Sweet Potato Black Bean Empanadas

I’ve been waiting to make empanadas since I began Veggie Passport. The process was not unlike making potstickers or pierogis, but the dough is much easier to handle, and baking them makes the cooking process super simple.

I’ll admit I didn’t quite know the origin of the empanada, but I’d assumed South America. I was partially correct. These savory and/or sweet pastries have roots all over the place: Argentina, Belize, Cape Verde, Chile, Philippines and more. I’d say this recipe most closely represents the Argentine variety. The dough is golden, crisp and flaky. The filling is savory, hearty and fresh. How can you say no? You don’t.

Have you made vegan empanadas? What kind of filling do you use? Let me know in the comments and tag me on Instagram!

VEGAN EMPANADA DOUGH

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ cup cold water

EMPANADA FILLING

Olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet potato, shredded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

BAKING GLAZE

2 tbsp unsweetened, nondairy milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. To make the dough, combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil and water and knead until the dough forms. If the dough is dry, add more water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and saute until translucent, followed by the garlic.
  4. Add the shredded sweet potato, season generously with salt/pepper and cook about 15 minutes, or until fully tender. Add the black beans and cilantro. Mix well, and add more salt/pepper if necessary. Turn off the heat.
  5. Separate the dough into 4 equal parts. Take ¼ of the dough, leaving the rest in the refrigerator. Roll out the portioned dough on a floured surface, until about ¼ inch thick. Place a small bowl (about 6 inches in diameter) upside down on your dough to use as a stencil and trace around the rim with a butter knife. Continue with the rest of your dough until you’ve used it all. Make sure to re-roll out your dough scraps to get as many empanadas as you possibly can.
  6. Once you have all empanada discs cut out, you can start forming your pastries. Place 1 tbsp of the sweet potato filling in the middle of a disc. Fold one side of the disc over the filling to meet the other, pinching the edges to seal the sides together. Slowly start to fold the edges of the dough in, giving a braided look (this video is a helpful visual, starting at 0:15 seconds).
  7. Arrange the empanadas on a parchment lined baking sheet. Mix together the non-dairy milk, olive oil and maple syrup. Use a brush to glaze each empanada - this will help them turn a beautiful golden brown and get extra crisp.
  8. Bake the empanadas for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure to rotate the baking sheet half-way through.
  9. Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from At The Immigrant's Table