4 yellow plantains
900g (2lb) vegan ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
20 large pitted green olives, pitted and halved
8 pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup organic raisins
1 small can tomato paste (170g)
3 cups water
50g (2.5oz) vegan Parmesan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart)
Preheat the oven to 375°F
Trim the ends of the plantains and slice horizontally until you have 1/4" slices.
In a large frying pan use a little oil to fry plantains on both sides until browned.
Put to the side to cool.
While the plantains are cooling, cook the vegan ground beef in a large skillet set over medium heat, until it becomes nicely brown and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring from time to time, until the onions are slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Throw in the apple cider vinegar, spices, Bay leaves, olives, dates, raisins, tomato paste and water. Stir until well combined and cook until the water is almost completely evaporated and the mixture is thick and creamy. Kill the heat.
Delicately peel the plantains; good thing is once they are cooked, their peel is extremely easy to remove, especially if your plantains have swollen and cracked open in the cooking process.
Slice the plantains into thin slices; the use of a mandoline is strongly recommended, but if you don’t have one, slice the plantains as thinly as you can using a sharp chef knife.
To assemble the pastelón: place a layer of plantains at the bottom of a lightly greased square baking dish, then top with about half the beef mixture. Repeat with a layer of plantain, then meat, followed with another few slices of plantain, just to cover the meat but not completely.
Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese all over the top and place the pastelón in the oven.
Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the plantains on top as well as the cheese get beautifully golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.