Pasteles Assembly How-To…

16 Dec

I’ve noticed how your continued interest in how to make vegetarian pastels in banana leaves… one of the ultimate Puerto Rican Xmas delicacies. For some weeks now it’s the most visited recipe here in KarmaFree Cooking.

I have not ventured into making pastels this year… but the other day at the Yoga Center they were making batched of mini-pasteles for one of our recent Anniversary celebrations. So I decided to take some pics and help you a little bit if you want to try to make them yourself.

Make MASA and Filling

You create a filling with your favorite ingredients. The picture here includes textured soy protein, potatoes, mixed vegetables stewed in a tomato based sauce. You can use my recipe here for inspiration.

The Masa is mostly made with yautía, green banana. But you could add pumpkin to it or make them with ground up yuca. I tend to prefer yucca pastels a lot. They end up yellow that’s how you differentiate them.

Now we wrap the pasteles…


Place a piece of butcher’s paper in frint of you. Place a piece of banana leaf (you could buy these in packages already at the store or a plaza del Mercado (farmer’s market)). you can’t use a banana leaf straight from the garden.  They need to be cooked off (amortiguadas) first.



Spread a bit of canola/annatto oil to the leaf.



Add a spoonful of the masa onto the banana leaf and spread a bit.


Add some of the filling on top of the masa.


Fold the butcher’s paper from the end that’s closer to you and bring it over to meet with the other side of the butcher’s paper that’s farthest away from you. This will make the masa fold onto itself and envelop the filling.


Complete the wrapping of the butcher’s paper like a deli sandwich… unite the ends of the butcher paper and fold in ½” folds towards the pastel until it makes a somewhat tight package. Then, fold the side underneath the pastel and place aside.


Sorry I was not able to take pictures of this step… but you need to tie with a kitchen twine. Use the same method as if you were tying a roast… Here I found a few videos from You Tube to help you learn how to tie your pasteles. You can do them individually or in “yuntas”, in twos. I like them individual because you can cook exactly how many you need, rather than in twos.

I apologize in advance for all the typos in the text in this video…  if you know Spanish, you will notice them.  It’s shameful…  but I like the way they present how to tie the pastel.  This one  is a single pastel… while the top one is in a “yunta” or duo…

Note to self… make a You Tube video making VEGETARIAN pasteles. Only people making meat-based pasteles have recorded themselves and we need to change that. Pasteles are just as delicious and just as traditional made with a vegetarian filling.

Hope you enjoy a very safe and joyful Xmas season… filled with everything that’s good and healthy to create a plentiful 2012 and beyond.


5 Responses to “Pasteles Assembly How-To…”

  1. Ani Mendez December 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    uy! just like my Hallacas. But we use a lot bigger banana leaves

  2. Bam's Kitchen December 18, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    I have never made these before and they sound delicious. Take care

    • KarmaFree Cooking December 18, 2011 at 2:10 am #

      pasteles are a labor of love… but they’re delicious!!!! Take a stab at it this Xmas…

  3. When Harry Met Celery December 19, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    This looks so challenging. It’s vegetarian, so I’m giving it a try 😀

  4. Maria January 4, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    It has been such a long time since I have had pasteles – I am going to have to just make them and that is that! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing…


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