Pastelon (Puerto Rican Lasagna) with Arroz Con Coco (Coconut Rice)

by Utokia Langley

I love food of all cultures but I will have to admit Puerto Rican dishes hold a special place in my heart.  I mean really do you have to wonder why?? The flavor of course!!! I mean Puerto Rican dishes just swims in flavor with no life jacket, HA!!  I wanted to make a Puerto Rican dish but I wanted something I knew my whole family would like.  So I called my sisters who have lived in Spanish Harlem, NY most of their lives and asked for help.  They reached out to their spanish friends and before you knew it, I was armed with a beginning of something beautiful!  Then I called one of my good friends Mara who happens to be spanish!  She was soo excited that I was doing a Puerto Rican dish that she was happy to assist.  I took some of her advice with my sisters advice and BAM BOOM KABOOOOOM!!  Here it is!  I hope you enjoy my version.  Between the sweet plaintans instead of noodles and the beautiful flavors from the goya seasonings I had to pat myself on the back when this meal was done!!  To Watch Video CLICK HERE.

I think this is what flavor heaven looks like!!


12 very ripe plantains (they are ripe when they are black in color and soft to the feel)
2 pounds ground beef
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red onion
2-3 tbsp sliced green olives with pimento
2 tbsp sofrito (in a jar or frozen made by GOYA)
2 tbsp recaito (in a jar or frozen made by GOYA)
1 packet sazon seasoning (Coriander & Annatto by GOYA)
Adobo All Purpose Seasoning (to taste by GOYA)
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
3-4 tbsp unsalted butter (to butter baking dish)
3-4 tbsp sliced green olives and minced pimiento (in a jar)
¼ cup tomato sauce
4 cups shredded colby and monterey  jack cheese
13 ¾ x 9 ½ inch lasagna dish (or baking dish)


  1.  Boil plantains in water with peel on for about 20 minutes (it is done when peel pops open)
  2. Drain water from plantains and allow to cool for 5 minutes
  3. Carefully peel plantains and scoop plantains out and put into bowl
  4. Add melted butter and brown sugar to plantains and mix together, set aside
  5. Butter a 9 x 12 lasagna or baking dish, set aside
  6. In a frying pan add extra virgin olive oil and heat on medimum
  7. Add ground beef to pan, cook for about 2-3 minutes
  8. Add red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, sofrito, recaito, sazon and adobo to the ground beef, continue to cook on medimum until ground beef is browned, stirring periodically
  9. When ground beef is browned add tomato sauce and sliced green olives with pimento, continue to cook another 5-8 minutes, set aside
  10. Layer bottom of lasagna dish with plantain (completely cover bottom)
  11. Add layer of ground beef mixture
  12. Add layer of cheese
  13. Add layer of plantain
  14. Add layer of cheese
  15. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes
  16. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes
  17. Serve and enjoy

ARROZ CON COCO (Coconut Rice) :


2 cups uncooked long grain rice
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
1 cup raisins
2-3 slithers of unsalted butter
2-3 tbsp cinnamon
Pinch ginger
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch sea salt


  1.  Bring water and coconut milk to a boil on high heat
  2. Add rice and raisins, cover and cook 10-15 minutes or until water is evaporated
  3. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, sea salt and unsalted butter and fold together
  4. Serve and enjoy

Also Watch the Video ~

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Lishawn Pettway November 29, 2011 - 10:08 am

Do you use the green or yellow plantains?

utokia November 30, 2011 - 7:38 am

Hi Lishawn, you use green plantains BUT you use them BLACK this means they are ripe. I had a hard time finding ripe (black) plantains in the regular grocery store but if there is an international or caribbean market near you it’s likely they will have black ripe plantains.

Ifelola December 3, 2011 - 1:11 am

I made the vegetarian version of the Pastelon (used veggie “ground beef” crumbles instead of real ground beef). I love plantains, and this recipe is phenomenally great!!!! I also made the coconut rice recipe…yummy! 😉 I am always up for trying different variations on coconut rice – this one I knew I would love because of the raisins and extra spices – especially the ginger!

Thanks for sharing!!!! I had a similar dish made by a Puerto Rican friend in college, where she actually sliced and fried the plantain, then layered with the beef mixture and then green beans – no cheese….this one is better in my opinion!

Great recipe!!! And, of course, I will continue to share your blog with all my fellow cooking nerds 😉

utokia December 3, 2011 - 8:33 am

Hello Ifelola, Honey I know what you mean this Pastelon recipe just melts in your mouth, I am glad you tried the Veggie version, it lets me viewers know who do not eat meat there is alternative recipe for them and they still get the FLAVOR!! Thanks for visiting, cooking and sharing my blog … MUAH!

Monique December 21, 2011 - 9:05 am

Mmmmmmm….looks delish! Will have to try this one…..

qwelian December 13, 2012 - 1:47 pm

Hi Utokia,
i’m making your Pastelon and some of the peels (while boiling) have popped open and some haven’t. Should I take the done ones out or does it not matter?
THANK YOU FOR THE SITE! it is great! Looking forward to this deliciousness. Peace, Q

utokia December 14, 2012 - 7:52 am

Yes take the ones out that burst. Continue to boil the ones that have not until they do. Thank you for visiting…. come back soon … Utokia

Eve January 10, 2013 - 1:59 pm

OMG thank you so much for posting this lasagna recipe…spanish lasagna has always been my favorite!!! Now I know the name of it and I don’t have to wait until the job holiday parties to get some…hopefully it turns out just as good when I try your recipe!

utokia January 11, 2013 - 12:28 pm

No thank you Eve for visiting ShesGotFlavor … Honey it is delish … visit us soon, we are always adding more flavorful recipes

Sizzle Sizzle Baby

Lenette February 17, 2013 - 7:28 pm

I’ve tried your Pastelon recipe, and this tasty treat will become a staple in my recipe journals , my husband really enjoyed it. I have searched the web and Spanish friends to help me find the “just right” picadillo recipe and eating the sweet plantians with beans/rice gets boring quick, I used the Goya frozen plantains, sliced them in half due to the thickness and whala ……that’s what’s up ! Easier…lol GRACIAS

Lenette February 17, 2013 - 7:35 pm

By the way, I’m scheduled to make the Curry Chicken Salad, Crab Pie And the Mango Slaw this week…..thanks
Happy in Miami with Chicago roots !

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