Puerto Rican Plantain Lasagna (Pastelon)

January 19, 2013 in Categories: by

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Plantain Lasagna-052Plantain lasagna?  Really?  Yes! And what a delicious and comforting meal!  Perfect for this time of year!  This is another recipe modified from one that Gloria sent me (thank you Gloria!).  I made this for my mother-in-law’s birthday while she was visiting and it was a hit!  My mother-in-law was amazed—mostly at how you don’t even miss the cheese with the combination of egg and plantain.  It’s quite filling and my husband was delighted with a freezer full of leftovers to bring to work for lunch.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 90 minutes

Serves: 8


  1. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp of coconut oil and ground beef garlic, red and green pepper, onions and bay leaf.  Brown the beef, breaking up with a large spoon, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add broth, wine, and tomato paste.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10-20 minutes while frying the plantains, stirring occasionally.  Before adding to your pastelon, add ¼ tsp salt, to taste, depending on how seasoned your broth is.
  3. Now would be a good time to preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Cut the plantains in half and peel.  Next cut each half into ¼”-thick slices (about 4 slices per plantain—it’s okay if they aren’t all evenly thick).
  5. Heat 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil in a frying pan or skillet or griddle (more if using cast iron or stainless steel, less if using non-stick).  Place the slices into the hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes per side to lightly brown.  Set aside.  (You will probably have to work in batches, topping up the coconut oil in the pan between each batch).
  6. Beat or whisk 4 eggs (you may wish to add a dash of salt and pepper). Pour onto the bottom of a large rectangular casserole dish or lasagna pan.  Place in oven for 6-7 minutes until set, but not completely cooked.  Remove the pan from the oven and prick the eggs with a fork several times all over the surface.  (Alternatively, you could cook in the microwave for about 1 minute).
  7. Lay half of your fried plantain slices over the egg in a solid layer (like noodles).  Pour the meat sauce over the plantain layer (spread out to a uniform layer).  Next layer the rest of the plantain slices over the top of the meat sauce (like your second layer of noodles).
  8. Beat or whisk the last 4 eggs (again, you may wish to add a dash of salt and pepper) and pour over the top of the pastelon.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes before eating.  Enjoy!

Plantain Lasagna-099 copy

Watch this video from my YouTube Channel to learn more about green plantains:


I’m baking this tonight for my family. After many months of trying paleo recipes with them (five boys 12 yrs and under plus a hubby who grew up eating very traditional American fare), they are starting to appreciate and gobble them up without much complaining at all. I’m hoping this one is a winner too! I’m going to use a mix of sweet peppers and leave out the wine. Should I increase the chicken broth, throw in some balsamic or acv? Thanks for your blog work – I love it!

Thank you for sharing this recipe! We had it for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I used the chicken stock/balsamic vinegar sub instead of wine and it was perfect.

We made this for dinner tonight. The boys loved it and told me to put this on the list to repeat. That hardly ever happens. Thanks so much.

You just sold me on paleo, I am an island girl and so much of what I knew seemed to be no no foods, but this I can handle. Thank you

I just made this yesterday and ate it for lunch today and OMG!! this is the best ever!! I made mine with ground lamb, orange peppers and doubled the stock (lamb) to replace the wine.

Wow! Love to see this recipe here! I am from Puerto Rico and grew up eating Pastelon. My kids love it and it is a comfort food at our home! It is also great for school lunch next day!

Wow, this sounds awesome. I live in Ecuador so ripe plantains are easy to come by. Could this somehow be made without eggs? They don’t get along with me!

I am of Hispanic origin and we eat plantains like they are going out of style, it’s beyond me that we haven’t put meat and plantains together! I first tried pastelon when a Puertorican friend brought it to a potluck, amazing! I am going to add this dish to my repertoire for sure, thanks for sharing the recipe!

You guys can make this also like a shepard’s pie by boiling the plantains (cook in about 20 mins) making a puree and then layer the meat. this is really good too! the plantains remain sweet and less oil for the dish

I think you could make this without eggs and it wouldnt be too much different. We halved the amount of eggs and only put them on bottom & they were easy to peel the plantain layer off of for or egg sensitive son. And we used green olives. It was delicious. I think next time I might add some greens to the meat so I have a one dish meal.

Hi PaleoMom, I love your blog and recipes! I was raised in Puerto Rico and pastelon has always been a favorite… It is nice to see this paleo version. What size baking dish do you use for this recipe?

This was delicious! I didn’t have tomato paste so I subbed with tomato powder(you can find this at a spice store) I would recommend stating that the plantains are a 1/4″ thick LENGTHWISE for people like me who didn’t think ahead. My plantains were not solid black, so the texture was not as soft as I hoped for. Any tricks? I might boil them next time as one member stated. Very tasty but gained 2 lbs overnight 🙁

If we are doing dairy would this work with some mozzarella cheese? Or better without? Just not sure how the flavor of the cheese would work with the plaintains. Any thoughts?

Hello Paleo mom.

My family loves this lasagna,Thank you for sharing this lovely recepy.

Many greetings from the Netherlands.

