Puerto Rican Vegan: Vegan Pastelón

Friday, April 29, 2011

Vegan Pastelón

Yesssss. Pastelón. This was a favorite dish in my home on special occasions. If it was a birthday, shower, someone leaving home (or coming back), a major holiday or other cause to celebrate...pastelón was present.

Just a few weekends ago I attended my cousin's 50th and there was faithful pastelón, right next to the arroz con gandules. I watched as person after person placed a big chunk of it on top of their rice, as drool formed in the sides of their mouths and water collected in mine. Yet my choice to be vegan transcends pastelóny goodness and I passed on this my favorite dish.

Albeit when the idea came to me for this blog, it was the first dish that came to mind. What makes this puerto rican lasagna so good is the sweetness of the plantains mixed with the saltiness of the beef and cheese. I knew that Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese would be perfect, but couldn't decide what to use instead of beef. It was a toss between soy-based vegetarian beef substitutes, black beans or mushrooms. In the end, I decided to go with basic black beans - and it was perfect!

So without further ado, here is my vegan pastelón recipe. My dinner guests (and hubby) raved - but more importantly, it passed the true taste test and lived up to MY expectations. Enjoy!


4 plantains
3 cans black beans
1 onion, minced
1 tbsp sazón
8 green pimento stuffed olives, quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese (I used 1 bag of Daiya Cheese)
sea salt to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut plantains in half and boil in a large pot until soft and bright yellow (about 45 minutes).

While plantains are boiling, place beans in a colander and rinse well, smooshing a little with your hands as go to create texture. Combine beans, onion, olives, and sazón in a heated large skillet at medium-high heat with 2 Tbs of olive oil.

Mix well until heated through and onions are soft. Add in tomato sauce and sea salt to taste, set aside.

CAREFULLY peel plantains (they're super hot) and place in a bowl to be mashed.

In a baking safe pan, start with a layer of plantains, then beans, then cheese. Repeat.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Eat up! Serves approx 8.

PS: I did end up with leftover bean mixture, but I just refrigerated it and used it for other recipes like black bean quesadillas. Mmmm...


  1. I AM DROOLING!!! This looks amazing. Love your blog. YOU GO GIRL

  2. This looks delicious! I'm a puerto rican vegetarian ans I think I'll put a spin on it by adding Quorn crumbles for the "meat". I think it'll be just as good! Thanks for posting =)

  3. Don't Quorn crumbles have egg in them? All Quorn products do - which is why I don't use them.

  4. OK....you have just made me smile from ear to ear. I am a Puerto Rican Vegetarian and miss a lot of the home cooking I had growing up. Mostly I miss pernil.

    I have been trying to figure out how to do it. Have you ever thought of this and maybe tried it with Seitan? Just wondering.

    I think that quinoa with black beans will be the side dish and just make tostones, but the pernil is what I can't figure out.

    Cook Train Eat Race

    1. Have you tried tempeh or jackfruit? Jackfruit has a consistency similar to pulled pork. Tempeh is a great substitute for cubed, stripped and ground meat.

  5. @34b94... I'm not a big fan of meat substitutions, but I'm sure it'll taste yummy if you like them! Try it out and let me know! xoxo @Laurie Yep you're right. Quorn uses egg whites as a binder. Lots of veggie products on the market do. We have to read those ingredients =) @Jason I have that affect on ppl. Haha you're not the first person to ask about pernil. The interesting thing is that there has to be a veggie way to get the same flavors, but again - not big on meat substitutes. They just creep me out a little. A good way is to check out a traditional recipe for pernil and see what substitutions you can make while still keeping the same spices and cooking methods. Let me know if it works out for you!

  6. Made this for dinner tonight. Delicious!

  7. This is excellent, Yadira. I am a food/travel writer who likes making healthy easy vegan twists on heritage dishes. Glad you noted how Sazon packets contain MSG. I'm visiting Puerto Rico early April! Robin travelveg@live.com

  8. This looks amazing! I am going to make this soon! I have never made pastelon before so I have a question about the kind of plantains you used. Did you buy green unripe plantains or yellow ripe plantains? thanks!

    1. Yellow and super ripe - with many black spots. That assures that they're sweet.

  9. Love that a VEGAN version of this is posted!

  10. I am totally trying this....wonder if you think lentils would work instead of beans?

  11. this sounds delicious! I think I will be trying it for a gathering this wednesday coming up! I may add some garlic with the plantains to add some flavor too :)

  12. Made this last night, and it came out fabulous! My meat-and-cheese loving Puerto Rican boyfriend loved it and took most of the leftovers for lunch. The only thing I noticed was, had to bake it for longer than 20 minutes...the center still came out a little cool, but an extra 10 minutes did the trick =) Thanks for sharing this recipe!