Piñón – Puerto Rican Lasagna

My friend, Lulu, is very brave and a talented young woman.  She has asked a while back that I do a Piñón post.  You see Lulu fell in love and picked up her bags and moved from New York City to Kenya.  Hopefully, when she sets her wedding date, I will be flying out to see her.  So here goes Lulu…this one’s for you!

This is a classic dish from Puerto Rico and the best way to describe it is by calling it a lasagna because of its layers.

Instead of using lasagna noodles, we use fried  sweet plantains.   The meat is spiced ground beef or as we call it picadillo.  Picadillo came to us via Cuba and we have adopted it because of its versatility.  I usually make a batch and divide it.  One part to make our famous empanadas or meat patties by adding other ingredients to the meat.  As time goes by I will show you the wonders of picadillo.

I made this dish a while back and I found it so hard to photograph and now  this time I had the same problem.


4 cups of picadillo

6 ripe plantains, peeled and cut (depending mold you are using)

vegetable oil for frying plantains

6 eggs beaten and set aside

1- 2 cans of french style string beans


Adapted from Wilo Benet recipe

4 lbs. ground beef (sirloin)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seed and white ribbing removed

1/2 cup of sofrito or more to taste

1 envelopes of Sazón Goya

1-1/2 cups Spanish tomato sauce

6 cloves of garlic, pound to paste

kosher salt/pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil and add the onions cooking them until they are soft and translucent.  Add the pepper, garlic and sofrito and cook, stirring, for a few minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper for another few minutes.  Add meat breaking up the meat as it cooks.  Continue cooking until meat is done and liquid has evaporated..not dry.  You will need a little moisture.


Heat oil, add the sliced plantains and cook until golden.  Drain n paper towels and set aside.

Pour half of the beaten eggs on a greased mold.  Start to layer the plantains to cover bottom of mold.  Put a layer of the meat and the a layer of the string beans. Continue layering until last layer is the plantain.  Pour the rest of beaten egg over plantain layer and prick with fork to be absorbed and not sitting on top.  You do not want t to look like an omlet…you want the shine of the egg.

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees. Place mold in oven and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes until egg has cooked and meat is heated through.  The surface of the piñón should be golden and springy to the touch.  Here are two versions.

Invert, slice and serve.

Wait until you taste this.  You have the sweetness of the plantain and the saltiness of the meat….


This entry was posted in Appetizers, Breakfast/Brunch, Children's Menus, Latin Traditional, Puerto Rican - Tipico, Something Different. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Piñón – Puerto Rican Lasagna

  1. bellini says:

    I don’t know why but on your last post I was unable to comment, but this Piñón is worth the wait. Wouldn’t it be exciting to travel to Kenya!!!!

  2. Joanne says:

    YUM! This looks great!

  3. Joan Nova says:

    The presentation looks like a pineapple upside down cake, but I know it tastes a helluva lot better…and I want some! I’m a big fan of the sweet-savory combination.
    P.S. Love the way the light is highlighting the picadillo on the fork.

  4. Nydia says:

    I like fried banana, each time I go to the jungle region here in Peru I have to ask for it, I can eat it all days. I never imagine we can do something like a lasagna with it. Wonderful idea. But I have to ask something, we have two kinds of bananas that can be fried, one is sweet and one is not, the plantains are sweet or not?

  5. The sweet and the salty look divine. Also the textures are just right.

  6. Reeni says:

    This looks just incredible Norma! I am in love with the idea of using plantains rather than lasagna noodles. I am trying to imagine how this tastes but I’m sure I’m not doing it any justice! Save a piece for me, please!! xoxo

  7. What an amazing recipe! All the best to your friends and their new life together! 🙂

    • Jorge Rodriguez says:

      Thanks so much for this great recipe. I just sent it to a journalist in San Francisco where I live when she covered a Puerto Rican Restaurant. My mother and I prepared both ways ” a la sartén” on the range and in the oven. I also mashed the plantains if they are too ripe and they are delicious. But nothing like the fried version. The site is correct: Wilo Bennet is one of our best chefs in San Juan and owns Pikayo. Keep up the good work!! Boricua Siempre

  8. Lea Ann says:

    I think this looks and sounds really really good. Bookmarked!

