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Homemade Empanadas!

I wish I could take credit for this genius recipe, but I truly can’t. I discovered it on The Kitchn and have been in love ever since. The reason I love their recipe so much is that the pastry is so incredibly simple both to make and to work with, and is composed of ingredients that I always have in the house.

The filling is where I change things up. And that is the beauty of an empanada- the filling can really be made of whatever you have in your house. Yesterday I made most of mine with a black bean, corn, and cauliflower filling (recipe below), but then ran out of filling so I quickly whipped up a tomato, peppers, and chickpea version for the last few pieces of dough. Both were delicious.

They also freeze incredibly well and are easy to defrost. I wrap them individually aluminum foil and then pop them into a freezer bag. That way I can grab one or six, depending on what they are being used for. They are great for school lunches, for last-minute dinners, and even for on-the-go breakfasts!

A warning: last night my just-turned-six-year-old ate three for dinner. So if you make a single batch, there may not be many left for the freezer… Enjoy!


Black Bean and Cauliflower Empanadas

Jessica Braider
Course Dinner, Freezer Food, Lunch


  • DOUGH: again, this is directly from The Kitchn
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup very cold water plus more as needed
  • ½ a head of cauliflower cut into small florets (broccoli and zucchini also works well)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ¾ cup black beans rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder or more, if you like
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • To make the dough, combine flours and salt in a medium bowl and mix well. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, blend butter into the flour mixture until it’s roughly the size of small peas.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Pour over dry ingredients and mix with a fork until dough begins to come together. If still shaggy, add additional water to help the dough come together, 1 tablespoon at a time. Dump out onto a well-floured surface. Knead dough a few times and carefully gather together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for one hour.
  • While the pastry dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop up your cauliflower into small florets. Place into a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place florets onto the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until just fork tender. Turn oven down to 400.
  • While the cauliflower is roasting, mix the corn, black beans, cheese, onion, cumin and chili powder. When the florets are done, add them and mix well. Put the mixture to the side.
  • When the pastry dough is ready, put it onto a lightly-floured surface and divide into ten equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. One by one, roll each ball flat, into a circle about 5-6 inches in diameter. Place 1/3 cup of the filling onto the circle and fold over to form a half-moon shape. Pinch the sides together to seal. Place them onto the same baking sheet you used before. When all ten are made, poke a few holes into the top of each and brush them with the egg wash and then bake them for 25-30 minutes, until turning golden on top.


To freeze the empanadas: cool to room temperature, then wrap in aluminum foil and place into a freezer bag. When you want to defrost one (or more), preheat oven to 400, and put the frozen empanadas onto a baking sheet. Heat for 30-35 minutes, until hot all the way through.


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