This is an exercise in rejecting reality.


Today is not Monday.

You will wake up at 10 am.  And the whole day will be ahead of you.


You will not have to sit in a lecture hall.  Or stand over in a cadaver in an anatomy lab trying to differentiate one anatomical landmark from another.  You will certainly not have to learn all of the cranial nerves, all of their branches, and all of their endpoints.

I mean, really.  That would just be crazy.


You will not be a medical student.  You just. Will.  Not.

End of story.

You will not be asked fifty times by people who you have not thought about once in three months, how your summer was.  You will not smile and answer, “Relaxing.  Low key.  Happy.  How was yours?”


You will not wish that you could go back three months.  To the beginning.  And do it all over again.

You will not wish that because you won’t need to.  You are on a permanent vacation, baby.  Live it up.

You are on a plane headed to Puerto Rico.  You are going to sip tropical drinks by a pool and eat nothing but plantains and yucca for three months straight.  You are going to meet your new Latin lover.  And have the kind of relationship like they have in the movies.  Fun, carefree, no strings attached.

(Your mother will not remind you constantly that you don’t have time for Latin lovers.  You need to get serious.  Find the one.  Like, now.  Pronto.  Yesterday, in fact, would have been ideal.)

Yeah.  That would be the life.  Maybe.  Someday.

But for now.

For now, while you do in fact have to wake up and go to class and plunge a scalpel into some unsuspecting cadaver’s neck until you find something that resembles the subclavian artery.  At least you can dream.

And eat pastelon.  A lasagna that is at once sweet, salty, savory, tangy.  Delicious. Truly an explosion of flavor in every bite.  The thought of which might just get you through your first day back at school.  Maybe.  Possibly.  Hopefully.

You have until tomorrow night to email me your recipes for REGIONAL RECIPES: PUERTO RICO


Pastelon or Sweet Plantain Lasagna
Serves 4, adapted from The Noshery

1/2 lb grass-fed, local beef
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tsp adobo
2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 envelope sazon
2 bay leaves
8 green stuffed olives, halved
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup tomato sauce
4 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced into strips
3 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray or grease it with butter.

2. Combine beef, onion, pepper, garlic, oregano, adobo, sazon, cilantro and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Mix well.

3. In a medium, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil.  Saute the beef mixture, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until brown.  Add in the tomato sauce and raisins.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Set aside.

4. In another nonstick skillet, fry the plantain strips until brown on both sides until slightly crispy, 2-3 minutes, either by lining the pan with vegetable oil or cooking spray (guess what I did).  Drain on a plate with a paper towel and set aside.

5. To assemble the pastelon, layer half of the plantain strips on the bottom of the pan.  Cover with all of the beef and a layer of cheese.  Top with the remaining half of the plantain strips.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs together with the 2 tbsp of milk.  Pour over the top of the baking pan and allow to sit for a minute so that the egg sinks in.  Top with a final layer of cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Allow to sit for a few minutes after removing from the oven so it will slice more cleanly.

This is my submission to Regional Recipes: Puerto Rico!  And also to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted over at Once Upon A Feast!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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99 Responses to Pastelon – Puerto Rican Sweet Plantain Lasagna

  1. Marisa says:

    LOVE this!!! Just look at all that plantain-y, raisin-y, olive-y goodness. Now whyohwhyohwhyohwhy can I not get hold of plantains in this neck of the woods? :-/

  2. Simply Life says:

    I love plantains and have never seen anything like this – looks amazing! I’m just dreaming that I’m on my way now to PR to enjoy this 🙂

  3. Foodjunkie says:

    WOW! That looks like a dish which would definitely help me forget my reality of waking up at 4am to feed a VERY HUNGRY BABY.

  4. Giovanna says:

    I absolutely love it! This is gorgeous plantain lovin’ at it’s best : )


  5. girlichef says:

    Oh…that is a beauty!! I want to devour it…so bring some over when you come, okay 😉 {Ahem-cough-clears throat…} have fun back in class!

  6. Raina says:

    Wow! I have never seen anything like this. I love plantains and I know I would love this with all of those amazing flavors going on in there.

    Reality bites..lol Every ounce of your hard work will pay off for sure:)

    Gross anatomy..yikes…you sound like your an old pro already, though. When my brother went to dental school, he would tell about his day, and I would listen to the GA stories, mostly head and neck for him, with pure fascination and a little envy too. I went to hairdressing school..lol

  7. You are a genius! You really are. This is simple a slice of heaven!

  8. Stella says:

    Hey Joanne! I hope your’e doing well with your vacationing and such…
    It’s funny that you posted this. All week, I’ve been thinking about how much I love banana and plantains, etc. They are definitely my favorite fruit over all. And this recipe is very new and wonderful to me. I might have to try this…!