  9. Jay says:

    wow..lipsmacking gooood…:P
    Tasty Appetite

  10. Erica says:

    That looks fantastic, Norma! I love plantains and this dish sounds perfect and delicious!

  11. Pingback: Machuca de Plantano (Mashed Plantains) | Cooking with Spanky

  12. Katie says:

    I love the presentation factor in layered dishes like this one. I bet the sweet and salty combo is fantastic!

  13. Nancy says:

    I love piñon!! My friend Gloria used to make it all the time before she moved back to PR. Now I have the recipe! Thanks!

  14. m2 says:

    thank you Norma!

  15. Miriam Limata says:

    Going to try this dish..Thank you Norma!

  16. Esspi says:

    That looks absolutely delicious. I need to try your recipe.

  17. Milu says:

    I’ve made this… LOVED it!!! Making again tonight!

  18. Lillian Trujillo says:

    This recipe is just like my mother makes it, thank you, I’ll be making it tonight. I’ll have a happy belly tonight.:-)

    • Thank you Lillian for stopping by. If you want to subscribe to my blog all you have to do is go to the right side and you will be able to add your email. Every time I post you will get an email and if you want me to make something special just ask and I will do a post. I appreciate your comment.

  19. Lola says:

    Is carne molida, not picadillo. In Puerto Rico we never use that word, we use carne molida (ground beef). We usually specify the type of meat: ground beef, ground pork, etc.

    • Thank you for your comment, but if you read the recipe the picadillo is made from carne molida. The recipe has been adapted from one of Puerto Rico’s greatest chefs, Wilo Benet. Picadillo is used in Puerto Rico as in Cuba and other Latin countries. It is always a pleasure to have new people stop by my blog and voice their opinions. Saludos!

  20. Sabina says:

    I made this last night after craving it For YEARS. I haven’t had it since my Tia passed, she would make it for our family. Thank you for posting this recipe. It was DELISH!! And I think my Tia was in the kitchen with me when I made it because it came out awesome! It’s not difficult to make and I’ll continue to make it for my family.

  21. Tia says:

    We just made this…10:19 on a Saturday Night…Its cooling as we speak!!

  22. Aida says:

    ! Boriqua, you have taken me back to my childhood! Mami used to make this in a springform pan, like the ones used for cheesecake. In fact, I didn’t know it was for baking cakes until becoming an avid baker myself because she only made Pin~on in it! After laying a thin base of maduros, she wrapped the soft fried sweet plantains, sliced long, around the sides, with a final layer on top. Yours looks sooooo good and the pics made my mouth water. Q: Spanish tomato sauce? We used regular canned tomatoe sauce and just spiced it up with sofrito y adobo and lots of fresh oregano y ajo. So happy to have found this blog-site. My ‘Cocina Criolla’ has a new companion!

  23. Pingback: Pinon | Forever Food & Family

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  25. Elsie says:

    About how many people would this feed?

  26. Hello Platanos, Mangoes & me! I grew up in Puerto Rico (El Corozo, Cabo Rojo) and in the area I grew up we never added string beans to the recipe. That’s a great variation I will have to try

    • I know my family used the canned French bean cut as far as I can remember. Also, some towns in the Island use cheese also. To me the cheese ruins it for me. If there is anything you would like to see at Platanos, Mangoes just let me know and I will make. Thank you for your visit and support. You can always subscribe and receive my posts. Again, gracias. Norma. Platanosmangoes@gmai.com

  27. Lucy Q. says:

    THANKS FOR THE REFRESHER. Its been awhile since I made this. I am introducing my coworkers to REAL HOMEMADE P.R. foods. WE have always made it in a metal bowl for the shape. Your examples make ir easier to cut…….I will try one today for tomorrows thanksgiving meal at work……Muchisimas gracias………Boricua in Txs. Lucy Q.

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