This Puerto Rican Pastelon is vegan, packed with Caribbean flavors, sweet and savory, and easy to make. This casserole dish is the perfect comfort food for your family or any gathering. It will be your favorite casserole easy recipe!
This Puerto Rican Pastelon is my version adapted from my abuela’s recipe. Pastelon is a classic Puerto Rican casserole dish layered with sweet plantains, stuffed with ground meat, vegetables, and bound together with beaten eggs. That is why some people refer to it as the Puerto Rican Lasagna. This version is vegan, easy to make, sweet and savory, and it will be your favorite! Every family on the island has a different way to make pastelon. I adapted my recipe from my grandma to make it vegan.
THE INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING VEGAN PUERTO RICAN PASTELON
It is very simple to make this vegan pastelon. You just have to choose another protein to replace the meat, buy your favorite vegan cheese and skip the egg. In my experience, the egg is not necessary but it’s a personal choice.
- Vegan Meat Replacement: To replace the meat, I used TVP (textured vegan protein), diced mushrooms, and “gandules” (pigeon peas). The gandules (pigeon peas) give an extraordinary flavor. I have used beefless ground crumbles and it works great as well. If you would like to see the vegan recipe I made for Unchained TV, feel free to click this link Puerto Rican Vegan Pastelon Recipe.
- Ripe Plantains: Ripe plantains are the star ingredient in this recipe. The riper the better! Even though every time I make pastelon I slice my plantains and then fry them, for this recipe I used very ripe plantains therefore I chose to smash them instead of frying them.
- Cheese: My abuela liked to use grated cheddar cheese or sometimes she even used sliced cheese. It’s a personal choice, some people prefer it without cheese but I love the combination of cheese with the plantain. For vegan pastelon, I like the Violife blends. They melt pretty well and taste delicious.
- Gandules: This is a great addition! It’s optional but totally recommended. If you don’t like gandules, you can add black beans.
SEASONING AND HERBS
- Seasonings: In Puerto Rico, and in many Latin households, Adobo and Sofrito are essential in our kitchens. For me, it is important to use organic and good-quality ingredients. That’s why I use the brand Loisa, the blends are delicious and organic and their sofrito is very good. If you are looking to make your own sofrito, check out my Puerto Rican Sofrito recipe.
- Herbs and veggies: I like using cilantro, recao (culantro), chopped peppers, and onions as a base with my sofrito. Also, you can add any vegetable like green beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, or any other. My abuela liked using canned mixed vegetables but I prefer fresh.
ARE YOU MAKING THIS PUERTO RICAN PASTELON RECIPE?
If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment and don’t forget to take a picture and share it on my Facebook page or tag it #thehungrydragonfly on Instagram! I love seeing your delicious creations!
Puerto Rican Pastelon - Vegan Recipe
- 4-5 yellow plantains yellow and very ripe
- 1-2 cups frying oil *see notes
- 2 tbsp olive oil see notes for oil free
- 1/2 cup sofrito
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1/2 green pepper chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup mushrooms chopped
- 1 1/2 cup TVP of beefless crumbles *see notes
- 1 can gandules *pigeon peas
- 1/2 tsp dry cilantro
- 1/2 tsp dry oregano
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- 1 handful recao (culantro) chopped
- to taste adobo and sazon
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups tomato sauce or marinara
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pack vegan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 oven proof baking dish to assemble pastelon later.
- Using a knife carefully cut off both ends of each plantain. Using the tip of the knife, slit down the back of the plantain to peel it.
- Placing your hands flat over the peeled plantains, slice the plantain into ⅛ to ¼ inch thick slabs by running the knife down the length of the plantain. Repeat the process for each plantain.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Fry plantains on one side for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Carefully flip plantains using tongs. Set aside fried plantains while you make the picadillo.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add sofrito, onions, peppers, and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Add mushrooms, TVP or beefless crumbles, gandules and stir to combine.
- Then add dry cilantro, dry oregano, fresh cilantro, recao, adobo and sazon. Stir to combine.
- Add vegetable broth, 1 cup of tomato sauce, and bay leaf. Cook for about 8-10 minutes allowing picadillo to come to a simmer.
Assemble the Pastelon
- Create a base layer of plantain slices at the bottom of your baking dish. Sprinkle some cheddar shreds on the layer.
- Top vegan cheese with a layer of picadillo mixture. Next, add some tomato sauce (like when you are making lasagna) and top with more cheese.
- Repeat the steps to add another layer.
- Finally, top the dish with a layer of plantain slices. Add tomato sauce and vegan cheese. Sprinkle some cilantro.
- Bake your pastelon for about 25-30 minutes. Once the pastelon is done, sprinkle more vegan cheese on top and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pastelon from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve pastelon with more veggies or white steamed rice.