Turkey Pastelón is a latin lasagna made of strips of sweet plantain layered with savory picadillo and cheese. It’s that sweet salty thing that makes it taste SO good!
Turkey Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
Lasagnas are such a treat. A few of favorites are Noodle-less Butternut Sausage Lasagna, Veggie Lasagna Zucchini Boats, and Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna. And if you want a more savory plantain recipe using green bananas these Air Fryer Tostones are a must!
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!
More Plantain Recipes You Will Love
Turkey Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
For the Turkey Picadillo:
- 1.25 lb 93% lean ground turkey
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 to mato, 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.
118 comments on “Turkey Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)”
This is one of my favorite recipes ever. It’s a lot of work and I am horrible at peeling plantains even when they are ripe. The flavor is unmistakably delicious. Savory and rich and make a you feel good – what a comfort food! I make this once a yea for my family and the hardest part is waiting for the plantains to ripen.
I WISH I KNEW THIS BEFORE MAKING IN ADVANCE: DONT DO IT!!! The plantains become hard and rubbery and there is nothing you can do about it. TIP: iff you want to make this in advance, simply make the meat filling and store it in the refrigerator. Make sure you use Saxon and Adobo seasoning salt. Please don’t leave out the capers…trust me. PLEASSSEEE prepare the plantains on the day you plan to serve the Pastelón. Enjoy!!!
One more thing…use beef
I loved the flavor profile of this recipe. I didn’t use the sweet plantains and regret it because the plantain became very dense following cooking.
This was amazing!!! My whole family devoured it! I used 98% lean ground beef instead of turkey and it was beyond delicious!
This is FANTASTIC!!! I used turkey and beef, and capers. I’m not sure how the other two options will taste, but the scent changed after adding the capers and brine so I believe it had a significant impact on the taste. I’d never cooked with plantains before and they did not disappoint. My husband and I struggled not to eat the whole thing! Can’t wait to make this again!!
PS I’m guessing a mandoline slicer would speed things up and make better slices. Anyone recommend a good affordable one for slicing lengthwise?
Here in Dominican Republic we make that dish with ripe plantain and grilled eggplant… you should try! I think you’ll love it!
It’s my husband absolutelly favorite!
If I was to make this with leftover crockpot picadillo, how many cups do you think I would need for the full recipe? I have been dying to make this for a LONG time but your picadillo recipe tastes so great over rice we keep eatingt the leftovers that way! Thank you for some awesome recipes!
I’m not sure in terms of cups. Youre welcome!
I was so excited to try this that I jumped the gun and used unripe plantains (I think…it’s my first time cooking with plantains). It was delicious! But, the plantains tasted just like potatoes. The dish didn’t taste sweet…I’m assuming if the plantains were ripe it would be sweeter?? Regardless it was GREAT!!! ?
Yes, they should be ripe, you will know when they are yellow and black. The riper the sweeter.
Made this tonight and it was delicious. I will definitely make it again. As with all recipes that are made from scratch, this one does take a bit of prep, but it is so worth it. Thank you for sharing.
I wanted to share, that I make one similar wow
Look so delicious!i want to have them!
Has anyone actually made this? I see lots of people like the idea and want to try it. Mine is in the oven. I sliced the plantains with the skin still on, seemed to make it easier 🙂
Easy to follow recipe (and the pictures helped!). I added a few more spices like chili powder and cayenne pepper to bring slightly more heat to the dish. I also used a can of Rotel instead of a fresh tomato (that's what I had on hand at the time) and substituted with regular sharp cheddar instead of reduced fat. My version yielded 7 servings (9 oz apiece). My boyfriend is still raving about the dish days later!
so nice, Add the chopped onions, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro and continue cooking on a low heat.
You could use the frozen Goya Baked Plantains, they are very ripe & sweet
I just had this dish in a Puerto Rican restaurant, but they used pulled pork– have you ever tried that? would it change the calories? would you use the same seasoning in the Picadillo? We LOVED this dish and I want to make it at home and "lighten" it up a bit!! Love your recipes Gina…
let me just say that I dont really think I've had many Cuban dishes ever. I made this tonight mostly bc it just looked so good on your blog!! Well, not only is this a beautiful dish but omg I can't believe how much wonderful flavors and textures are in this!! My husband and all five of my kids loved it!! Thank you!!! So good!
