Every now and then I like to take some of my favorite “traditional” dishes and flip them upside down. For instance, I love enchiladas verdes but sometimes I’m not in the mood to fill and roll a bunch of tortillas. So then I turn those enchiladas into an outrageous lasagna-type casserole. This Butternut Squash Plantain Lasagna with Chipotle Cream is layered with corn tortillas, slices of butternut squash, plantains, and a smoky chipotle cream filling. It’s completely unconventional, but it’s actually one of our all-time favorite vegetarian fall dishes!
First though, let’s talk about the plantain. I like to think of it as the cousin to the regular banana. Just like the banana, if it’s green, it’s unripe and if it’s yellow/brown, it’s ripe. But the difference is in the taste and texture. Green plantains have a starchy, potato-like quality, which makes them the perfect ingredient to soak up all the spicy and tangy flavor in this dish.
How to Peel a Plantain
Plantain peels are a bit tougher than bananas, so follow this spoon technique to peel.
- Cut off both ends of the plantain.
- Take a sharp knife and make a small incision down opposite sides of the plantain. (2 cuts total)
- Then, grab a spoon and turn it hump side up and use it to get underneath the peel as you work your way down. The peel should easily loosen up.
Next, you’ll need to peel your butternut squash. Check out this tutorial for a quick and easy method. Once your plantain and squash are peeled and cut, it’s time to work on the chipotle cream. To begin, simply sauté chopped onion with olive oil and spices. Then, combine the onion with Greek yogurt, cream cheese, and chipotle peppers.
Now that the veggies are chopped and the chipotle cream is prepared, let the layering begin! First, you’ll pour a base of salsa verde on the bottom of the dish. From there, layer the corn tortillas, chipotle cream, plantains, and butternut squash and repeat. For the last layer, top the squash with a final spread of corn tortillas and a big splash of salsa verde. A quick note on the type of salsa to use. I’ve tested this recipe using 3 different brands of salsa verde including Archer Farms, Herdez, and Ortega. I highly recommend Archer Farms from Target because it’s mild, and the tanginess isn’t overpowering like the other two.
The lasagna will bake in the oven, covered, for an hour until the squash is tender and your house smells amazing. A final sprinkling of shredded jack cheese will take this dish to the next level as it creates a gooey melted cheesy blanket on top.
The sweet butternut squash is soft and it compliments the hearty slices of plantain perfectly. The chipotle cream blends into the tortillas and gives the dish a major dose of spicy flavor. The salsa verde brings it all together into the most flavorful vegetarian casserole. It’s a healthy and cozy dish that’s perfect for a relaxing weekend dinner. Or spend Sunday making this dish and meal prepping for the week. It’s one of those dishes where leftovers are just as incredible as the original meal!
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 green plantain
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 jars (16 ounces each) salsa verde
- 9 small corn tortillas
- 6-8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
- Cilantro, roughly chopped
- Prep the veggies: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the butternut squash. Then, chop off the longer portion of the squash. Save the round portion (the one with the seeds) for another recipe. Cut the long portion of the squash into slabs, slicing the pieces as thin as you can. Next, peel the plantain and slice it into very thin coins. Set the veggies aside.
- Make the chipotle cream: In a sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, cumin, chili powder, and salt to the pan. Sauté the onions for about 3 minutes until translucent. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, add the onions, chipotle peppers, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and lime juice, and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Layer the lasagna: Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer the bottom of the dish with a splash salsa verde. Layer 3 corn tortillas over the top of the salsa. Using a spoon, drop half of the chipotle cream mixture in dollops over the tortillas. Then, layer half of the plantain coins evenly over the tortillas and chipotle cream. Next, layer half of the butternut squash pieces over the plantains. Repeat the layering process with the salsa, corn tortillas, chipotle cream, plantains, and butternut squash. Then, add a final layer of 3 tortillas on top and pour remaining salsa over the top.
- Bake: Cover the lasagna with tin foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Take out of the oven and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Put back in the oven and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Cut into 6 pieces and serve with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro.
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