Pastelon: Plantain Lasagna

Sacatepéquez, Guatemala


Pastelon is a Latin style lasagna (no pasta allowed) that is a combination of sweet and savory flavors, made with spiced beef, sandwiched in layers of plantains, cheese and topped with a cheese egg mixture. Absolutely incredible meal for regular or special days! So put this recipe on your bucket list. Maybe you are still on the fence about plantains? They are all over the place these days, and readily available. Pastelon will make you hop over the fence and enjoy this amazing starchy vegetable. Yes it’s a vegetable. So if  you want to switch up your traditional lasagna recipe, try replacing your lasagna noodles with sweet plantains, the results will delight you. So let’s fire up that oven and get cooking.

  • 4 large ripe plantains
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or thyme
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • tomatoes chopped or 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 – 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced olives (optional)
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 3 large eggs


  • Using a sharp knife cut both ends off the plantain
  • This will make it easy to grab the skin of the plantains
  • Slit a shallow line down the long seam of the plantain
  • Remove plantain peel by pulling it back
  • Slice the plantains horizontally into 4-5 pieces depending on plantains
  • You may either fry or bake the plantains
Frying Method
  • Heat up a large skillet with oil up to ½ inch
  • Heat oil on medium high heat until hot but not smoking
  • Fry the plantain in batches, turning once until lightly brown about 5 minutes
  • Do not overcrowd the pan as it will make the plantains soggy and absorb excess oil
  • Use a slotted spoon, transfer the fried plantains and drain on paper towels


Baking Method
  • Spray a baking sheet and place plantains on them in a single layer
  • Spray lightly over the plantains using the canola oil spray
  • Bake at 400 F turning over after 8 minutes for about 12- 20 minutes
  • Until plantains turn slightly brown.
Making the Filling
  • Next add about 2 tbsp of oil in a skillet
  • Add onions, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, oregano, coriander
  • Sweat for about a minute
  • Then add bell pepper, tomatoes or tomato sauce, bring to a simmer
  • Add ground meat, beans and cook for about 7-10 minutes, while stirring frequently
  • Add about 3 tablespoons of broth or water as needed
  • Season with salt, chicken bouillon and black pepper
  • Finally add olives , green onions and parsley, adjust for seasoning
  • Remove and set aside


  • Spray a deep baking dish with cooking spray or rub with butter or oil
  • Line the bottom of the baking pan with the fried plantain
  • Make sure there is no space between the plantains
  • Add enough of the beef mixture to make a layer, just like you would prepare lasagna
  • Alternate rows of plantains and meat until both are used up
  • Add cheese in between, if desired
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and pour over the Pastelon
  • Making sure to cover the entire top
  • Add cheese if desired, or only use cheese
  • Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes, or until all the egg has cooked through and the cheese is bubbly
  • Let it cool then serve warm

Serve with sour cream, chopped avocado and chopped cilantro and a nice fresh salad. This is a winner dish for any occasion.




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