This. Looks. FREAKING. AWESOME!
I'm from the caribbean (Curacao) and I just made this recipe for lunch tomorrow. Just opened the oven and…….WOW (eyes rolling, angels singing). Couldn't resist and dropped a fork in it…..and folks…..this is AWSOME! Tnx Gina, this is nothing else than soul food.
Made it this week! It was a hit with my husband, my parents and myself of course! So delicious! Thanks! I always appreciate the Latin dishes! (Cuban/Colombian from Miami lol)
I wanted to share, that I make one similar to this but use 2 boxes Goya Baked Ripe Plantains (freezer section) & put 1 can french-style green beans in my meat & microwave caserole (covered w saran-wrap) for 10mins. Saves time while still keeping recipe light & nutritious.
Gina! This was so good! My family loved it. My picky husband even had two helpings. Thanks for all the great recipes.
Has anyone tried this yet with the other turkey piccadillo recipe? Did it work? How much did you use? My family loves piccadillo and it freezes so well so I make a huge batch and freeze some for a busy night.
I truly can not wait to try this. I make the piccadillo almost weekly as my "go to" meal for I always have everything on hand.
I have picadillo in the freezer from when I made it last week. How much do I need for this recipe?
Gina, do you have an idea roughly how much picadillo goes into this dish? I doubled the recipe for your picadillo last night anticipating that it would be great, and in retrospect I should have divided the recipe in half before eating, but I couldnt put my fork down after the first taste. After dinner for two and a lunch, I have about 4 cups left, but that seems like too much for this dish, however I wouldnt complain if it wasnt. Thanks, this was awesome.
I made this last night and even though I forgot an egg white it was amazing. I could have ate the whole pan. My family dies not like plantain but I love them. I cut up the leftovers and froze them for easy lunches.
I love pastelon !! My fav !
This looks amazing! I am definitely going to give this a try. 🙂 How do you think it would work with cauliflower or eggplant in place of the meat?
As the child of two Puerto Ricans, I've always wondered about your connection to the Puerto Rican cuisine. Glad to finally know its from spending many summers there (as did I!). I myself have tried over the years to find "lighter" versions of my favorite recipes – arroz con pollo, habicuelas, pernil! I love that you provide so many of them here for me. Can't wait to try this one out as well and thanks for the delicious recipes – both Puerto Rican and not!
Can I make one and freeze it, will the plantains defrost ok? Thanks!
This looks divine. I live in Mexico and we have a couple dishes with plantains that are super delish, but I have never seen this before! My toddler wants lasagna (she hasnt ever had it before, so wont know the difference if I make it with something other than nooodles) for her birthday thia week, I am thinking about making this!
Also, I love platanos fritos , but A) they are fried and B) I cant fry anything to save my life. Cn I cook the poantains the same way you did here to make those you think? Or do I need to cook them longer to make sure they are cooked through?
I heat up my nonstick frying pan and spray it with my Misto Olive oil sprayer them I put the platanos in the hot pan and reduce the heat and cover so they steam first, when I see that they are soft I raise the flame to brown them, so much better and not full of grease
it looks delicious ~~ I want to eat it ~~
Have you tried this with ground chicken? Do you think it would alter the taste too much?
I think it would be fine!
Have this is the oven now, I used 1-lb. Organic 93% Ground beef instead of Turkey, can't wait to try it for lunch today, thanks again Gina for all the great and delicious recipes!
Thank you for this! I can't wait to try it. I was raised in the Northeast, but married a Puerto Rican, and I would love to make more of his traditional comfort foods. Do you have any other slimmed down Puerto Rican recipes? Love that I know I can find all these ingredients as we live in an area without a large hispanic influence.
I have lots of hispanic recipes in general, there is a latin link on the right
Gina, I'm going to make this tonight but I have one problem.. I do not have a 9×9 baking dish.. I have 8×8 and 9×13.. if I did 9×13 would it still be a 9th of it? HELP!! 😀
it would still be 1/9th but it will just be less layers
Thank you, it was amazing.. as always! 🙂
I would like a bite!!! thanks for sharing the recipe!
