This Turkey Pastelon (Sweet Plantain Lasagna) is a crowd favorite with melty cheese, sweet plantains, and savory meat. Make it for your next potluck and wow your friends!
Recently, while visiting Christian in Gainesville, we ate dinner at a Latin restaurant downtown named Emiliano’s. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in Gainesville – they’ve got such a hodgepodge of hispanic cuisine, including Cuban, my very biased favorite. The two dishes I always order at Emiliano’s are the Ropa Vieja or the Pastelon. Their Pastelon is a little different, however. At least from the version I make at home. It’s a tower of shredded chicken, rice, plantains, and melted cheese, and it’s freaking delectable.
Over a year ago, I adapted this recipe from Skinnytaste (one of my favorite food blogs!). It was a major hit in my house at the time, and I’ve made it countless times since – still in love! To be frank, the recipe I adapted was relatively complicated, so I lazy’d it down a bit. You know me, folks.
Although this recipe is a bit laborious for a weeknight meal (weeknight meal defined, to me, as throw it together and eat), it is a great make ahead option. I would make a large batch of this on a Sunday, or even double the recipe and make two – one to feed the family at Sunday supper, and one to eat the rest of the week. Because, trust me, you’ll want it all week.
It’s such a delectable combination of sweet plantains, salty turkey, refreshing cilantro, acidic tomatoes, crunchy onions and peppers. If there was such thing as a party in your mouth, this Pastelon would be the main attraction. Just sayin’.
This is actually a repurpose of an old post – this recipe was originally shared here in April 2015! Let’s take a look at the old photos…
Still a household favorite!
If you’ve never tried plantains, I think this is a great recipe to start with. Some people are a little grossed out by the texture of cooked plantains, and while these are, of course, cooked, they are mixed in with so much texture and flavor, you wouldn’t even care about their texture. Note: I happen to love the texture of cooked plantains.
Alright, friends. Whip yourself up some Turkey Pastelon and flip on your favorite show. It’s time to relax and enjoy the Latin flavors!
- 1.25 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 tomato, chopped
- ½ red onion, chopped
- ¼ red, ¼ yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Handful fresh cilantro
- 4 oz can tomato sauce
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Cumin, to taste
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp capers
- 3 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced lengthwise
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 large egg whites, beaten
- 2 tbsp skim milk
- 1 package Monterey Jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking dish.
- Heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add turkey and break up with a spatula.
- When turkey starts to cook, add onion, tomato, peppers, garlic, and cilantro. Combine well.
- Continue to break the meat up into smaller pieces.
- Add capers (with vinegar!), cumin, bay leaves, salt, pepper, tomato sauce and about ¼ cup of water.
- Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Spray a small saute pan and heat to medium. Lay plantain slices on pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
- After picadillo is finished cooking, spoon into baking dish.
- Top picadillo with a layer of shredded cheese.
- Add the plantain slices on top of the cheese.
- Beat together the eggs with the milk and add to pastelon mixture to keep things binded while baking.
- Top plantains with remainder of cheese and cover with foil.
- Bake for about 25 minutes.
- When cheese is completely melted, change oven setting to broil and broil for about 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn! Remove when cheese starts to brown.
- Enjoy with an avocado salad and black beans!
Join the conversation:
What is your favorite casserole?
Easiest weeknight meal ever?
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