Vegan Empanadas

Every week we try to make something new. Something that perhaps we saw in a magazine or more likely than not, something that popped up on one of our social media feeds. During Super Bowl week I saw a few ideas for Empanadas … I mean hey, meat, cheese, football, I get it. And ever since I’ve been tossing around ideas in my head on how to make them plant-based. Which, as it turned out, was one of the easiest tweaks to any traditionally-meat-based foods that I have ever attempted. And I have to tell you they are absolutely DELICIOUS! Beyond. I cannot wait to make a bunch of these for all the non-believers out there …

Vegan food is so gross!! (LOL) Really? Cause you just ate a meatless “meat” pie and asked for another! 

Empanadas are, so I have learned, Spanish in origin. I’ve always associated them with Mexican street food and have seen them served out of food trucks just about everywhere, but I’ve never had one. Typically baked or fried, they usually contain some kind of meat, onion, cheese, tomato, corn, and other types of local ingredients. Wait. Do these sound similar to something else? Umm, yea. I mean every country and or region in the world has it’s version of a folded meat, or meatless, pie … a few more recognizable one include:

  • SAMOSA: A fried or baked pastry associated with South Asia but also found in parts of Asia and Africa too. Often pan-fried before serving, these can be savory or sweet and are always boiled—like a dumpling—after stuffing. You can easily make this version at home using wonton wrappers.
  • PIEROGI: These Central European delights are typically filled with potato, cheese, sauerkraut, ground meat and possibly mushrooms. They’re usually boiled after stuffing and then fried, or baked, and are small enough that an adult could easily eat three to four.
  • PIROZHKI: The Russian version, is a baked or fried yeast-leavened bun-like (round) pie filled with everything mentioned above, sometimes even rice too.
  • CALZONE and STROMBOLI: The Italian versions are typically stuffed with mozzarella and other cheeses from the region along with meats and veggies. The big difference between them is the shape—calzones are crescent, and stromboli are cylindrical or rectangular. And calzones traditionally don’t have tomato sauce inside.
  • KOLACHE: Originating from the Slovak and Czech countries, these pies are made from a yeast dough and though traditionally sweet in nature, there’s plenty of places (and people) making them with breakfast ingredients like scrambled eggs as well as sausages and just about everything else mentioned above.
  • UNCRUSTABLES: The lazy American’s version of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I know. I’m hilarious.
  • HOT POCKETS: The lazy American’s version of … I’m not really sure what. LOL.

Back to the empanadas and how we made them … a few notes, one, I highly recommend using Lightlife’s Smart Ground. The flavor and texture is outstanding, and it smells divine. It comes precooked so you don’t have to brown it, but I do. And two, I prefer using Wealka’s puff pastry over any other brand because one, it’s vegan, and two it has never let me down. Also, I highly suggest making different kinds of empanadas: try an all veggie one with Chinese spice. An Italian version with a little vegan parmesan and sundried tomatoes. And yes, you can make the dough/crust yourself, I just like them better with the pastry sheets. Honestly, the options are endless so you do you and enjoy!


PREP TIME: 45 minutes | COOK TIME: 35 minutes

  • 1 box Lightlife (or other brand) vegan crumbles
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp chopped garlic
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ can of tomato paste
  • 1 can (6 ounce) green chilis
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 1 TBS Italian herbs
  • 1/2 cup of your fav vegan cheese
  • **add rice and black beans to make them even heartier
  • 2 boxes, 4 sheets, puff pastry, preferably Wewalka
  • **optional egg white wash

Saute the crumbles, onion, garlic and green pepper in a touch of olive oil for about five minutes, or until nicely browned. Note, since this doesn’t contain animal fat like meat, it will stick and burn quickly so watch closely. Add everything else but the cheese and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside and stir in cheese.

Unroll pastry sheets and cut into squares, or whatever shapes you want. Place the parchment paper with the pastry squares onto a baking sheet. Spoon a good amount of mixture onto the dough then carefully fold over and seal edges with fingertips. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, then finish for 10-15 minutes at 400 so they turn a nice golden brown. But be sure you watch closely so they don’t burn. If you want to coat the empanadas with an egg wash, which I do recommend, then do so before baking. Serve with vegan sour cream, avocado or guac, salsa, or any kind of dipping sauce. And remember peeps RELAX … Eat more plants. Eat less meat, or none at all. Eat less dairy, or none at all. But whatever you do, EAT MORE PLANTS!

Tomatillo Guacamole

A delicious, nutritious and lower calorie option for guacamole. Try it!! You’ll like it!

Lentil-stuffed Enchiladas

The first time I had enchiladas stuffed with lentils rather than chicken or beef, I remember thinking there was NO WAY IN HELL that they would taste good, but this one of my all time fav dishes!!

On Being a Flexitarian


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