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Pastelon

Image of Pastelon
Commonly referred to as the Puerto Rican lasagna, mainly because it is a baked dish of layered ingredients, Pastelon is definitely worth the time it takes to make it.

Roasted slices of ripe plantains create one of the layers. A savory, sweet & salty plant-based picadillo, with the flavors of the iconic cooking base known as sofrito, makes up another layer. Consisting of soy taco, escabeche, tomato sauce, plumped dried currants, pimento-stuffed green olives, oregano & fresh cilantro, with this picadillo, you’ll never miss the meat. Shredded non-dairy mozzarella and shredded non-dairy cheddar are combined in this version of pastelon for ooey, gooey goodness. And to up the vegetable factor, while green beans are more traditional, I’ve used tatuma squash, mostly because I really like it.

Be prepared for extra prep time to sauté the picacdillo and to roast the plantains. If you aren’t able to find already ripened plantains (with partially blackened skin), you’ll need to plan ahead to make this dish by leaving unripened plantains on the kitchen counter for up to 2 weeks.

Pastelon is usually served with steamed white rice, but quinoa would also be nice. And don’t forget to add some sliced, ripe avocado on the side because they’re the perfect accompaniment to this pastelon and to just about anything, don’t you think?

Pastelon
Image of Ingredients
Ingredients
6 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced lengthwise
Cooking oil spray
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ cup Melissa’s Jalapeño Relish Escabache
2 packages soy taco
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup dried currants, rehydrated in hot water
½ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
8 tatuma squash, sliced lengthwise
1 package plant-based shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package plant-based shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper

Preparation
Image of plantains on baking tray
To prepare the plantains, cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the plantain slices on the parchment paper, spray with cooking oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast at 350 degrees about 7 minutes and then turn over for another 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Image of picadillo saute
To make the picadillo, place the 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add in the escabache, the dried oregano and the minced garlic, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Crumble the soy taco into the pan and sauté another 5-7 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, currants, olives, parsley & cilantro, and cook an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Image of pastelon assembly
To assemble the pastelon, spray cooking oil in the bottom of a 9x13” baking dish or pan—place in a layer of the sliced plantains. Sprinkle 1/3 package of the shredded mozzarella and 1/3 package of the shredded cheddar over the plantain layer. Take ½ the picadillo mixture and spread it over the cheese layer. Add on a layer of the sliced tatuma squash. Repeat the layers – plantains, cheese, picadillo, tatuma squash – finishing with a final layer of sliced plantains. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Image of baked pastelon
Take off the aluminum foil, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, and return the pastelon to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

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