We are all over this this weekend!! If you haven't thought of it, I think it would be awesome if you could tag your Cuban-inspired recipes. My boyfriend doesn't crave much of anything, but he grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and I'm learning that I can never go wrong with a Cuban dish. Love this recipe!
I have my Latin dishes tagged on the right. We all cook pretty similar so I am sure he will enjoy them all.
WOW this is such an interesting recipe! Will definitely have to try it!
OMG I love pastel de maduro! I'm from Venezuela so we call ripe plantains "maduros" o plátanos maduros, i LOVE them and eat them roasted and as tajadas (i do it with a little coconut oil) several times a week as my lunch carb. I'm a HUGE fan Gina, i think i've done like 200 of your recipes and learned to cook XD Thank you!
Do you think this could be made Paleo/Primal by using Coconut Milk instead without changing the taste too much?
Sure! Leave the cheese out : )
This Gringa LOVES Plantains. I learned to eat them when I lived in Venezuela in 1983 / 84. With our large Hispanic community in the northern Central Valley of California…they are plentiful. Just gotta see if this will work as the "Lean" of my Medifast Lean & Green meal. Keeping my fingers crossed!
This sounds great. From reading comments, this is a dish many are familiar with but it's new to me. So, my question Gina, and others familiar with it, how would it be to add some sliced sauteed zucchini to get more veggies into this dish.
You can also dice it up and add it to the meat. Thats how my mom hid veggies from us…
I would add the zucchini to the meat when your cooking it! sometimes what I do to give patelon a different flavor for my kids is season the meat "italian" style, how i would season ground beef for a lasagna and use mozzarella and munster cheese. I'm Dominican so instead of frying the sweet plantains we let our sweet plantains ripen much further, like extra extra sweet! We then boil them and mash them with butter (kind of like mashed potatoes) when there done cooking. Since we use mashed sweet plantains we don't need the milk and egg add in.
Have you ever made this ahead, like the day before, and then baked it the next evening? Would that work?
I think it would work out perfectly.
Gina, where did you get your little casserole dish from? It's very cute!
Bed Bath and Beyond 🙂
I am Puerto Rican and my grandmother never made this with cheese, but I do have to admit it looks like a delicious addition. It's my husband's favorite dish, so I may just have to "sacrifice" and make it for him this weekend =) Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for a lighter version of food that I love so much. I would never make this before because it was so fat laden. Now I can have and share a favorite dish of mine guilt free.
OH MY GOSH! So excited! My grandmother used to make this for me around the holidays – I'm so grateful for a healthier version. This might make it to the Thanksgiving table 🙂
The zucchini lasagna and the eggplant rollatini were both incredible….are you sure about this one? Can't quite wrap my mine around it, but you've never let me down.
Yes, I am!!!!
I can't wait to try this version. This is one of my favorite dishes!! I need a mandolin because my slicing skills are not so great!
You read my mind, Gina. I have been thinking of this dish for awhile but held back due to calories and fatty factor. Im Dominican and my mom made this dish throughout my childhood, however, she would mash the sweet plantains and make layers with that, but you have, ONCE AGAIN,blown my mind. Thank God for you!
wow, this looks so interesting Im curious how it taste.. I love fried plantains
For Mofongo, I usually boil the green plantains and then I fry them. Just for 2 mins or less to toast them a little. I add olive oil garlic salt and pepper to the boiled mix and make balls and fry them. so yummy!!!
I am Puerto Rican and this is one of our comfort food indeed!! You can find many varieties of this same dish around the island. We call it Pinon in the east part of the island, for example. I usually mash the plantains and add a little butter to the mix, then I layer it as you did. You still need the eggs in my opinion. It is super yummy!!!! We also make the same dish but with other roots like yucca, taro… so good!!
I'm going to try mashing it next time!
I forgot to mention. By mashing the plaintains you don't need to add the milk and eggs. Saves on calories.
Going to have to try that!
Yum this is one of my favorites but in my house, we're Dominican, my mom would add raisins to the picadillo. Instead an equal mix of plaintains that were yellow and some extremely ripe were boiled and mashed with some butter and the water they were boiled in (not all of the water but added bit by bit), just enough to make it the consistency of mashed potatoes maybe a little firmer. Then layered starting with the plaintains adding the meat and then another layer of plaintains. Think shepard's pie..