  9. Mary says:

    This is something really outside the box and I love it. You really are creative and come up with some wonderful recipes. I hope you have a fabulous day. Blessings…Mary

  10. I so want to try this!! It looks awesome!

    Sad the vacation is over!

  11. Oh My! I really have to get that book you were mentionning and explore Puerto Rican cuisine! Plantains are so awesome! A plantain lasagna (-meat, for me) sound heavenly!!

  12. elra says:

    This is really look delicious Joanne, I never seen anything like this before. Very exotic and unique.

  13. This looks awesome! I’m still thinking about the latin lover though…

  14. This is a very unique lasagna Joanne. The vacation is over but jyst think of all you will be learning.

  15. Pierce says:

    Anything with plantains!!! Love them. That’s a cool cooking site you have focusing on regional recipes.

  16. Dawn says:

    Wow! I never would have thought to do a plantian lasagna but I know I would love it!

  17. Victoria K. says:

    Wow, this looks exceptionally awesome!! Great job and good luck with classes, ahem, I mean you trip to Puerto Rico 😉

  18. surely very interesting…

  19. Radhika says:

    Love plantains and this cheesey Puerto rican dish is gorgeous

  20. Bob says:

    I’ve never seen anything like that before, it looks amazing.

  21. Beautiful dish. My Rican wifey loves pastelon. Bravo!

  22. I’d suggest dipping into this delicious dish, hit the bed and dream on! And, like your mother, tell you to forget about Latin lovers and find some nice boy who also loves to cook, does his own laundry (and sometimes yours) and knows what a vacuum cleaner is for!


  23. Katerina says:

    You made such a lovely dish from Puerto Rico. I love its flavors. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take part on this, as I have been extremely busy lately and I have barely been able to blog and follow all my fellow bloggers. But I will take a rain check and try to participate on the next challenge. Good luck with the round up!I will be following.

  24. Mo Diva says:

    i LIVED for this when my friends mother would make it! good shit! lovely joanne! lovely!

  25. One of my favorite things about being a part of the blogging world is all the interesting foods that I would never otherwise have heard about or had a recipe for. Well at least until I decided to love out my tropical island fantasies ;p. Can I play this game too, by the way? “Tomorrow is NOT my first day back in college after 3 years where I will be surrounded by little kiddos SEVEN years younger than me (eep!)”

  26. Suman Singh says:

    You are just too good with the dishes you post..never seen or had anything like this before..looks amazing and delectable..lovely pics!

  27. Pam says:

    I don’t know how you do it… slicing a cadaver’s neck makes me seriously ill.

    The lasagna on the other hand, makes me seriously happy, hungry, and sad that you aren’t my neighbor, who loves nothing more than to bring me delicious meals every single day.

  28. Ty'sMommy says:

    Ooo I am so glad you made this! I was going back and forth between this and Tostones. I think you know which won.

  29. I never heard of this but it sure looks good!

  30. Shannon says:

    jeez louise, this looks heavenly. and i’m on the plane to puerto rico with you!!

  31. You always teach me some new foodie something or other! I would’ve never thought plantain lasagna so yay for being introduced to something new! Do you at least get to buy cool new school supplies?

  32. You’re 23? Please, you’ve got time. Go for the latin lover.

  33. Barbara says:

    What a super recipe, Joanne. Is there anything better than a plantain??

  34. Cristie says:

    You’ve taken lasagna to a new level. Never even considered something like this before, it looks just wonderful! Good luck in the lab, sounds like sooooo much fun.

  35. Ameena says:

    How do you come up with these amazing ideas? I LOVE plantains. Have you had the plantain chips from TJ’s? That is the closest I’ll ever get to this lasagna. Until I come visit of course!!

  36. sweetlife says:

    oh babe there is ALWAYS time for latin lovers..lol great lasagna, simply perfect!!


  37. RamblingTart says:

    Such a gorgeous dish, Joanne! I’d LOVE to be Puerto Rico right now!!! I’m longing for a vacation to, well, ANYWHERE, actually. 🙂

  38. This looks great! It sort of strikes me as the Puerto Rican version of Moussaka!

  39. Julie says:

    ugh thank you for reminding me that i need to leave for class in an hour. gross. i can’t believe it’s about to start.

  40. wow, what a nice twist! Love your version!

