Plant-based Puerto Rican Pasteles




  1. To a saucepan, add olive oil, garlic & onions. Saute for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat until translucent. 

  2. Then add bell peppers, sofrito, tomato sauce & soy ground. Mix until well combined. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

  3. Proceed to add the veggie stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the water has evaporated. Adjust seasoning as desired.

  4. When ready, remove from heat and set aside.


  1. Fill a large bowl with hot water, and add a generous amount of salt to the water.

  2. Cut off both ends of the bananas and plantains. To remove the skins, simply make a slit down the back and front of each banana with the tip of your knife. Then carefully peel the skins. Place into the salted water to avoid discoloration.

  3. Next, remove the tough rind from the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin into 2-inch pieces and add them into the bowl of salted water.

  4. Use a peeler to peel the yautía, then cut it lengthwise in fourths. Add it to the bowl with the rest of the veggies.

  5. Peel the potato and cut it in quarters lengthwise and add it to the bowl of salted water.

  6. Set out individual bowls for each of the vegetables. Grate with a sturdy grater the yautía, green bananas, green plantains, pumpkin, and potato; place each in an individual bowl. I recommend using disposable gloves, as uncooked plantains will stain your hands and kitchen towels.

  7. Place all of the veggies over a strainer (or cheesecloth), and strain the excess moisture out. Straining the grated yautía, green bananas, green plantains, potato, and pumpkin puree, might be easier if done individually. Doing it all at the same time will require a large strainer or cheesecloth.

  8. Once all of the vegetables have been strained, add to a large bowl and mix until well incorporated. 

  9. To the masa, mix in salt & pepper to taste, and achiote oil. Then proceed to gradually add the milk until you get the desired texture. Adjust seasoning if needed. Now you’re ready to assemble and wrap the pasteles.


  1. First, soften up the banana leaves by passing them through an open flame in a gas stove (or bbq). This will melt the film that coats the leaves and makes them soft/flexible. We usually do this before cutting them into 7.5in x 6in pieces; by doing this, you’ll keep the open flame far away from your hand.

  2. Prepare a work surface to assemble and wrap the pasteles. You’ll need the heated banana leafs, parchment paper cut into 18in x 12in rectangles (or buy pre-cut sheets) and cooking twine cut to approximately 40-inches. 

  3. For each pastel, lay out a piece of parchment paper, topped with one piece of the softened banana leaf. Place ½ tbsp of achiote oil on the center of the banana leaf.

  4. Place about two spoonfuls (about ¼ cup) of masa onto the center of the leaf and spread it into an oval that leaves a 1-inch margin of banana leaf showing.

  5. Then add about 1-2 spoonfuls of the filling and top with another spoonful of masa. Your goal is to line the filling along the center of the masa, so that each bite of pastel has a bite of filling.

  6. Bring the two long edges of the paper rectangle up to meet each other over the pastel. Once the edges are lined up, fold the paper over one inch. Now, fold the parchment over in half to form a band that’s almost as wide as the pastel. Working carefully, use the side of your hand to press and slide the masa on either side of the package into the center to give it a neat edge. Fold in 1 inch of the paper on the left and right sides to create small hems. Then fold both sides over the pastel.

  7. Next, tie the pastel with a piece of twine in a cross pattern (see video for reference) to keep the paper from opening in the pot and/or to avoid water getting into the pastel.

  8. After preparing each pastel, you’ll end up having a big batch. Separate the ones you’ll eat immediately, and the ones that you’ll save up for later. You can freeze them for up to 6 months. 

Cooking the Vegan Pasteles:  

  1. To cook the Vegan Pasteles, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasteles, either fresh or frozen, in a single layer. Let cook for 35-45 minutes (or up to 1 hour if frozen).

  2. Once the pasteles are cooked, remove them from the pot using kitchen tongs and place them in a strainer to drain. 

  3. To serve, cut the strings off of the pasteles with scissors and very carefully open the banana leaves and parchment paper. 

  4. Place the pastel on a serving plate along with Jackfruit Pernil, Arroz con Gandules, and/or a Vegan Potato Salad. ENJOY!



See a quick overview of the process here


  • 2 cups soy ground

  • 2 tbsps sofrito

  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce (optional)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or vegan butter)

  • ½ cup bell peppers, chopped

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup veggie stock

  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  • 12 green (unripe) bananas

  • 2 green (unripe) plantains

  • 2 pounds yautía (malanga)

  • 1 pound pumpkin

Other ingredients:

  • ½ cup achiote oil

  • Banana leaves cut into 7.5 in x 6 in (yield for 20 pieces)