Introducing Vegan Plantain Lasagna (Pastelón)!
Have you guys ever heard of Pastelón?
It's a Caribbean casserole that is similar to lasagna, except it uses sweet fried plantains in place of the pasta. It's delicious because it's sweet, salty, and cheesy at the same time!
The original version includes ground meat, cheese, and butter. To replace the meat, I went with a simple bolognese with red lentils, mushrooms, and walnuts. The cheesiness comes from a quick and easy vegan cheese sauce.
This layered casserole consists of 3 layers: fried sweet plantains, lentil bolognese, and a cheesy sauce.
It starts with the bolognese: red lentils make the base, mushrooms, and walnuts bring more texture, and spices like cumin, oregano, and ground chili spice up everything. If you want to make this recipe nut-free, I recommend replacing the walnuts with scrambled tofu or tempeh.
When it comes to the plantains, make sure to use ripe ones, not the green ones. They must have black spots or, even better, be mostly black.
To prepare the plantains, you start by carefully peeling them. Then, using a sharp knife, slice them lengthwise into strips. You don't want the slices to be too thin or they will break during the frying process, or too thick, or they won't cook properly. Depending on the size of your bananas, you want to get 4-5 slices out of each plantain. The next step is to fry the plantain slices until golden brown.
To assemble the dish, arrange one layer of banana slices in the bottom of a baking dish, top with half of the lentil bolognese, another layer of bananas, and the remaining bolognese. Finally, top with a simple cheesy sauce and one last layer of plantains!
Bake for 30 minutes, and voilà!
If you are afraid this vegan plantain lasagna will be too sweet, don't worry! It does have some sweetness but less than you would probably believe. I find this vegan plantain lasagna to have less sweetness than baked beans, for example. It's definitely not overly sweet.
If you like sweet and salty dishes, don't miss this recipe! It's a nice twist on Italian lasagna. The combination of salty bolognese, cheesy sauce, and sweet plantains is simply delicious!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Vegan Plantain Lasagna (Pastelón)
- ½ cup red lentils or green lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 7-8 mushrooms diced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- ½ cup walnuts crushed (or scrambled tofu/tempeh)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 ripe plantains
- ¼ cup frying oil
- 1 and ½ cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 4 tablespoon white miso
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Rinse the lentils and place them in a saucepan. Add the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain excess water if needed. Set the cooked lentils aside.
- Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and red bell pepper, and cook for another 7-10 minutes or until red bell peppers are soft.
- Add the cooked red lentils, slightly crushed walnuts, oregano, cumin, chili powder, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and salt.
- Cook for about 5-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring regularly. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the bananas.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Carefully peel the plantain, trying not to break them. Slice the plantains length-wise into thin strips (I make about 4-5 slices per banana).
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, arrange the plantain slices in a single layer and fry for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate with paper towel to drain excess oil. Repeat with the remaining plantain slices. This step makes the plantains softer.
- Arrange a layer of plantain in a rectangular baking dish. Top with half of the filling. Repeat with another layer of plantains and the remaining filling.
- Prepare the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients together and whisk well until the cornstarch is dissolved. Heat over medium heat, whisking regularly until it starts to boil. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and pour over the filling in the baking dish.
- Top with one last layer of plantains and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Let cool a few minutes and serve with a salad on the side!
- Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350°F preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.
This is beautiful ! I am doing my best to spread this work of art !!!
Kim Ann Coffey
After living in Panama for a few years where plaintain is a staple....ohhhh...i am on this!! Thank you Tomas!!
You're welcome Kim 😉 Hope you will like it!
Can you freeze this? I meal prep so I usually make food to last the week.
Yes it can be frozen! Just let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the oven, in a baking dish covered with aluminum paper.
Looks delicious. Do not want to use oil. Do you have any alternative suggestions as to how to prepare the plantains without frying them?
I'm not sure as the frying step really brings flavor and makes the plantains softer. Maybe you could try slicing the plantains, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 min at 350°F. Brushing with a little bit of oil might help too.