You have opened my eyes… I am a new believer of the Paleo style… But I thought plantains were part of the “starchy vegetables… a big NO NO…” & being Puerto rican myself I grew up loving plantains (it’s like potatoes in the US)… So please clarify for me: Plantains yes or no??? I hope is a big YES!!!

I have only used plaintains once in cooking. A few weeks ago I made plaintain brownies that were to die for.

Question for this recipe: How long does it take for a green plantain from the market to turn black? Can’t wait to try it. I have found that using new ingredients makes healthy eating more fun!

Delicious! Made it and my husband and myself enjoyed it for 3 days. It heats up beautifully. The sweetness of the plantains against the meat was yummy. Next time ill be adding a hot chile pepper to the meat for more contrast.
Thank you for a great dish!

I finally made this after wanting to try it for weeks. It’s delicious! And the best part is I have alot to freeze for future dinners. Also, made your lemon garlic roasted cauliflower last night and it was a big hit with the family. Fantastic!

I grew up in Bolivia SA this is a typical dish served there! Talk about comfort food!!! It is one of the reasons I went paleo, it closely resembles the foods I grew up on! Now I’m going to have to make this!!!

Just curious… Step 2 says to fry the plantains then step 4 says to cut, peel, and slice; I’ve never cooked plantains in their skin but is that how it’s done? Thanks!

We love using plantains (especially tostones!) and are looking forward to trying this 🙂

I believe what Sarah is saying is that the items in step 2 (broth, wine, and tomato paste) can simmer while you cook the plantains in a separate pan. — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

Excellent recipe. We did it without chicken broth (double wine) and without the peppers. Added a bit of extra onion and dash of hot pepper and Chinese 5 spice. Really good. This will be a staple.

I’ve been using green plantains for some of your other recipes and enjoying them. I’m diabetic and would rather go with the slower metabolizing starch of the green than the sugar in ripened ones. How important to the taste is using ripe plantains for this recipe?

Sarah recommends making her recipes as-written for the best results, but if you want to use greener plantains, I imagine the recipe would still come out okay. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

It was so delicious!!!!! Better than the kind I used to make with noodles!!! Even the kids loved it. Can’t wait for your cookbook

This didnt work out for me. Didn’t like the flavours and I think my plantains were much shorter and smaller than yours. I can’t be discouraged because so many other recipes re awesome!

This turned out great! It was my first recipe from your site but I’ll definitely try more. I used the red wine but can see from the taste that the broth/balsamic would have worked just as well. Although now I have a good excuse to drink some wine with dinner!

This was super sweet…is that be a use I let the plantains ripen for too long? Or maybe the red wine? Smelled amazing tasted ok just very very sweet..suggestions?

This was so delicious! I made it tonight without tomato paste – substituted tamarind paste which I mixed in with the broth, and added green olives before putting on the second layer of plantains. Also omitted the peppers and added a sweet potato (already cooked, cooled, diced, added to the meat mixture at the end.) Increible! Thanks so much!

I love this recipe! I made a few changes. I found the egg on the bottom of the casserole to be unnecessary and makes everything stick, so I halved the eggs and just used them on the top. I also added some oregano, cumin and paprika to the beef mixture. The last change was that I used green bananas and didn’t fry them, just sliced them. It was delicious as originally written and with my tweaks. Thanks!

can you please advise how come green plantains are good in the paleo nutrition, given that they are so starvhy? How are they different from potatoes? Are they similar to casava ( yuca) for that matter? What would be an appropriate serving for a person trying to lose weight ? Can they be fried in coconut oil? From your video, is it not recommended to use them if they are in the in-between stage of ripeness? Where do I find your recipe for the pancakes and the soup that you mentioned? Lastly, what type of bone should I get to make my own beef broth? I apologize for the many questions; Im farely new to paleo and there arent many options to buy paleo friendly in my town’s grocery shops!!! Thanks a lot for your great postings!!!

When making the pastelon you add the peppers, but what kind of peppers? bell, jalapeños, green chiles….? thanks.

I cooked this dish today. It is very different as far as the taste profile, and that’s one reason I enjoy trying new and different foods. For my taste, it has a sweet profile only. I didn’t get spicy nor savory. So next time I will chop up a few Serrano peppers and add another herb along with the bay leaves. I usually cook a recipe as it is and then tweak it to my taste if need be. I probably will see what the authentic version is and add those herbs and spices. Also, to cut down on too much omega 6 in me, I substituted ground chicken and pork belly in lieu of beef. My chicken was moist and flavorful not dry, one reason being as to why I added pork and cooked the chicken on low heat. Anyhoos, i think it’s tasty, just for my taste I need to tweak in spicy and hot along with the sweetness from the plantains and tomato paste.

We’ve made this four times in the past few months. And we have infant twins, so putting in the time to make this is saying a lot for how much we like it. It’s delicious, healthy, protein-packed, the bottom egg later is a genius technique, it feeds us for days, and we’re not even paleo:) Thanks for a great recipe!

I’ve made a half batch in a 9×9 pan a few times now, I love it every time. My boyfriend thinks it’s too eggy so I halve the eggs for the top. Thinking about leaving them off the bottom next time since they seem to just stick and be kind of weird. But we always love this dish, it’s so yummy!!

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