Believe it or not, empanadas are one of my staple weekend dinners. After you make them once, you’ll make them again and again because they’re so darn delicious, easy to make, and can be switched up every time. They’re also a great date night dinner to make with a significant other or friend. The bonus? Prep time will be cut in half if you’ve got somebody to help. You can also have them waiting in the fridge for your post-Shabbat meal.
You can absolutely make these alone, too, just take the empanadas out of the freezer mid-way through the stovetop instructions, and then roll out the dough after you’ve cooked everything else. It’ll actually be easier to work with the empanadas if the filling isn’t hot. Pairs should share the work by having one person cook the filling while the other gets the dough ready.
The great thing about empanadas is that you can really put anything in them. I should mention that my friend, Kristin, taught me everything I know about making these treats. Pizza empanadas with mozzarella and tomato sauce are great, and so are veggie empanadas with sweet corn, onion, tomatoes and any type of squash. I usually make the following with vegan chorizo, but feel free to substitute with whatever you’d like.
½ package of vegan chorizo
½ bell pepper, diced
1/3 onion, diced
¼ can of diced tomatoes or 1 medium tomato chopped
1 package frozen empanada discs (can be found in large supermarkets or specialty stores. If you’re looking specifically for kosher, I’d stick to either a supermarket that deals with kosher products, or a Whole Foods.)
Flour for the dough[It’s sometimes easier to double the recipe and use a whole package of vegan chorizo and 2 packages of empanadas. If there are only two of you, refrigerate the leftovers—they’ll heat up nicely.]
- Dice up the veggies.
- Cook the vegan chorizo over medium heat with a little vegetable oil. If you’re using another meatless meat, feel free to spice it up however you see fit. Since I live in Baltimore, I tried out the local favorite, Old Bay (which is kosher). Break up the meatless meat as it cooks into small pieces.
- Either sauté the veggies separately until softened, or throw them in with vegan chorizo.
- Preheat oven to 400°F and remove the empanada dough from freezer. Separate discs to soften.
- Flour a counter or cutting board. Once dough is no longer stiff, start rolling each one out slightly so it will fit more filling—otherwise you’ll end up with a teaspoon worth of filling in each one. Don’t roll out too much, or you won’t be able to manhandle your empanadas onto the cookie sheet.
- Beat the egg in a bowl.
One person can use a finger to wet the top outer edge of the empanada discs with cold water, one by one, while the other person spoons a heaping tablespoon of vegan chorizo and veggies onto the upper middle part of each disc. Then fold the dough in half and press down the edges. Using a fork, firmly press the edges together to seal.
Place empanadas on a cookie sheet. Brush a coating of egg wash on top of each one and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops start to brown.