Sounds so good
I'm Dominican as well and this is how we make it too! Mashing it, almost like mangu with very very ripe plantains. Only change is I use munster cheese.
Gina, this looks amazing!! I grew up eating pastelon… its one of my favorites. However, my family usually mashes the plantains (like mashed potatoes). I can't wait to try your receipe.
That's interesting, kind of like a shepards pie 🙂
This looks fantastic. I don't like olives though, does the dish have a strong olive taste?
No you really don't taste them (chop them) they add so much flavor, it really needs it IMO
While I LOVE plantains, my husband does not. Is there any chance bananas would work in this recipe at all? Or would it just be too mushy?
I'm not sure, they may get too mushy.
Gina, does this taste anything like Mofongo? I have been looking for a simple Mofongo recipe and can't find any!
No, mofongo doesn't use sweet plantains. It uses the green ones (fried at that) but I bet you would like this!
Thanks Gina! Do you have a healthy version of Mofongo you can share? I have had Mofongo con Pollo and I need to find out how to make it!!
Looks amazing. I am following a paleo regiment and this is quite a satisfying dish! I lightly fried my maduros in coconut oil and it took forever. A friend of mine, who makes pastelon often, recommend boiling the plantains. She said once everything bakes, you cant even taste the difference. I like it for time saving it provides, but it make it just a little healthier.
I spray my skillet with my Misto olive oil sprayer and cover them so the steam cooks them with less oil, then when they are soft I remove the cover and raise the heat to brown the Platanos, hope this helps.
My parents are from El Salvador so platanos were a must have growing up. But we ate them with cream, Salvadoran cheese, and refried black beans. I'm going to have to make this because I've never had them any other way. Thanks for this post!
My family is puerto rican, and what I miss most about not living near them is my grandmother's cooking! This looks fantastic and I plan to make it as soon as I can. Have you ever tried making a lightened up version of pastelillos or stuffed potatoes?
Yes, but I haven't posted them, crab is my favorite!
Wow!!! Thanks!! A woman after my own heart!
I LOVE your turkey picadillo but we don't usually mix meat and cheese together for dietary reasons. Would this be good without the cheese/eggs/milk ?
Sure, not as cheesy but it would still taste great. The eggs help bind it a bit, so it might be a little messy when you cut it.
You can make these in individual ramekins without the cheese and meat, so that you don't have to worry about slicing it up and it falling apart. Check out the my post. http://delishdlites.com/2013/09/20/guilt-free-pastelon-sweet-plantain-lasagna/
Where do you find plantains? I never seem to see them at the supermarket. i live in morris county, nj, if that helps.
They are always with the bananas in my supermarket, ask someone in produce.
You can find em' at Wal-Mart :D.
New jersey has a big hispanic community, I would check your local spanish markets
Wow, I've never seen this! I live in Orlando and Puerto Rican food is pretty normal around here, so I'm surprised. Looks awesome!
Did you cut the plantains with a mandolin? I fail as a Puerto Rican because cannot seem to cut themn like so!
Yes, I do (I should have mentioned that) but you could also use a knife.
I have terrible knife skills and cut the plantain in half (across the width) make two shorter plantains. Then i was able to slice with a long thin knife. The slices werent perfect but they got the job done. (in case you dont have a mandolin)
Pastelon is my all-time favorite Puertorrican dish. My abuela made one that was to die for, but you are right, it can be pretty heavy and fat-laden. I will definitely try this version. Oh, forgot to mention, we would eat this with her homemade arroz y habichuelas rojas (white rice and red beans).
OMG I totally want to try this! Just one question though: What exactly is brine? You mention it in the instructions, but not in the ingredients…
"about 2 tbsp of the brine (this adds great flavor)"
Brine is the salty liquid that comes with the alcaparrado.
The brine is the liquid in the jar of alcaparrado olives.
Can't WAIT to try this! Looks so yummy!
Sounds fabulous!!! I might try with turkey sausage instead and omit green peppers. I'll let you know how it turns out! Can't wait!
This Scotch-Irish girl LOVES plantains – they're all I eat when I'm on vacation in the Caribbean – so I will definitely be trying this!
You'll love it!
Oh wow..I have to make this. This looks simply amazing!