  41. Elizabeth says:

    Joanne, best wishes on your first day at school — I’m in awe of your work. So inspiring and a reminder to those of us not in school, that it’s important to stay curious and embrace the “otherness” of life. Plantain Lasagna — it’s new to me, and simply beautiful!

  42. Amy says:

    My goodness, doesn’t that look and sound exotic. What is sazon…a spice? I daydream about far away places, especially tropical, every day. Can’t remember when we last had a vacation. BUT, at least I don’t have to start school this week! Just consider your new semester fodder for blog posts.

  43. OMG I’m drooling! I love plantains… this looks fantastic! Please mail me leftovers.

  44. Faith says:

    Wow, this dish is a beauty! I love the use of plaintains in it. I hope your first day goes well, Joanne!

  45. I like your train of thought! Sorry you have to go back 🙁 But just think, only 4 days until the weekend. During which I’m sure you’ll have loads of studying to do. Oops, sorry! 🙂

    However, this pastelon should make things somewhat better, right?


  46. grace says:

    how creative! i know nothing of plaintains other than what they look like, which is more than some people can say, right? 🙂

  47. omg yum. never had anything like this but it sounds amazing!

  48. Jen says:

    wow, I love, love this, so does my PR honey 🙂 yours looks amazing!

  49. Monet says:

    I have never made anything with plantains, even though I’ve eaten quite a few tasty dishes. I am feeling you with going back to school…it is hard! I’m still trying to snap out of summer mode!

  50. I love plaintains, and this dish sounds divine! Thanks too for another hysterically funny post, and happy back-to-school Monday 🙂

  51. This looks like a nice little vacation for the senses, at least! Yummy!

  52. Juliana says:

    How interesting…never even heard of plantain lasagna…the combination of ingredients sound so interesting…must taste really good 🙂

  53. Deborah says:

    I’m still full from dinner, but this is making me hungry!!

  54. Wow! That is a spectacular dish!

  55. OohLookBel says:

    All that talk of cadavers is making me hungry – not really! We don’t get many plantains here, so I will just drool over that gorgeous recipe and the lovely photos.

  56. sophia says:

    Excuse my language…but holy. effing. SHIT. This is THE bomb. I’m just so bowled over by this fantastic dish that I’m just spewing out spit and tears of lust.

    By the way, why are you still studying to cut humans up? Don’t you prefer to cut into a chicken? Or in this case, a plantain? Go sign up for your own cooking show already.

  57. tigerfish says:

    I don’t know how you manage to do all that. With lectures, vacation, cooking..and you can cook around the world – you are good with regional recipes 🙂

  58. teresa says:

    so pretty and so original, i just love it!

  59. We need to be participating in this! Even if only to eat awesome foods from even more different cultures. This is a pretty awesome recipe. Looks like you found your plantains!

  60. This lasagna with plantains is fantastic, I would love to try this very soon!

  61. Jess says:

    Ugh, cranial nerves. Bad memories. I was prying and poking and pulling, looking for a particular nerve… then suddenly, I had managed to tear three nerves completely out. Oh god, give me another brain! I need to pretend I never touched this one! Still, that was better than the time I dropped a liver on my textbook. I don’t think anyone wants bits of human liver mushed onto the pages of their textbook…

    I wish I could buy plantains, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them. Just like I don’t think I’ve ever seen yuzu fruit, but god, I would pay good money for one. Plantain lasagna will have to exist only in my imagination for now…

  62. we have a dish called arroz ala cobana back home, (i don’t know why it’s called arroz when there;s no rice in the recipe) but anyways, the dish is made of ground beef with plantain on top.. but not as much as plantains that you have here… i think im rambling here, but i hope you get my drift.. that plantains is crazy.. crazy good and it’s distracting me! haha!

  63. Looking delicious. Never knew that one could make lasagna with plantains..

  64. love this post! so delicious + well written.

    xo Alison

  65. Kristen says:

    You always come up with the best entries for that Regional Recipes blog. It’s uncanny!
    This “lasagna” sounds amazing.

  66. Biren says:

    Joanne, you are so creative! Your plantain lasagna sounds delicious.

  67. Kris says:

    Yum! This takes me back to PR!

    ps I am away this weekend but once fall roles in things will hopefully slow down and we can meet up! :o)

  68. The Mom Chef says:

    Please tell your mom that the whole reason I followed your name to your blog is because you mentioned sperm count and Latin lovers so whatever you’re doing is working.

    This looks wonderful. It’s the Latin lasagna comfort food just like Moussaka is for us Armenians. Anyhow, glad I found your blog….I love how you write.

