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One of the greatest realizations upon starting the Paleo Diet was realizing many of my childhood comfort foods were Paleo. Plantains have become a normal staple in my diet. They have replaced those helpings of rice or pasta.

While perusing instagram for paleo photos, i came across a paleo “lasagna” made with sweet plantains and ground beef. Then it hit me. PASTELON, One of my absolute favorite dishes growing up was made by my childhood best friends mother. Layers of sweet plantains between savory ground beef baked together with cheese. Minus the cheese, this was all paleo. I just had to make it!

I sought the Paleo Mom for guidance and used her recipe as the foundation for my own version.  IMG_1194_1

Pastelon (serves 8)

  • 6 ripe plantains (should be nearly completely black)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil 
  •  2 T sofrito (my addition)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • ½ tsp salt, to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper, to taste
  • 8 12 eggs 
  • ½ cup green pepper, diced
  • ½ cup of chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry wine (white or red)
  • 4-5 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • small (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leavesIMG_1196The traditional way of preparing pastelon requires the frying of plantains. This takes FOREVER! My modified version requires baking the plantains prior to assembling the pastelon. The end result is the same. IMG_1197_1Preheat the oven to 350*.  Slice the sweet plantains into thin slices. I sliced it lengthwise, but if you prefer to slice it another way, that would work too, as long as the slices are relatively the same width. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the plantains in a single layer. Bake the plantains for 30 minutes, turning at the 15 minute mark.      IMG_1198_1 While the plantains are baking, heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil (coconut or olive if Paleo) and add sofrito. Heat the sofrito through, about 2 minutes over a medium heat. Then add the pepper and onion. Saute until tender- about 8 minutes.  Add the ground beef to the onion and pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook through. Break up the meat into smaller pieces as it browns. IMG_1199 When the beef is cooked, set aside.  When the plantains are golden brown, remove from the oven. In a deep 9×13 inch baking dish, coat with cooking oil or cooking spray. Add a layer of sweet plantains the way you would lasagna noodles. Cover the bottom of the dish so that it is completely covered with plantains. Then, add a layer of ground beef and then more plantains.  Beat 6 eggs and pour the beaten eggs over the plantains. Repeat until there are no more plantains. Beat the remaining eggs and pour over the top layer of plantains. IMG_1200_1 Tradtionally, the top layer is covered with cheese. The eggs act as a binder to hold everything together and they don’t effect the taste. IMG_1201 Place the baking dish in the oven uncovered and bake for 40-45 minutes. Once completed, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before digging in.                                                                                                    What a meal! Its no lasagna. But the combination of sweet and savory makes this dish addicting. Between BR and I, this huge tray of pastelon lasted for days! Even after freezing half of it, taking some to lunch and sharing it with my mother. This hearty dish was satisfying and completely Paleo. But if you’re not following a paleo diet, i encourage you to top this baby with mozzarella cheese and go to town!
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