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Eat Your Vegetables Empanadas - Empanadas de Verdura


Eat Your Vegetables Empanadas - Empanadas de Verdura

Eat Your Vegetables Empanadas - Empanadas de Verdura

Marian Blazes

No need for vegetarians to miss out on empanadas, the beloved South American (normally meat-filled) pastry. These relatively healthy empanadas are chock full of vegetables like kale, broccoli, bell peppers, and onions, as well as potatoes. Add some protein in the form of sautéed tofu, cheese, or slices of hard boiled egg and you've got a complete meal.

Try this recipe for a healthier empanada dough (which substitutes yogurt for most of the vegetable shortening/lard), and these empanadas become practically guilt free.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 10 large empanadas


  • Empanada dough (regular or "light" version)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 6-8 large kale leaves, stems removed
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package Goya seasoning with cumin and achiote
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces very firm tofu (optional)
  • 4 ounces firm, salty white cheese such as feta or queso blanco (optional)
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk, for egg wash


  1. Prepare the empanada dough and set aside to rest.

  2. If using tofu, place it between layers of paper towels, and top with something heavy enough to press down on the tofu. Set aside and allow the paper towels to absorb the excess water.

  3. Thinly slice the onion and place it in a heavy skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Cook the onion over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

  4. While the onions are cooking, chop the red pepper into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut the broccoli into small bite-size florets. Chop the kale (stems removed) into small pieces. Peel and cut the potato into 1/2 inch dice.

  5. Remove the onions from the skillet and place them in a large bowl. Add another tablespoon of oil to the same skillet, then add the diced potatoes and the Goya seasoning. Cook over low medium heat until potatoes are cooked through and starting to brown. If the potatoes stick to the pan, add 1-2 tablespoons water and continue to cook. When potatoes are cooked through, remove them from the skillet and add to the bowl with the onions.

  6. Add another tablespoon of oil to the same skillet, then add the remaining vegetables, along with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook vegetables, stirring, until kale starts to wilt and the peppers are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add vegetables to bowl with onions and potatoes.

  7. If using tofu, unwrap it from paper towels and chop into 1/2-inch cubes. Add another tablespoon of vegetable oil to the same skillet. Sauté the tofu over medium heat until the tofu is lightly browned. Add to the bowl with the vegetables.

  8. Add cheese (cut into small cubes) and slices of hard boiled egg to the vegetable mixture if desired. Add Parmesan cheese and toss with vegetable mixture until well-blended.

  9. Prehead oven to 375 degrees. Divide empanada dough into 10 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a 6-inch diameter circle.

  10. Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture to the center of a circle of dough. Wet edges of dough lightly with water, then fold dough in half to form a semi-circle, enclosing the filling. Pinch edges of dough together, and crimp dough edge to further seal. (For photos and more instruction on shaping empanadas, see How to Fill and Shape Empanadas). Place empanada on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough circles.

  11. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water, and brush empanadas with the egg wash before placing them in the oven. Bake empanadas for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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