways to remove the skin. Slice the plantain length ways and each slice should be 1” in thickness. I got about 4 slices per plantain. The next step is to lightly fry the slices of plantain on each side until golden brown.
Arranging the plantain to make pastelon – What you need to do is layer and build the lasagna. start by arranging the plantain at the bottom of the dish. Then apply the egg wash, spoon the beef and spread it, then sprinkle the cheese.
This step needs to be repeated.The amount of times depending on the thickness of your pastelon.
Bake – The last step is the sprinkling of the cheese onto the lasagna and then it is ready to be baked for 20 minutes until the cheese is golden.
Tips and notes
- This recipe is gluten free, paleo and dairy free
- Serve with vegetables on the side
- Drain off any excess liquid from the ground beef before building the lasagna
- The darker the plantain the sweeter and soft the texture of pastelon. For a firm pastelon choose bright yellow plantains for soft sweet pastelon use discoloured (yellow with dark spots) plantains
- Plantain can be purchased from any African/Caribbean/Asian or Latino grocery
- Banana cannot be substitute for plantain
- For best results use a rectangular roasting dish i.e 19x 12cm
- Freezer friendly recipe
Other latino recipes you may like
Pastelon (steps with pictures)
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 ground beef to the skillet with the sofrito then brown the meat.
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,
Bring a taste of Puerto Rico to your dining table with this delicious Pastelon recipe – Gluten free, paleo, dairy free
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: Caribbean
4 large plantains, ripen
1 lb of ground beef
2 tsp of adobo seasoning, heaping
1 tbsp of sazon, heaping (see post for recipe)
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, minced
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (coriander), chopped
1/3 cup of olives/capers
1 cup of tomato sauce
2 cups of dairy free cheese
3 large eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven 350f/176C
Grease or lightly spray a casserole dish and set aside
In a large bowl, add the ground beef and season with the sazon and adobo and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat then proceed to saute the onion, garlic, and minced bell pepper – this is the sofrito!! along with the cilantro until soft and translucent.
Once softened add the ground beef, stir and sear the meat. This should take a few minutes to brown, just keep folding and stirring the meat.
Add the tomato and olives/capers, stir then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-1o minutes.
Prepare the plantain by cutting the ends of each one, then scoring lengthways across each plantain (becareful, not to slice too deep, just deep each to remove the skin). Take off the skin and cut the plantain in lengthways strips about 1″ for each one. You should get 4 slices per plantain.
Melt some coconut oil on medium heat, just enough to lightly fry the plantain strips. Work in batches of needed and fry both sides until golden brown.
Blot off any excess oil before covering the bottom of the roasting dish with strips of plantain. Grab the egg mixture and brush it over the first layer.
Then spoon the ground beef about 1” thickness and spread evenly across and then sprinkle some of the cheese onto
Repeat this step of layer the plantain, brush the on egg wash, spooning and spreading out beef and sprinkling the cheese again until you have 2-3 layers.
The final layer should be a layer of plantain then brushing the remaining part of egg wash before topping off with the cheese.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown
- Calories: 450
- Fat: 37g
- Carbohydrates: 75g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 35g