Pastelón de Maduros (Vegetarian version)
Updated: Jul 23
Pastelón, also known as piñón, is the Puerto Rican version. We use sweet plantains as the noodles and we saute the meat with lots of Puerto Rican flavors. The combination of the sweet plantains and the savory filling makes the perfect dish. You can have it with a side of rice or a salad (if you decide to go low-carb). We are updating this recipe a little bit by making the filling with a plant based meat option, Beyond Meat. So delicious, you won't miss the real meat here.
8 ripe plantains
Oil, for cooking
Salt, to taste
2 tbs oil
I medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup sofrito
16 oz of Beyond Meat (Plant Based Ground Beef)
¼ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup olives and pimentos
½ tsp adobo
1 packet sazon
2 tbs water
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
The first thing you need to do to make pastelón is to prepare your plantains.
I like to use very ripe plantains for my pastelón, in order to really accentuate the plantain’s sweetness and contrast it with the salty meat filling. Plantains start to develop black spots on their surface as they ripen and as you can see here, once they are fully ripened they are almost all black. But don’t let the outside fool you, these plantains are still perfectly good to eat and indeed quite the treat.
Pastelón is kinda like a lasagna, and keeping with that analogy, plantains serve as the proverbial noodles, that you’ll use to create the pastelón’s layers.
Start by peeling your plantains. Given how ripe these plantains are, their peels should come off very easily. Begin by cutting both ends off your plantain. Next, make a small cut in the peel on one end and then you should be able to grab hold of the peel and pull it off the plantain without too much resistance.
Once you’ve gotten all of the peel off your plantain, go ahead and cut it into thin slices, around ¼ of an inch think. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to place the plantain down on a flat surface and then use a large, straight-edged knife to make one cut along the whole length of the plantain. As you are cutting your plantains, try to keep the pieces intact as much as possible. Having large pieces to work with, will make constructing your pastelón much easier in the end. Repeat this process until you have sliced all of your plantains.
With your plantains sliced, the next thing we need to do is cook them. Heat up a large pan and add a little oil, to prevent the plantains from sticking. Once your oil is hot, go ahead and add as many plantains as your pan can fit comfortably, with each piece of plantain lying flat on the pan’s surface. Add a little bit of salt to the plantains and let them cook until brown on one side.
Once browned, go ahead and flip them to cook the other side. When both sides are cooked, take them out and repeat the process. A little oil, add the plantains, a little salt, flip them once, then take them out after both sides are browned. Keep going until all your plantains are cooked.
Now that your plantains are ready, let’s go ahead and and prepare the pastelón’s filling. In the same pan you used to fry your plantains, add your oil, your onions, and your garlic, and saute on medium high for 1-2 minutes. Once your onions start to get a little translucent, add your sofrito and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
While your sofrito is sauteing, go ahead and grab your meat. Today we are using Beyond Meat’s plant-based ground beef. If, however, you want to use real beef, the recipe is exactly the same, just substitute the Beyond Meat for the same amount of ground chuck.
Like with ground beef, the Beyond Meat comes in a semi solid form, that you’ll need to break up into smaller pieces as you cook it. Add your beyond meat to the sofrito, and start sauteing it, using your spatula to break the Beyond Meat into pieces.
Keep sauteing the Beyond Meat until is has browned and there is no more liquid in the bottom of your pan.
Then, go ahead and add your tomato sauce, your olives, your adobo, and your sazon. Stir until combined and then let it saute for another couple minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. When ready, go ahead and move the Beyond Meat into a clean bowl.
With your plantains and your filling done, you are ready to assemble your pastelón.
Start by making an egg wash, out of just eggs and a little water. You’ll use this to brush your plantains with, so that they hold together better when you cook them.
Now grab a large, deep oven safe dish to make your pastelón in. Here I’m using an 8x10 Pyrex dish, which is about 3 inches deep.
Take your plantains and begin layering them into your dish. This is kinda like a jigsaw puzzle, so just use your plantains to create a single layer on the bottom of your pan, covering the entire surface of your dish, without too much overlap in the plantains. Once your first layer is done, give the layer a quick bath of egg wash and begin putting down a second layer of plantains.
For this second layer, try not to repeat the same pattern from the first layer. For example, here, in the part of the dish that’s closest to me, my first layer of plantains went side to side. So now, in my second layer, I’m putting the plantains in that section front to back. The purpose here is to provide additional stability to your pastelón, so it doesn’t fall apart when you serve it. Once that’s finished, give it another brushing with the egg wash.
With your two base layers of plantains done, go ahead and add your Beyond Meat filling. Lightly pack it down, while trying to make it relatively even.
Then, use your remaining plantains to create a top layer, covering the filling completely.
Once all the plantains are in place, pour the rest of your egg wash over your pastelón and use your brush to evenly distribute it. When cooked, this egg wash will serve as a glue of sorts, that will hold the pastelón together.
Finally, add your cheese and your pastelón is ready to go into the oven.
Turn your oven on to 350 and bake your pastelón for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is starting to brown on the top.
Let your pastelón cool for 5-10 minutes and then cut it into serving sized pieces, being careful to fully separate the pastelón from the sides before you try and pull it out of the dish.
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.