Friday, March 5, 2010

Easy Empanadas

Besides America's Test Kitchen, Real Simple is another recipe resource I go to especially for easy, quick recipes. I was introduced to Real Simple in Boston soon after it launched as I was considering it for one of my client's advertising campaigns. I remember not being familiar with the magazine, and one of my teammates convinced me to start reading it, and I've been hooked ever since. I don't get comps like I used to :-( but whenever there's a good issue I pick it up off the newsstand. You can find it at The Container Store too - another bastion of type A-ness!

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I remembered in Boston I used to like to make their empanada recipe and thought to try it again. It's non-traditional as it's baked instead of fried and it's meatless, but since I've been eating SO much red meat lately I thought it would be a good balance. 

Now, my recipes don't always turn out looking like the recipe in the picture, but here is the process and outcome of my empanadas (the pic above is Real Simple's):

1. I start out with Peter Reinhart's dough recipe; I keep in 6 balls instead of the usual 3 which I make for pizza. One ball of dough makes 2 empanadas.

2. I use organic salsa and Amy's Organic Refried Beans for the filling; I used to use Old El Paso, but decided I needed to forgo the lard. Amy's beans are surprisingly really good (I'm not a fan of the vegetarian chili though!).

3. Next, I stuff with the beans, salsa and cheese then brush with olive oil.



4. After 15 minutes on 400 degrees I'm ready to eat it with a bit of salsa and reduced fat sour cream on the side (I used to dislike sour cream, but since Baby Agbai has taken over my body I love it!).


Looks a little pale, I know, but it's yummy!

Here's the official recipe:



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package refrigerated pizza dough (about 1 pound)
  • flour for the work surface
  • 1 16-ounce can refried beans
  • 1 1-pint container fresh salsa
  • 1 8-ounce package shredded Cheddar
  • sour cream (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Spread 1 teaspoon of the oil on a baking sheet. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each into an 8-inch round on a lightly floured surface.
  2. On half of each round, spread some of the beans, then top with 1½ tablespoons of the salsa and 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Fold over the other half of each round, covering the filling, and press the curved edge with your thumb to seal. Lightly brush the tops of the empanadas with the remaining oil, then transfer to the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired. (Perfect complement: the salad of avocado, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice pictured in the first picture.)



  1. Quiana: I have a great beef empanada recipe courtesy of Ale's mom if you'd like it. I could always come over and do a demo so that you know how to do the folding. There's a great new Argentine cookbook called "Seven Fires" that you should check out. I just bought it for him, and I am sure he's going to be homesick.

  2. Yes, that would be great! RS' is a quickie version and I'm sure Spanish speakers worldwide would be appalled that I even posted it ;-)