January 26, 2016

Vegetarian Pastelón - Ripe Plantain Lasagna

Each year I look forward to Thanksgiving day. One reason of course is the spirit of being thankful for everything that we have, good health, family, friends, peaceful life - everything that we often take for granted till it is taken away from us. Another reason is that I look forward to cooking the TG day menu. This time again we picked the theme of 'food from around the world' - a dish from each continent. I picked Australian lamb stew and Moroccan anise bread to go with the stew. From Asia I picked Udon noodles made with homemade almond-butter Sriracha sauce, and French green beans salad from Europe. My husband did a big project making hard apple cider and sparkling apple cider with farm fresh apples. I then made a pumpkin no-cheese cheesecake which took care of North America.

Now I was left with South America. I toyed with different dishes, but nothing really caught my attention. Then came the idea of making something with plantain. My guests were all going to be Mallus and I was sure they would love something with plantains. That is how I got the idea of Pastelón. It seems like each Latin american country has its own version of Pastelón. It is basically a plantain lasagna or casserole made mostly with a beef filling. Since we are predominantly vegetarians, I was not going to add one more non-vegetarian dish to the menu and beef was out of question anyway. That is how the vegetarian version came about.



I just took the basic idea of Pastelón, the plantains and the filling was prepared by my own judgement with a mix of Indian and Latin spices. We all loved it and so did my guests, in fact this was probably the best one on the table. I will be making this more often as breakfast, brunch or as side dish just like this. My son wants to take this to school as lunch.., can't beat that :-)


Ingredients:
  • Well ripe plantains - 8
  • Black Bean -1 cup (soaked overnight)
  • Kidney bean - 1 cup (soaked overnight)
  • Red onion - 1/2 chopped fine
  • Tomato - 4 medium
  • Jalapeño - 2
  • Cilantro - 1/2 cup (chopped)
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Dry mango powder - 2 Tbs
  • Cumin seeds - 1 Tbs
  • Paprika - 1 Tbs
  • Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp or more if you prefer
  • EV Olive oil - 3 Tbs
  • Organic ghee or butter - 2 Tbs (substitute with virgin coconut oil for a vegan version)

Directions:
  • Cook the beans with enough water and drain.
  • Using a mortar and pestle crush cumin, jalapeño and cilantro.
  • Heat olive oil on medium and sauté cumin/cilantro mixture for 2 minutes.
  • Add onion and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add tomato and cook till slightly mashed.
  • Add cooked beans and all remaining ingredients and cook on medium heat stirring frequently. 
  • Cook till everything in mixed well and beans are slightly mashed and most of moisture is absorbed.
  • Boil or steam the plantains (with the skin on).
  • Once slightly cool, peel the skin, mash and remove the core and seeds. Add the ghee (or butter or coconut oil) and mash well.
  • Grease a baking dish (8.5 x 10.5 or 2.5 Qt) with butter. 
  • Divide the mashed plantain into 2 parts. Make a layer of plantain in the greased baking dish, fill the bean mixture on top. Fill the remaining plantain on top. Press as you go with each layer. 
  • Even out the top layer and optionally add a drizzle of ghee or a few slices of butter on top. 
  • Bake at 350 deg F for 30 minutes.
  • Slice and serve. 
  • Serves 8 big servings or 16 small servings.
  • Enjoy!!






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