Cuban-inspired Puerto Rican lasagna? That seems like about three contradictions in one, doesn’t it?
Puerto Rican sweet plantain lasagna, or pastelon, is a very real dish, and this version is Cuban-inspired because Papi Chulo got ahold of it and added a slight cuban twist with a couple small changes, like adding chopped almonds to the meat mixture.
The resulting dish is sweet, salty, savory, and cheesy, all at once. In short, it’s like no other lasagna you’ve ever tried before!
This lasagna is very easy to make Paleo – simply leave out the dairy! Depending on what level of Paleo you’re looking for, you may also want to leave out the capers and olives since they contain a lot of salt. The almonds we used were already the unsalted kind, so you’re good to go there!
No matter how you choose to make it, I guarantee you haven’t experienced anything like the tropical flavors of this new favorite at our house.
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Plantain lasagne recipe
- Cooking oil or spray
- 1.5 pounds of ground beef (I grind my own sirloin using my KitchenAid mixer
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 a green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup of roasted red pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup of green olives, chopped (measure out 1/4 C and then chop)
- 1 teaspoon of capers
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of oregano, preferably Mexican instead of Italian
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 4 ounces of Spanish-style tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup of dry white wine or 1/4 cup of chicken broth (sub water if you really, really have to)
- 1/4 cup of chopped, un-salted almonds or plain almond slivers
- 3 ripe plantains
- 2/3 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, or a soft Mexican cheese
- 2/3 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of milk or cream
This dish is easiest and fastest to put together with two people – one person can work on the plantains while the other cooks the beef or one person can cook the plantains while the other assembles the lasagna. We did the latter – we waited until the meat was almost ready to begin cooking the plantains, Papi Chulo fried them, and I assembled the lasagna as plantain slices became ready. It would have taken me forever to do by myself!
This lasagna keeps well in the refrigerator.
Simply wait for it to cool completely, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge. It keeps at least four days, but I can’t speak for longer than that! I don’t image it wouldn’t freeze well, but I could be wrong. Weirdly enough, Papi Chulo likes to eat the lasagna with rice. That may seem strange, but the plantains are fairly sweet and he wanted something not sweet to balance the meal out. Now we simply eat small slices of the lasagna with some rice instead a big piece of lasagna!
As a “quick sidebar,” I’d like to take a moment to talk about high-quality cookware. I am very thankful to have a family that knows how much I value kitchen tools that work and have been able to accumulate kitchen gear I love over the past few years.
High-quality cookware and appliances can be really expensive, but they can also last you for years and years. I think the most important thing to remember is that you should look for true quality, not just a brand name. For example, I have a wonderful set of Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad cookware and I used my 12″ Tramontina skillet for this recipe. I’ve never worried if things I had weren’t high-profile brand name as long as they worked just as well and am currently exploring making my own wedding veil and decorations. =)
If you like Cuban-inspired food, you’ll love this mojo pork tenderloin recipe!
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