Vegan Chipotle Empanadas

Mexican Sides & Mains

SO this happened! I have to give full credit to Chancy for the idea of this recipe. Although yes I may have creating the recipe, he 100% is responsible for the idea! Not surprised! That man loves his empanadas! Empanadas are a traditional food popular in latin and South America. They’re fried or baked pastries stuffed with sweet or savory fillings.

They’re eaten often in the Mexican culture although my mexican mother NEVER made or had them in the household growing up. I remember having them every so often at parties or seeing them in Mexico on family trips. My mother didn’t see anything healthy about a fried piece of dough filled with meats and cheese and I can’t blame her!

I can’t deny it, I see why they’re so popular in latin cultures. Whats not to love? I ate a fair share of hot pockets in high school which is practically the Americanized version of a empanada! haha.

Chancy looked at me with his big, hungry, (yet so cute) eyes and said “Babe, VEGAN EMPANADAS!” And then followed a “Pleaseeeeeee”. I gave him the honest answer of, I’m sure I can pull it off, although I need to do my research and try a few different recipes before I can get it right. So with patience, time, a tummy full of empanadas I finally figured out the right dough, filling and method.

The filling is something that came to me in my mind when I was writing out recipe ideas. I often do this… I think of a recipe in my mind and know it will taste amazing. Its strange but it works.This stems from me either being hungry or thinking about childhood meals, passed recipes I have developed or meals I loves from restaurants from my travels. My mind will run in circles and the creative juices start flowing. I love the texture of tempeh and love that it absorbs and adapts nicely to any flavor you attack it with. I decided to pair the tempeh with mushrooms because mushrooms have a meaty like texture but also has moisture which is a nice contrast with the tempeh.

Disclaimer! You will have left over filling mixture. But this stuff is SO good you will be stoked. You can throw the mixture over rice, put it into a burrito OR double the dough mixture.





Makes 8 Empanadas

For the dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (+1/4 cup more for when you roll out the dough)
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (or water, See note below)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 3 cups yellow or regular tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 chipotle peppers from can with seeds removed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, chopped into very small pieces
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper

For the cilantro cream

  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tso onion powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Crack of pepper
  • Juice of one lime





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  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, water, coconut oil*, and salt. Knead the dough with your hands for 3 to 4 minutes, until it’s a smooth ball.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and set in the fridge while you assemble the filling.
  4. Saute onions, garlic and tomatoes for 10 minutes on medium high heat, add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a food processor put cooked tomato mixture with chipotle peppers and blend for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, until a chunky salsa is formed.
  6. In the same pan you cooked the tomatoes and onions (do not wash pan) add tempeh and mushrooms and sauté on medium heat for 7 min.
  7. Open can of black beans, rinse with water and then add to the tempeh and mushroom mixture.
  8. Immediately after add the tomato chipotle sauce to the tempeh mixture and stir until everything is well combined.
  9. Turn off heat and transfer mixture to a large bowl to let cool. Give the mixture a good mix for about a minute to release extra heat. You want your mixture to be cooled before you assemble the empanadas.
  10. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 8 equal pieces and shape into small flat rounds.
  11. Lightly flour a clean work surface with 1 tbsp of flour. Roll out each dough piece into a round about an ⅛ of an inch thick (sprinkle additional flour on your table or dough as necessary).
  12. Place a large spoonful of filling in the center. Fold the dough over to close and use a fork to press the two sides together at the seam.
  13. Wipe the large skillet clean and heat over medium-high heat. Brush 1/4 tsp of vegan butter on the tops of the empanadas. (You can try to avoid using the vegan butter by using a non stick pan, although you will not get the same crispy browned look and taste. I did some with vegan butter and some without.)
  14. Once hot, add the empanadas top side down and cook until well browned, about 1-2 minute on each side. Flip empanadas, cook for an additional minute, and then transfer to a baking sheet, browned side facing up. Bake for 15 minutes.
  15. Meanwhile make the cilantro cream sauce by adding all the ingredients to a high speed blender and blending until smooth and creamy. (If you’re using a food processor make sure to soak your cashews for at least 2 hours In filtered water.)
  16. Once empanadas are ready remove from the oven and serve with slices of avocado and a side of the cilantro cream.

The coconut oil in the recipe is optional. As some of you may know, I typically put out recipes that are oil free, although for this particular recipe I do have to say that using oil makes the crust of the empanada have a more traditional taste, leaving it moist, soft and flakey. I did some without the oil, and while it was still tasty, It was slightly dry and not as tasty as the oil ones! Your call! ENJOY!


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