Turkey Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)

Sweet strips of plantains are layered with savory picadillo and cheese.
It’s that sweet salty thing that makes this taste SOOOO good!

It’s Hispanic heritage month and in it’s honor I thought this delicious Puerto Rican comfort dish (made light of course) would be an excellent recipe to honor it. My Mom is from Colombia, so we grew up eating plantains a lot in my home.

Plantains are like a cousin to the banana, and depending on the ripeness you’ll cook them in different ways. For this recipe, you’ll want them pretty ripe (they should be browned and soft). My plantains could have used a few more days to ripen, but I couldn’t wait, I needed to make this.

I spent many summers as a kid with Aunt and cousin who moved to paradise (Puerto Rico). Those were some of my best childhood memories and the food I ate their were some of my favorite meals. Pasteles, empanadillas, pernil – their food is like no other, and they cook with so much flavor, only sometimes they tend to be a little on the not-so-light side. But with a few tweaks I was able to make this dish lighter, I just used a little less oil to cook the plantain, and to further lighten it, I made the picadillo with turkey instead of beef, and part skim cheese and I think it’s just as good as the real deal – without the extra fat. To serve this, I sliced it into 9 slices and served it with a big salad on the side and my husband and I felt totally satisfied.

This is delicious (and gluten-free!), and now that it’s gone, I’m craving some more! I just bought more plantains and this time I’m letting them get really ripe. Enjoy!

Turkey Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
Servings: 9 • Size: 1/9th slice • Points +: 7 pts • Smart Points: 9
Calories: 282 • Fat: 9 g • Carb: 30 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 20 g • Sugar: 13 g
Sodium: 314 mg (without the salt) • Cholesterol: 21 g


For the Turkey Picadillo:

  • 1.25 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 4 oz (1/2 can) tomato sauce
  •  kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp alcaparrado (capers or green olives would work too)

For the Pastelon:

  • cooking spray (I used my mister)
  • 4 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 large egg whites, beaten
  • 2 tbsp fat free milk
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese


Brown the ground turkey on medium heat in large sauté pan and season with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces.

Add the chopped onions, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro and continue cooking on a low heat. Add alcaparrado (or olives and capers) and about 2 tbsp of the brine (this adds great flavor) cumin, oregano, bay leaves, and more salt if needed. Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water and mix well. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered about 15 minutes.

Preheat to oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with oil.

Heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. When hot spray with oil to lightly coat the bottom. Cook plantains for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden; set aside.

Assemble by layering the plantains, then the cooked turkey picadillo, then about 1/4 cup of cheese and repeat. You want to finish with a layer of plantains. Beat the egg and egg whites with 2 tbsp of milk and pour over the pastelón to help bind everything, letting it sit for a minute or two to soak in.

Top off with the remaining cheese. Cover tight with foil and bake in the oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until completely heated through. Cut into 9 equal pieces and serve.