THE TYPICAL name for this Puerto Rican dish is Pastelon; layered fried plantains with beef Bolognese and cheese. I have created a healthier vegetarian version by baking the plantains and using Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo instead of beef Bolognese. Most Latin countries have their unique version of chorizo, which is a type of spicy sausage. Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo is a Mexican version that has the consistency of ground beef combined with chile and hot spices. It’s important to use ripe plantains for this dish, because when ripened they are sweeter and softer. This dish is a type of fusion where Italian meets Latino for combustible flavor that is sweet and spicy blending together into a culinary bliss.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Coat a large baking pan with cooking spray.
- Arrange cut plantains into a single layer. Lightly salt and coat with cooking spray. The salt will bring out the sweet flavor of the plantains.
- Bake for 7 minutes on each side, or until plantains are golden brown and very tender.
- Once done, set aside to be used later to layer the lasagna.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Heat oil in a large saucepot over a medium high flame. Add onions; sauté until onions are tender. Add pepper and stir for another few minutes until peppers soften.
- Add the Soy Chorizo and 1-cup tomato sauce to the mixture and stir well. Reduce heat to a medium flame and simmer covered for another 5-7 minutes.
- To assemble Pastelon: In a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan, spread remaining ¼ cup tomato sauce. Then layer with plantains. Spread chorizo mixture on top of plantains. Layer with a handful of cheese. Repeat layers until the last layer is cheese. You will most likely get three layers.
- In a separate bowl, thoroughly beat eggs with milk. Pour evenly over the Pastelón. Let sit for a minute allowing the egg mixture to soak inches Top off with just a bit more cheese.
- Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and let bake another 7 minutes.