Pastelón is a classic Puerto Rican recipe sometimes referred to as Puerto Rican Plantain Lasagna. Delicious and simple to make. Serve by itself, with a salad, avocado slices or with yellow rice.
Pastelón (Puerto Rican Plantain “Lasagna”), is a delicious classic Puerto Rican dish made with ground beef, ripe plantains and cheese. If you have never had it and you love plantains especially ripe plantains, then you will love this dish.
You will sometimes hear this dish called the “Puerto Rican Lasanga.” This is because you have 3 layers of plantains, beef and cheese.
The plantains sort of take the place of lasanga noodles!
The ground beef is prepared with onions, peppers, olives, garlic, spices and then cooked in a tomato sauce creating a delicious savory Puerto Rican picadillo.
Some Puerto Ricans like raisins in their picadillo. I’m not one of them. 🙂 But if you love raisins and that’s your kind of thing, feel free to add some raisins to your picadillo.
You will also find that some Puerto Ricans do not add cheese to their pastelón. I grew up eating pastelón always with cheese so again this is a personal preference. I highly recommend you add cheese to yours.
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 “frying” 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:
Arroz Mamposteao (A special Puerto Rican blend of rice and beans)
Pastelón (Puerto Rican Plantain "Lasagna")
- 2 eggs whisked
- 2 cups monterey jack cheese or cheddar cheese or both divided
Ground Beef (Picadillo)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely minced
- 8 pimiento-stuffed green olives sliced
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce I used GOYA brand also found in Latin section of supermarket
- 1 tsp adobo seasoning found in Latin section of supermarket
- 1 envelope of Sazon with Achoite (optional) found in Latin section of supermarket
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 4-5 ripe plantains peeled, cut and fried or boiled
- vegetable oil for frying
Ground Beef (Picadillo)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- In a skillet over medium heat add the ground beef breaking up beef with a spatula to crumble it up. Add adobo and sazón. Stir and cook until beef is no longer red.Drain oil that beef released by tilting pan and using a large metal spoon to remove oil that has collected. You can also drained beef through a colander if this is easier for you.
- Add all other ingredients to beef except tomato sauce. stir and mix well. Cook vegetables for a few minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and stir well together with beef. Lower heat some and cook for 8-10 minutes. Turn stove off and set beef aside.
- Cut ends off of plantains with a knife and with the tip, slit plantain straight down the back just enough to pierce through skin and barely touch flesh of plantain.Slide your thumbs under skin and peel skin off. Discard skin.
- Cut each plantain in half (refer to picture) then slice each half into thin slices. Each half will make about 4 slices so you should end up with 8 slices per plantain.You can also choose to slice each whole plantain down the middle and then lay flat side half on a wooden cutting board and carefully slice straight through to make long strips. Do the same with the other half and repeat the same process to other plantains. Note: You can also use a mandoline to slice plantains into strips but please be very careful because plantains are soft and slippery.
- Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Heat oil for about 5 minutes. Oil is ready to fry plantains when you add one slice and it sizzles.
- Add a few slices at a time to cook. Fry plantain pieces until golden brown. Flip over and fry on the other side. Line a plate with paper towels and drain slices.Repeat with all slices.
Assemble the Pastelón
- Lightly grease a 10x10 casserole dish with oil spray or a tablespoon of butter.
- Layer the bottom of the casserole dish with a single layer of cooked plantains.
- Top with a layer of the beef mixture and then a layer of cheese.
- Add another layer of plantains, another layer of beef and another layer of cheese.
- Top with one last layer of plantains.
- Top casserole with whisked eggs and gently shake casserole to distribute egg mixture. Top casserole with one last layer of cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve Pastelón by itself or with a salad, avocado slices or yellow rice. Enjoy!!