I love empanadas-actually, anything wrapped in a little handheld pocket is aces in my book. This recipe is great because it makes a small stockpile of empanadas that you can freeze and pull out whenever you want a nice snack or a quick meal. They are also a crowd-pleaser because you get a variety of fillings for every taste. The other nice thing about these is that you use ready made store bought dough- which is totally not necessary, if your a purist and insistent on making your own dough- but is pretty damn awesome when your trying to get together this meal for your hungry family and don’t have a ton of time. (Halfway homemade for the win!)
Here’s what you need: Ready made empanada dough, defrosted (they had this at my supermarket, if you can’t find them in your local supermarket, try going to a market in a more predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, or you can also order them online– although I can only find them to buy in quantities for a small army!), 5-6 TBSP of your preferred choice of cooking oil, (I used sunflower oil), 3 onions- peeled and diced, 7-8 cloves of garlic-minced, corn stripped from 4 ears of corn, 3 cups of butternut squash (peeled and cubed- you can also sub in sweet potatoes!), fresh cilantro, 2 cups chopped porcini mushrooms, 5-6 ounces (1 bag) of fresh spinach, 1 can black beans- drained and rinsed, 3 bell peppers- seeded and sliced into strips, salt, pepper.
Here’s the plan: Put 2 TBSP on oil into a pan on medium heat. Saute the 3 chopped onions and all the garlic. Cook until soft and translucent. Remove 2/3 of the onions from the pan and set aside. (You will be using those for your other fillings.) Add the butternut squash to the onions and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add the corn to the pan, stir to incorporate. Chop the cilantro (I really love cilantro, so I probably added about a 3/4 c of chopped herb- slightly packed, but you add to your tastes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan and put in a separate bowl, set aside.
Take half of the leftover onion mixture and add to the pan with 1 TBSP oil. Add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft. Add fresh spinach and stir until it cooks down. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and place in separate bowl. Set aside.
Take the rest of the onions and add to the pan with 1 TBSP oil. Add your strips of peppers and cook and stir until soft. Add the can of beans and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a separate bowl, set aside.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Take your first empanada dough disc and place on the baking sheet, all the way to left hand side. Choose which filling to use first- you’ll end up using all 3 so whichever one you want to use first is up to you, scoop about 1/2 cup of filling onto the dough disc. Push onto one side and fold over the disc so it makes a half moon pocket. Using a fork, press the bottom flat part of the fork around the edges of the dough disc to crimp and seal the edge. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the sealed empanada with your choice of cooking oil. Repeat this process with the rest of your dough discs and your 3 fillings. This recipe made about 12 large empanadas for me. Depending on the size of your dough discs (my supermarket had both large and small discs)- and how much you stuff them, the number of empanadas you get may vary slightly.
Bake in oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes until tops are browned. (Watch them! Mine went from white to tan very quickly!)
Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy- with salsa, vegan sour cream, or an avocado crema!