My recipe for Plantain Lasagna with Ground Beef is inspired by the Pastelon or Puerto Rican Plantain “Lasagana” and Filipino Beef Picadillo recipes. Pastelon is a classic Puerto Rican casserole dish made of layers of thinly sliced plantains, beef picadillo and cheese. The Filipino Beef Picadillo is a popular ground beef recipe cooked in tomato sauce with raisins and vegetables, seasoned with soy sauce or fish sauce and black pepper and usually served with fried plantain or “saging na saba” in Tagalog, fried egg and steamed rice.
The first time I saw the Pastelon recipe on the internet, I immediately said to myself that this is a great new way to cook Filipino Picadillo. Instead of serving the Filipino Beef Picadillo with fried plantain and fried egg on the side, why not combine all 3 into one dish like a lasagna. I immediately tried the idea of combining the beef picadillo, plantains and eggs into one dish but instead of frying a plantain, I decided to bake them. Why? Because I want to make the recipe easier and to use less oil. Don’t get me wrong, I like fried food but I do not like that the oil splatters around my stove during the process. Aside from that, I want all of my recipes to be as healthy as possible because the more oil you use in cooking the more calories it adds into the dish. Plus, it’s easier clean-up!
How To Prepare And Bake Plantains: Recipe For Plantain Lasagna with Ground Beef
The number one requirement for this recipe is having the ripe plantains. A ripe plantain is still slightly firm to the touch and the peel is yellow with black spots around it. Also, avoid using plantains that are too ripe or plantains that have a completely dark peel because they are too soft making them difficult to slice. Once you already have the right plantains and other ingredients, you can start to prepare the plantains by doing the following steps:
- Cut the ends off the plantains and then cut the plantains in half. Why half? Because I find it easier to thinly slice the plantain when they are half their size. But if you prefer not cut them in half, that is definitely not a problem.
- Slice through the peel vertically, try your best not to cut into the flesh itself, then, carefully remove the peel.
- Slice the plantains lengthwise into thin strips about 4 to 5 slices per plantain.
- Arrange the plantain slices in a single layer on to the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spray lightly with cooking oil on top of the plantain slices.
- Bake the plantains at 425 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Do not forget to turn the plantains halfway during the baking process.
Ground Beef Filling: My Version of Filipino Beef Picadillo
While the plantains are baking in the oven, you can now start the preparation for the ground beef filling. After 8 years of cooking almost everyday, I have found that you can shorten the amount of time spent in the kitchen by slicing the ingredients as you cook. When I was starting to cook, I prefered to prepare all the ingredients before I even started to heat up a skillet. Then, I realized that I spent a much longer time in the kitchen than I should. This is why I started slicing the ingredients as I cook just like a professional cook does. And let me tell you, it is really a game changer! It really has reduced my time spend in the kitchen and since then, I never went back to my old habit of cooking which was preparing all of the ingredients before hand.
Beef Picadillo is my number one favorite ground beef recipe. I even came up with a Filipino and Cuban fusion Beef Picadillo recipe as a proof that it is really my favorite ground beef recipe of all time. However, for this recipe for Plantain Lasagna with Ground Beef, I used my version of a Filipino style Beef Picadillo. The traditional Filipino Beef Picadillo is a one-skillet dish made with ground beef of course, vegetables like bell peppers, carrots and potatoes, and raisins cooked in tomato sauce and seasoned with soy sauce or fish sauce along with black ground pepper. For this recipe, I decided to use cooked ground beef, red bell pepper and jalapeno and I added the carrots, potatoes, soy sauce and brown sugar instead of using raisins.
Why cooked ground beef? Because I know, that many people prefer to freeze cooked ground beef just like me. I always make sure that I have 2 lbs of cooked ground beef in my freezer. It is a life saver for me especially in times that I do not like to put much effort into cooking dinner. And when that time comes, I just pull out the frozen cooked ground beef and leave it on the counter for an hour to thaw. Then, I will use the thawed cooked ground beef to cook my favorite Beef Picadillo and just after a few minutes, our dinner is ready.
This is the reason why I omitted raisins in my recipe because I prefer the combination of brown sugar and soy sauce in a meal. In my opinion, brown sugar and soy sauce really enhances the umami taste of every dish which makes my Recipe For Plantain Lasagna a delicious meal.
Plantain Lasagna Preparation
- To assemble the dish, arrange a layer of baked thinly-sliced plantains in the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. In my video, I only used a baking dish with dimension of 9 x 7 x 5 inch for the simple reason that I did not want to use all of the ground beef filling.
- Top with a good amount of ground beef filling, enough to cover the whole surface.
- Repeat the layers twice and then set aside.
- Crack 3 to 4 eggs into a bowl, add 1/2 tablespoon of water and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk them.
- Pour the egg mixture over the top of the plantain lasagna. Make sure that the egg mixture is spread out evenly throughout the dish (corners, sides and middle).
- Next, bake at 375 degrees F uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until the egg mixture is cooked through.
- Let it cool for a few minutes before serving and serve it with steamed rice.
You are probably wandering, why I do not want to use the whole ground beef filling. It is because I wanted to share with you that you can enjoy the Beef Picadillo in this recipe without assembling into a lasagna. If for some reason you do not want to wait for the additional 20 to 25 minutes (baking time of plantain lasagna), just omit the egg mixture preparation and just enjoy the Beef Picadillo with steamed rice and baked plantain, just like in the picture below.
Hope you enjoy my Recipe For Plantain Lasagna with Ground Beef!
Recipe For Plantain Lasagna with Ground Beef
- 3 to 4 whole ripe plantains thinly sliced.
- 2 lb. frozen cooked ground beef thawed
- 1 whole red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 whole large red onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 whole Jalapeno seeded and diced
- 16 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water plus 1/2 tbsp for egg the mixture
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or more optional
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper or more to taste
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and then set aside.
- Cut the plantain in half and carefully peel and try not to break them. Slice the plantains lengthwise into thin strips about 4 to 5 slices per banana.
- Arrange the plantain slices in a single layer into the baking sheet with parchment paper and then spray cooking oil on top of the sliced plantains. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway.
- Then turn down the temperature to 375 degrees F. Then set aside.
Ground Beef Filling
- While the plantains are in the oven, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once it's hot enough, add the onions and garlic and saute them for about 2 to 3 minutes or until onions are softened.
- Add the red bell peppers and jalapeño into the pan, season it with salt and pepper. Saute them for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir the cooked ground beef into the mixture and use your spatula to break the cooked ground beef into pieces for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce and water, stir into the mixture for a minute. Then season it with sugar, soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper and red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired,
- Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Arrange a layer of plantains in a rectangular baking dish (9 x 7 x 5 inch). Top with 2 to 3 cups of fillings. Repeat the layers twice and then set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl, add 1/2 tablespoon of water and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk them together.
- Pour the egg mixture over the top of the plantain lasagna. Make sure to pour the egg mixture evenly on all sides (corners, sides and middle).
- Bake at 375 degrees F uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until the egg mixture is cooked through. Let it cool for a few minutes and serve it with steamed rice and enjoy!