Vegetarian Pastelón

I'll admit, when the holidays roll around I begin to crave certain flavors and aromas. I love to cook and feed the people I love, so I tend to be the one doing the hosting and cooking. This year I REALLY wanted to make an attempt at making a Puerto Rican favorite - pastelón (think of a Caribbean version of lasagna using sweet plantains instead of pasta) a la vegetarian. And given that I had zero leftovers, I like to think I was successful in making it just as yummy! 

The one major difference is instead of using ground beef, I used veggie ground. My favorite brand to use is Yves veggie ground and given the fact that the meat eaters kept raving about how satisfied they were, I think it's safe to say that it's the perfect substitute.

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 packs of 12oz Yves veggie ground (or substitute whatever you like for 1 pound of ground beef)
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 6 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp adobo
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 Tbs vinegar
  • 1 envelope sazón
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small can of green stuffed olives, halved
  • 1 12oz box of raisins
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 4-6 plantains, peeled and sliced into strips from top to bottom (how many depends on size of platanos)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 2 cups mozarella cheese
  • vegetable/olive oil
  • salt

Preparation:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter lasagna pan with 1 tbs of butter.
  • Combine veggie ground, onion, pepper, garlic, cilantro, adobo, oregano, vinegar and sazon. Mix well.
  • Heat a large skillet at medium-high heat with 2 Tbs of olive oil, add meat mixture.
  • Cook veggie ground until brown, add bay leaves, olives, raisins and tomato sauce. Mix and let simmer for 10 minutes, set aside. Be careful not to burn the mixture - because it won't release any natural liquid. Remove bay leaves when assembling. 
  • Heat a large frying pan with vegetable oil, just enough to coat the bottom. Fry plantains for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and slightly crispy. Drain on a plate with paper towel, set aside.
  • To assemble pastelón: Take your prepared lasagna pan, start with a layer of plantains, then veggie ground mixture, then a fistful of cheese, repeat. I normally have two good size layers. You want to finish with plantains as the top layer. Beat 3 eggs with 2 Tbs of milk, pour over the pastelón. Let it sit for a minute allowing the egg to soak in. Top off with just a bit more cheese. Cover.
  • Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Happy Holidays! Let me know how it tastes for you!