  69. Megan says:

    I have been looking for a lasagna recipe to try. This one sounds interesting and delicous! I like how unique this is. I just need to get some plantains. 🙂

  70. I really have to stop looking at your site before eating lunch. It always makes me incredibly hungry! Love the creativity of this recipe… now I just have to get my hands on some plantains

  71. omg i can’t WAIT to try this!

  72. S. says:

    Oh my goodness, shut the front door.

    I’ve never heard of this before. I LOVE plantains. LOVE THEM. I definitely need to try this.

  73. S. says:

    PS. I’m all about Latin lovahs.

  74. wow! This is a very alluring dish! the plantains remind me of our eggplants here and the whole layering is so enticing and irresistible.

  75. Pam says:

    Ummmm!!! It looks delicious! I love plantains and must try this with its great combo of ingredients!

  76. kickpleat says:

    Wow, this is so unusual. I’m sure my husband – a plantain lover, will so want to eat this up!

  77. Laura says:

    Yummy! Always looking for something to do with plantains other than frying them. Will try this one, thanks!

  78. Time to give up med school and become a chef.

  79. Lea Ann says:

    I have to get more familiar with plantains. Had them once and loved them.

  80. Jessie says:

    Hmm, I think SOMEONE’S feeling a little blue ’bout school? You can do it, Joanne! You are MASTER of that lecture hall and cadaver! OWN IT!! (And make time for fun, if possible 🙂 ).

    Maybe if you make your professors this creative and delicious-looking plantain lasagna, they’ll let you skip the rest of anatomy 😀

  81. Carolyn Jung says:

    OMG! Sweet plaintains smothered in gooey cheese and meat sauce? I love the pasta-version of lasagna, but this looks like it might just trump that.

  82. Martha (MM) says:

    Yep, OMG says it all! 🙂

  83. Reeni says:

    Who needs a Latin lover when there’s this? Since I love all things lasagna I have no choice but to love it! Summer went by too fast…I feel your back to school pain…

  84. Kim says:

    I think this lasagna is a very good way of coping with the back to school blues! This is the kind of recipe that really excites me because it’s something new, unique, fun and ultimately looks wonderful.

    Thanks also for the link to The Noshery. Always fun to find a new blog to love 🙂

  85. Esi says:

    Of all the ways to enjoy plantain, I would have never thought to do lasagna. Sounds interesting.

  86. JOanne, I want this dish soooo badly… great recipe and what a change from eggplant or zucchini. Really great recipe!!!

  87. Wow, never thought of making plantain in to lasagna! This is great genius idea. I like the gooey cheese, now I want to go back to school so I can have this for lunch! I probably have to make my own lunch now though as I am grown up 😛

  88. Debinhawaii says:

    What a creative use of plantains–this looks really delicious!

  89. Chris says:

    Joanne’s pick up line for her Latin lover, “Is that a plantain in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.”

    Your lasagna looks like the layers of textures are perfect.

  90. Ruth Daniels says:

    What a totally awesome and absolutely gorgeous dish! Even though there are no “real” noodles, I love this for Presto Pasta Nights.

  91. Chef Dennis says:

    this is truly an amazing dish! I am just blown away by it!

  92. Claudia says:

    Cute Joanne. You mean you can’t wait to stick a knife into another cadaver? Why, I wonder. Ha.

    You get the award for intriguing pasta dish. We can get those plantains here, but what is sazon, and I’ve made chicken adobo, and pork adobo, but didn’t know there was a spice called adobo. Is there an equivalent?

  93. pajamachef says:

    wowsers! that looks beautiful! (and i agree- boo on school. this week’s been killer!)

  94. This looks sooooooooo good!! I hope second year is treating you well 🙂

  95. Plantains..green olives..raisins..I think I may have died and gone to heaven. Holy smokes! Your photos are making me drool.

  96. Cara says:

    Raisins?! How could you not mention this in the post – they put this right over the top for me! I wonder if the plantain strips could be roasted or grilled instead of frying? hmm. Not even just for the health factor- moreso because I am lazy and really dislike frying.

  97. I enjoy plantains but I think I’ve only had them fried in various ways. I love the idea of using them in a lasagna like this! I hope your first couple of weeks of classes have been okay!

  98. Oh

    This is incredibally yummy! I have to surprise my family with this. Great recipe!

  99. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE it!!! Thanks for sharing… the only comment I have is why oh why if you are so health conscious are you using Sazon? Sazon uses MSG as an ingredient.. there are many health dangers associated with MSG. Just an observation… I know that all the abuelitas out there didn’t have a store bought sazon loaded with MSG that they used in their cooking… deep frying the plantains would probably be healthier than using sazon.

    Do a search for “msg side effects” here’s a site to review

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