Yup you can boil the plantains and mash them with a vegan butter and salt and then spread it between layers
sound like a plan as I don't use oil. will definitely try mashing and layering
Made this recipe and OMG it was delicious and easy to make!!! Love pastelon!!!
Thanks for your feedback Mabel! 🙂
I need to make this recipe.
This is fantastic! Everything came together without a hitch. I did not add any of the suggested extra salt, because the miso is pretty salt heavy and it was still delicious.
Thanks for your feedback Katelyn!
A co worker brought in a huge box of plantains to give away and so I made this dish to bring in and share. It was enjoyed by vegans and non vegans alike!
The cheesy sauce is delicious and the slight sweetness of the plantains was perfect.
I didn't have miso paste and could not find it, so I substituted soy sauce, and left out the extra salt.
Thanks Jessica! Glad you liked it 🙂 It sounds like a weird combination at first but it's delicious!
I just made this vegan pastelon and it is AMAZING! The lentil Bolognese is substantial and textured; it has a great "meaty" feel in my mouth. I used a can of diced tomatoes seasoned with chilis so I left out the chili powder. I added some whole and some diced Manzanilla olives, just because... that's what mi Mami would've done! While cooking the sauce, the cumin was the dominant aroma & I was afraid it might taste more like a chili for tacos instead of a sauce for lasagna but that was not the case in the final delish dish. I only had 2 plantains so I used 2 Chinese eggplants that I did have on hand (prepped the same way)--and it worked! 🙂 I didn't have all the ingredients for your cheese sauce so I substituted a basic cashew cheese sauce--and that worked, too. I sliced the plantains (& eggplants) with a mandolin (super thin) which greatly added to the prep time. I probably won't do that again (although the results were excellent--it made the dish way too labor-intensive). Wow! The sweet/savory yummy and satiating result of this recipe is an absolute winner. Your pastelon has been added to my vegan repertoire. Thanks for showing me the way!
Thank you so much for your amazing feedback JoLa! 🙂
Great recipe, thanks, we are very happy with the results. We boiled and mashed the plantains instead of frying them. Also added some authentic Caribbean sofrito and Spanish olives to the filling (my wife is Puerto Rican). Made our own cashew milk for the cheese sauce, which came out excellent! Didn’t have cornstarch so we used tapioca flour (four teaspoons) instead. Thank you very much for the recipe.
Thanks for your feedback Leif 🙂
Hello Thomas, I love plantain so want to try this recipe.
My question is can I use oat milk for the cheese sauce?
That should work!
This is excellent. The only changes we made were substituting sunflower seeds for the walnuts, and oat milk for the almond milk in the cheese sauce. Will definitely make again. Our family devoured it!
Thanks your sharing your tweaks Sam! 🙂
I followed this recipe precisely and it turned out really good! Thank you!!
Thanks for your feedback Christy!
this recipe sounds delicious ! Are you using regular plantains or sweet plantains?
I'm using semi-ripe plantains.
Hi. The recipe calls for nutritional yeast. A product I've never used. I noticed that it come in flakes and powder form. Which is the correct one for this recipe.
I always use flakes, but honestly most of the time the flakes look like a powder.
So, I finally attempted this and it was a success I didn't have mushroom at home so I used shredded carrots and kale and it was rich and filling. Next time I'll try it with mushroom.
Thank you for the recipe Thomas 🙂
Awesome! Happy to hear you liked it 🙂
Can i use something other than lentils like beyond meat ?
That should work well!
this looks and sounds delicious! planning to make it soon. do you know if i want to use arrowroot powder what the substitution amount would be? or if tapioca is better sub for cornstarch in this recipe, and if so the amount i should sub? thank you so much!!
Thanks Janet! Tapioca starch might give a slightly slimy texture, so I would probably try with arrowroot (using the same amount).
One of the most interesting and wacky recipes I've tried.
Can't remember how many people this was supposed to feed, but my partner and I devoured it between the two of us!
Thank you so much for your feedback Tina! I'm glad you liked this recipe 🙂