When my friend Melisa who is from Puerto Rico told me about Pastelon, which I never heard of, I was only too eager to try it.Who ever heard of a lasagna made from plantains?? Just a couple of weeks ago, Melisa came over to my place and we spent the next few hours preparing this dish. What is most time consuming is baking the plantains because you end up doing it in batches.
Typically the plantains are fried and is made with layers of beef Bolognese, however I created a healthier version by instead baking the plantains and using “Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo” for the sauce. Most latin countries have their version of chorizo, which is a type of sausage, this one is a Mexican chorizo that has the consistency of ground beef, though drier, due to a higher chile and spice content. It’s important to use ripe plantains for this dish, because when ripened they are sweeter and softer. This dish is amazing with a sweet and spicy savory flavor that blends together into a culinary bliss.
The outer layer of a plantain is tough and thick. To peel, start by slicing off both ends. Make an incision lengthwise down the "back" of the plantain with a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut into the fruit. Once the incision is made, open the peel and cut into the plantain lengthwise at 1/2 inch slices.
10 plantains, (blackened or black spots) peeled and sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices
1 teaspoon salt
1 package Soy Chorizo
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1 green pepper, minced
1 ¼ cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups white shredded cheese (Monterrey Jack or Cheddar)
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Coat a nonstick cookie sheet with cooking spray.
3. Arrange cut plantain in single layer and coat tops with cooking spray and salt to bring out the full flavor.
4. Bake, turning once for 10-15 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and very tender.
5. Once done, set aside on a plate as they will be used to layer the lasagna.
6. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
7. In a large frying pan, under medium high heat fry the onion in oil. After a few minutes, when the onions are softening, add the pepper and stir for another few minutes.
8. Add the Soy Chorizo and 1 cup tomato sauce to the mixture and stir well. Reduce heat to a medium flame and cook covered for another 5-7 minutes.
9. To assemble pastelon: Take your prepared rectangular pan and spread out ¼ cup tomato sauce.
10. Then a layer of plantains, then chorizo mixture, then a fistful of cheese, repeat.
11. You want to finish with cheese and plantains. Most likely you will get three layers.
12. Beat eggs with milk and pour over the pastelón. Let it sit for a minute allowing the egg to soak in. Top off with just a bit more cheese.
13. Bake in oven for 20 minutes.