Piñon a la Vegan! Yum!


Ok, so, when I was younger, my mom used to make this amazingly delicious and comforting Puerto Rican dish called "Piñon". And man did I love it! I mean, it was always the best comfort food. The perfect combination of sweet, savory, cheesy, warm goodness. And it has been a while since I had it. So when my mom brought it up a few days ago, I jumped at the chance to eat it again haha :) Only thing was, I needed to veganize it ;) because piñon has plenty of ground meat (ew) and cheese (yum haha)
So, lets just say, challenge accepted! And I have to say, the results were, in a word foodgasmic hahahaha. No, seriously, the dish was sooooo great! It was just as comforting and delicious as I remember, and then some. So, anyway, I am sharing this deliciuosness with you. Hope you like it as much as I do ;)

What You Need

- 5 to 6 plantains (plantains people, not bananas, and make sure they are ripe so they are sweeter)
- 5 to 6 tomatoes (or just some canned tomato paste if you aren't feeling up to boiling and peeling and blending)
- 1 bag smart ground (I get the feeling I can recreate it with only or with more veggies, but I have yet to experiment. So for the time being, ground veggie protein works perfect for me)
- 1/2 or 1/4 an onion grated
- 2 garlic cloves (or more if you love garlic) minced
- a dash of veggie broth or veggie broth powder (I had no clue this existed until my mom gave me some for this recipe today, and I have to say, it added a tom of flavor to the dish, so def. look into it)
-  2 tbsps earth balance
- 1 bag of daiya mozzarella cheese shreds
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Dash of Complete Seasoning (the one we used had onions, garlic, parsley and a bit of cumin)
- salt and pepper to taste

What To Do

Cut the plantains length wise and then, in a large pan, add some oil and or earth balance and fry the plantains.
Once the plantains are ready, set them aside and begin prep for the remaining ingredients (chopping and grating as needed) Then, preheat the oven to 375˚
Put your tomatoes to boil (unless you are using canned paste) until skin is soft enough you can remove
Meanwhile, in a large pan, add some olive oil and a little earth balance to keep the ground protein from sticking to the pan. Add the grated onion, garlic, salt, veggie broth powder and complete seasoning.
Once the tomatoes are ready, peel them and add them to the blender with just a dash of the water you used to boil them (just enough to make a creamy blend). Blend and when the mixture is nice and smooth, add it to the veggie protein you had on your pan (you can strain the tomato paste if you want to). Cook thoroughly.
Line an oven-safe casserole with foil for easy clean up and then add one layer of the veggie protein mixture, then add a layer of plantains, then a layer of cheese, then another layer of veggie protein, and one more of plantains, and top it all off with, you guessed it, more cheese.
Place in the oven until the cheese is nice and melted.
Remove from the oven, and prepare to enjoy! :)

Buen Provecho Todos!