Baked Southwestern Empanadas

“We are addicted to Mexican!”  My husband declared this to me as we were in the middle of feasting on chips, salsa, beans, and rice this week.  Sooooo…..maybe it’s true.  And maybe I’m ok with that.  Who am I kidding?  I’m totally ok with that!!!

Now that I have confessed, allow me to introduce my latest creation to you: the Southwestern Empanada.  These are baked, almost vegan, high in protein, and less than 300 calories each.

Southwestern Empanada Recipe by Amanda's Apron

One of my favorite appetizers at restaurants is avocado egg rolls.  Now that you know my aforementioned addiction, I will confess I could eat black beans basically every day.  This lovely empanada combines both worlds in a beautiful handheld lunch.

Southwestern Baked Empanada recipe that is vegetarian | Amanda's Apron

Southwestern Empanada Recipe makes 10 large pastries
10 empanada discs* in the freezer section
15oz black beans cooked, drained, and rinsed
2 ripe hass avocados
1 small onion
1 small tomato
1 jalapeño
1 lime
1/4C red bell pepper
1/4C yellow bell pepper
3T cooked brown rice
2T cilantro
1T olive oil
Adobo seasoning to taste

*The discs have whey in them, nixing the vegan factor.  If you’d like to make your own vegan empanada dough from scratch, check out this recipe from Epicurean Vegan.

Ingredients for Healthy Baked Empanadas | Amanda's Apron

In Florida, we have the luxury of having Latin lines of food including Goya products.  The empanada discs, or discos, are in the freezer section and look a little something like this.  Let these lovlies defrost before use.

Goya Discos are perfect for quick empanadas | Amanda's Apron

You’ll also need Adobo seasoning.  My half Dominican husband did a happy dance the day I finally bought this.

Adobo Seasoning is perfect for empanadas | Amanda's ApronChop the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and sauté them over medium heat with the olive oil.

Saute vegetables for healthy empanada filling | Amanda's ApronAfter a few moments, or once the vegetables were soft but not browned, I added the rice and 1/2 of the beans to heat and soften them.  Add adobo to taste (a couple good shakes.)  Cook for about 5 minutes.

How to make Southwest Empanadas | Amanda's ApronMash the remaining beans with a fork. I added a bit more adobo here just for fun.  Also, I don’t know why Latin cooks use forks so much but they work!

Mashed beans as empanada filling | Amanda's ApronCombine all ingredients except avocado in a bowl and refrigerate for a few moments to cool.  This makes the filling easier to handle and the avocado will be able to be mixed in without immediately browning.  While the filling is cooling, prepare a small bowl of water.  Cut the avocado then mix it in with the rest of the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 400.  Lay out a defrosted disc and place about two tablespoons of filling in the middle.

Southwestern Vegetarian Empanada Recipe | Amanda's ApronDip your fingers in the water and wet the top half of the circle.

Use water to seal the edge of the empanada | Amanda's ApronLift the bottom half and seal it smoothly with the top.  Push in any filling that tries to escape.

A tutorial - How to perfectly seal an empanada | Amanda's ApronNow, here’s the secret to keeping the empanadas from popping apart in the oven.  I learned this from my Dominican grandmother-in-love.  Use a fork to seal the whole outer side of the empanada, then flip it over and seal the bottom side with a fork as well.  The bottom side essentially becomes the top because the fork prints look prettier.

Seal empanadas with fork tines so the pastries don't pop open in the oven | Amanda's ApronLay empanadas on a cookie sheet that has been lightly sprayed with oil.  Lightly spray the top of the pastries with oil as well.  If you don’t want to bake them all at this point, these freeze well!  Then it’s simply a matter of popping them in the oven when you’re ready for a meal.  Think healthy hot pockets?

How to make healthy empanadas | Amanda's Apron

Bake at 400 for 12 minutes.  Take the tray out of the oven and spray once more with oil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  They come out golden and crispy.  So.  Good.

Perfectly Golden Baked Empanadas | Amanda's Apron

Serve while hot!  These are so crispy, no one will even know they’re not fried!

Delicious Vegetarian Empanada Recipe | Amanda's ApronThese, as baked, will save for a few days in the fridge.  Reheat in the oven to maintain crispness.

Healthy empanadas that aren't fried! Learn with this recipe from Amanda's Apron


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Posted under: Main Course, Sandwiches and Wraps, Vegetarian

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