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Pastelón is a classic Puerto Rican dish made with layers of thinly-sliced sweet plantains, ground meat, and cheese. Think of it as a Puerto Rican version of lasagna. It’s the perfect casserole to make for a potluck or family gathering! I‘m using Mazola® Corn Oil for this recipe. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, visit Mazola.com.
I’ve already decided that I had to choose a last meal, it would be pastelón. If you’ve ever had it, you know why. If you haven’t, put this on your bucket list now! Pastelón is a Puerto Rican version of lasagna. While pastelón is super delicious, I also know it’s not the kind of meal you should eat regularly. Since February is Heart Health Month, I decided to lighten up this traditional Puerto Rican recipe, with help from Mazola® Corn Oil! Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for your family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health. It has a variety of uses include baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing.
Instead of noodles, pastelón features sweet plantain slices, layer it up with deliciously savory picadillo and cheese, and the whole thing is baked into a bubbly, cheesy, gooey, amazing, ridiculous…I think you get it. I decided that I would lighten up this recipe 3 ways:
- I swapped deep frying with air frying my plantains by brushing them with Mazola Corn Oil
- I swapped ground beef for lean ground turkey for the picadillo
- Instead of a ton of cheese, I only used one cup total
Mazola Corn Oil has more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils – four times more than olive oil and one and a half times more than canola oil. Clinical studies indicate that when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, visit Mazola.com.
For the perfect pastelón , you want super, duper ripe plantains. They should mostly be black with spots of yellow, just like these. This will guarantee the sweetest plantains, which is essential for the sweet and salty combo that is the signature of this dish. I love to use a shortcut by using frozen sweet plantains, because they’re always perfectly ripe! Using my air fryer helps me make them super sweet and caramelized, without the heaviness of deep frying!
Once the plantains are cooked, I flatten them with the underside of a plate, so they spread out. Then I use them just like I would lasagna noodles, to layer into the dish. I use Mazola Corn Oil to grease the baking dish, to make sure that nothing sticks.
After covering the bottom of the pan with a layer of sweet plantains, I add half of the turkey picadillo, and 1/4 cup of shredded part skim mozzarella cheese. Then I repeat with another layer of plantains, picadillo, cheese, and top the pastelon with a final layer of sweet plantains.
To finish off this sweet plantain lasagna, I top it with the remaining cheese, and then pour two beaten eggs all over the top. This helps the casserole stay together when you cut it. And it’s a great way to avoid adding too much cheese, and swapping it with some extra protein!
Once the pastelón is baked and bubbly, you’re ready to slice it into servings, and dig in! I like serving pastelón with my Avocado, tomato and watercress salad to round out this comforting dish.
What healthy swaps do use in your favorite recipes? Comment below, and check out the Mazola website for more heart healthy recipe ideas!
Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
- 6-7 very ripe plantains almost all black
- Mazola Corn Oil for air frying and greasing the pan
- 1 recipe’s worth of picadillo
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 eggs beaten
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel the plantains like you would a banana, then slice each one into 5-6 pieces.
Brush with Mazola corn oil, then air fry at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until they're caramelized and cooked through. Flatten the cooked plantains with the underside of a plate.
Grease a 9" x 9" baking dish with corn oil and cover the bottom of the pan with slices of the cooked sweet plantain. Add half of the turkey picadillo, and 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.
Repeat with another layer of plantains, meat, and cheese (reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese). Top with a final layer of plantains.
Top with the remaining cheese, then pour the beaten eggs all over the top. Tip the pan back and forth to distribute the eggs.
Bake the pastelon at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, until the egg is set and the top of the pastelón is bubbly and golden brown.
Allow the pastelon to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into it and serving it up!