Vegan Empanadas

Hello there beautiful! Welcome to Green Straight Up Special Edition: Empanadas. We appreciate your interest in a more sustainable world and hope you enjoy this article and your future vegan-empanada feast!

Empanadas are baked or deep-fried stuffed pastries. Although they are typically prepared in many Latin, European and Asian countries, the world’s most popular and most delicious empanadas are from Argentina. This article presents the classic Argentinian beef empanada, made vegan! You will also find the vegan chicken and the spinach empanada recipes and the open-faced or tart empanada alternative. Have fun and buen provecho!Argentinian meatless vegan beef empanadasEmpanada Shops

In Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city, there are empanada shops everywhere; usually, at least two or three per neighborhood. These places offer deep-fried or baked empanadas and have many different flavors to choose from. Many of them also sell pizza, so people usually order pizza and empanadas together. Empanada shops take telephone orders and will deliver for no extra charge. So, if you have friends over for dinner or the family overstayed their visit, no problem, make a call and in less than one hour, you will get a hot and delicious empanada delivery. People usually order at least a dozen empanadas and mix many different flavors and fillings.

Empanada Flavors

The most popular empanada fillings in Argentina are ground beef (with red bell pepper, boiled egg, onions and olives), ham and cheese, onion and cheese, chicken, and spinach with béchamel or cheese. Other typical flavors are corn with béchamel sauce, bell peppers and onions (humita), or corn with cheese, caprese (cheese, tomato, and basil), spicy chopped beef (carne cortada a cuchillo), and roquefort with celery and ham.

In this article, you will find some of the most popular Argentinian empanada recipes made vegan. You can also add other ingredients and vegetables and come up with your own signature recipe. Pretty much anything you put inside of an empanada will taste delicious, so don’t be shy!

Empanada Dough

The empanada dough discs are very easy to make, but you can also find them at the international store or most Latin markets for three to four dollars per dozen. There are three different types of dough, one is for fried empanadas and the other two are for baked empanadas: one is a puffy, flaky pastry (hojaldrada) and the other one is drier (sequita or criolla).


Dough (20 discs aprox.):Pre-made Empanada dough

  • 3 cups of flour (+ a few more tablespoons if necessary)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of oil or vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup of cold water (+ a few more tablespoons if necessary)

In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Add the oil and the water and mix well until you get a firm, dry dough. Divide the dough into about 20 individual dough balls and let them rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, you can work on your stuffing. Once your stuffing is ready, work each dough ball with the rolling pin to get round thin discs. If necessary, sprinkle some flour on the rolling pin and countertop to prevent dough from sticking.


I cook pretty much everything in cast iron skillets. The ones we use at home were my husband’s grandparents, so they have been in the family for many decades. I found some cool ones on the internet and decided to share the links on this page.


Fillings:

Plant-Based Protein Beef

Vegan Beef Empanada Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • A 12-ounce package of meatless ground (Yves, Morning Star, TVP, or soy-free alternatives such as Beyond Meat or Quorn)
  • 1 large diced onion (The secret is to put as much onion as “meat,” this will make the empanadas juicy, so if you want to, add some sliced green onion as well!)
  • 1 small diced red bell pepper
  • 3 diced garlic cloves
  • Chili flakes, salt, and pepper
  • Green and/or black olives (at least one per empanada, seedless and cut in halves)
  • Optional: chopped parsley (add once stuffing has been removed from heat)

Note: In some Argentinian provinces, they add raisins and boiled potato to their empanadas. If you want to try that empanada version, add 1/2 cup of small boiled potato cubes, 1/4 cup of raisins, and some paprika to the original recipe.


If you do not know where to buy vegan “ground meat” or vegan “chicken,” or simply cannot find it at your local store, here there are some links you can use:


Preparation:

  1. Add some oil to a frying pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add garlic and chili flakes first, then onions and bell pepper. Sauté until the onion becomes slightly transparent, then add the meatless ground beef (and the boiled potatoes, if you are using this ingredient).
  2. Cover with the lid and let cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the olives and parsley (and raisins, if you are using this ingredient). Let the stuffing cool off before filling your empanada discs with it.

Note: If you are using TVP (texturized vegan protein), hydrate the TVP before you add it to the pan (3/4 to 1cup of hot water to 1 cup of TVP).


♦Vegan Chicken

 VEGAN Chicken Empanada

Ingredients:

  • A 10 or 12-ounce pack of meatless chicken strips (Gardein, Morning Star, or soy-free alternatives such as Beyond Meat or Quorn)
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 small diced bell pepper
  • 3 diced garlic cloves
  • Chili flakes, salt, and pepper
  • Black or green olives (at least one per empanada)
  • Optional: chopped parsley or basil (add once stuffing has been removed from heat)

Vegan chickenPreparation:

Same procedure as “beef” empanadas, but add the vegan chicken instead of the meatless ground beef.

TIP: For a more herbal flavor, sauté the ingredients with homemade rosemary flavored olive oil→Refill an empty, clean, and dry glass bottle–reuse a hot sauce or soy sauce bottle–with olive oil and stick a washed and dried branch of rosemary in it. Let it sit for a few days, remove the rosemary branch and start using your flavored oil! It is also great for focaccia bread!


♦Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of spinach (chopped)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 sliced green onions
  • 3 diced garlic cloves
  • Chili flakes, salt, and pepper
  • Optional ingredients: add some diced bell pepper, crumbled tofu, vegan cheese, or sliced mushrooms. You could also mixi some kale with the spinach.

Preparation:

  1. Add some oil to a frying pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add garlic, bell pepper and onion and sautéed with chili flakes to taste.
  2. When the vegetables are half cooked, add the spinach and the green onions and cover with the lid for a couple of minutes or until the spinach wilts a little bit. Remove from heat and allow the stuffing to cool off before filling your empanada discs with it.

open-face-spinach-empanadas


Filling your empanadas:  

The best way to fill an empanada is to place the disc of dough on the palm of your hand and pinch the bottom of the disc together to create a pocket. Add one table spoon of stuffing to the center of the disc and pinch the rest of the edge together sealing the empanada from bottom to top.

TIP: Sometimes, the edges of the dough disc are too dry to seal properly. Before assembling the empanadas, fill a little shot glass with water and use it to moisten the border of the empanada discs as you assemble the empanadas: Once you have the disc on the palm of your hand, wet your finger and dampen the edges of your dough disc. Then add the filling and finally, pinch the edges of the disc together. This will avoid empanadas opening up in the baking process.

Repulgue

The ‘repulgue’ is the last step of the empanada manufacturing process. By braiding or crimping the dough disc’s edge, repulgues help securely seal the empanadas and prevent them from splitting open while being baked. Once you have pinched the edges together, pick one of the repulgue options to strengthen and secure the closure.

There are three common repulgues you can choose from:

  • The easiest one is called the “fork repulgue:” using the tines of a fork to seal the edges of the disc together (fig. I).
  • Another simple way is to make four or five crimps or pinches on the edge of the pastry (fig. II). This style is also used when assembling tarts or open faced empanadas.
  • Finally, the third options is the classic repulgue (fig. III), which is basically a series of consecutive tight twists and pinches. This last style requires a little bit of practice, but will make your empanadas look amazing!

Baking time:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place empanadas on a cookie sheet and poke every empanada with a fork before putting them in the oven (this allows them to breath and prevents them from splitting open). To add sesame and poppy seeds to the top, moisten the dough with some water or paint it with an oiled brush and then sprinkle the seeds.

Bake empanadas for 20 minutes or until the dough looks cooked.

baked-vegan-empanadas
Buen provecho!