Have you ever had an Empanada? They are common in Southern Europe, Latin America, and the Philippines but I’m sure you’ve noticed them as a menu item from time to time. Empanadas are essentially pockets of dough with some kind of filling; typically, meat, cheese, and vegetables, or any combination of those.
I think they are pretty easy to make and tend to feed a crowd because the recipe makes so many. And they are often freezer friendly so you can have leftovers for another day. You do want to be careful with what kind of vegetable you use in empanadas because some vegetables hold up better when being used as filling. For instance, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, carrots, spinach, etc. all work very well. Squash, tomatoes, or other watery vegetables will need to be drained before using, otherwise you will be left with some soggy dough! So, feel free to experiment but also choose your vegetables wisely 🙂 I prefer to bake my empanadas, so they are less greasy and heavy but deep fried is another option if you prefer that over baking.
Today I want to share with you my recipe for Vegan Vegetable Empanadas. The dough is soft and pillowy, the filling is tender and has great spice, and the dipping sauce adds a nice aftertaste. If you do not follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you could also add your meat of choice to this dish.
The recipe can be found here.
Add the flour and 1 tsp of salt to a large bowl and whisk together. Add the chilled and cubed butter and use a pastry cutter (or your hands) to combine the ingredients. You want the butter to be chilled because it will help create a flakier crust.
Add the water and use a spoon to stir until a ball of dough forms. You can also use your hand or a stand mixer for this step. Set the dough aside.
Chop the onion, pepper, and potato, and mince the garlic. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, potato, and garlic. Sauté for about 7-8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the paprika, thyme, chili powder, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes to let the vegetables absorb some of the flavor. Turn off the heat. You could substitute the paprika with smoked paprika for a slightly different flavor. I’m not a huge fan of smokey flavors so I typically stick with regular paprika, but some people really enjoy the smokey flavor and aroma.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lightly flour the counter and place the dough on top. Cut the dough in half so it’s easier to work with and use a rolling pin to roll the dough until it’s about 1/8-inch thick. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a wine bottle to roll out the dough.
Use a biscuit cutter or drinking glass to cut circles out of the dough. Set the dough aside. Repeat with the second half of the dough. You should have enough dough for 12-16 empanadas, depending on how thin you roll the dough and how large of a circle you use to cut the dough.
Take one circle of dough and gently stretch it in your hand. This will make the dough slightly larger and easier to hold the filling inside. You don’t want the dough to be too thin or it will break when you are sealing the filling inside.
Add about 2 Tbsp of the vegetable mixture to the center of the dough. Hold the dough in half and use your fingers to pinch the sides closed. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until you have made all the empanadas. Use a fork to crimp/seal the edge of each empanada. This will help prevent any leaking while baking.
Lightly brush the top of each empanada with olive oil or spritz with cooking spray. If you do not follow a vegan diet, you can brush an egg wash over the top. Either will help to create a golden-brown crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is cooked through and starting to brown. It’s OK if the empanadas don’t have a golden-brown crust, they will take just fine! But you can use the broiled for a minute or so to help create the golden-brown crust if needed.
Serve warm with marinara sauce on the side as a dipping sauce (this is my favorite). You can also make a homemade dipping sauce or experiment with different store-bought sauces for different flavor combinations. I bet a chimichurri sauce would pair quite nicely with these 🙂 Enjoy!
The recipe can be found here.