Easy Vegetarian Empanada Recipe Your Kids will Love

Corn, black beans and tomatoes- what could be better in a vegetarian empanada? How about a little cheese?

When I set out to make a veggie empanada my boys would love, I combined a few different online recipes. I found a few recipes with too much onion or scallion; not great for my heartburn. Other recipes weren’t flavorful enough. You need some depth in your filling flavor or it gets lost in the empanada dough.

Vegetarian Empanadas

A vegetarian empanada also had to have protein. Black beans and cheese bring in that healthy protein element, plus loads of flavor and texture. Luckily, my boys already eat black beans in their tacos, so this wasn’t a big stretch.

Sneaking in the tomatoes was tricky, but by making them super small, I was able to pass them off as peppers. Keep in mind that there are no peppers in this recipe. Peppers do play a large part in a lot of my other empanada recipes though, so it wasn’t a stretch for the kids to believe.

Plus, you could certainly add a chopped up red, orange or yellow pepper for some added flavor complexity.

Why eat Veggie Empanadas?

Not everyone can or wants to eat meat. For instance, my sister can’t eat pork or beef. Her body just doesn’t like it.

My sister can eat my chicken empanadas, but she leans towards more vegetarian meals. It is easier for her body to process. She could have my cheese and potato empanadas, inspired by my favorite Puerto Rican restaurant in Seattle, but that’s a lot of carbs for her too.

So, for those looking for a vegetarian option when making homemade empanadas, this veggie empanada is for you.

BONUS: this vegetarian empanada filling is great on its own. Just make a big pot and spoon it out onto some lettuce. You could also be lazy like us. Sometimes we eat it plain (cold or hot works), while the kids throw theirs into a store-bought crispy tortilla shell.

Vegetarian Empanadas

Vegetarian Empanada Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes (seeded and diced)
  • 1 can of black beans (15oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Gather all of your staple ingredients right HERE

Vegetarian Empanadas

Veggie Empanada instructions

  1. Pour olive oil into large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic, sauté until onions soften.
  3. Add cilantro and cumin, stirring for about 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato, black beans and corn, cooking for about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain any excess liquid, pouring mixture into a bowl, allowing to cool to room temperature.
  6. Add cheese and cilantro, stirring just until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Allow vegetarian empanada mixture to chill for at least 2 hours, allowing the flavors to really set.

Don’t forget to Use our
homemade empanada dough recipe

Vegetarian Empanadas

Making Baked Vegetarian Empanadas

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Take your baked empanada dough out of the fridge
  4. Measure out smaller dough balls (about 2-3 tbsps of dough). Roll each ball with a rolling pin or use a tortilla press to make 6-7 inch round empanada shells.
  5. Spoon about 1 tbsp of veggie empanada mix into the center of your empanada shell.
  6. Fold shell in half, making a half moon, crimp the empanada dough together with your fingers or a fork.
  7. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  8. Brush each empanada with egg wash (whisk together1 egg plus 1 tablespoon of water).
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, adding a little more time if needed, until golden brown.

More Veggie Empanada Flavors

  • Cheese empanadas (with potatoes and mojito sauce)
Chicken Empanada

Meat-lover empanada Recipes

What to serve with Vegetarian Empanadas

I love sides with my empanadas, whether be a few more cut up vegetables or a pile of tostones (fried plantains) or maduros (sweet plantains). I don’t like rice with empanadas, because there is already a lot of starch in the empanada shell. A nice cocktail, and some lime-filled ice cream to balance out the savory veggie empanada is all I need.

Ready to try it? Pin it!

Yield: 25

Vegetarian Empanadas

Vegetarian Empanadas

This easy baked empanada dough will have you whipping up flaky pastry pouches once a week to feed your entire family. All you need to figure out is which filling to spoon into each circle of dough!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes (seeded and diced)
  • 1 can of black beans (15oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Pour olive oil into large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic, sauté until onions soften.
  3. Add cilantro and cumin, stirring for about 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato, black beans and corn, cooking for about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain any excess liquid, pouring mixture into a bowl, allowing to cool to room temperature.
  6. Add cheese and cilantro, stirring just until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Allow vegetarian empanada mixture to chill for at least 2 hours, allowing the flavors to really set.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Take your baked empanada dough out of the fridge
  11. Measure out smaller dough balls (about 2-3 tbsps of dough). Roll each ball with a rolling pin or use a tortilla press to make 6-7 inch round empanada shells.
  12. Spoon about 1 tbsp of veggie empanada mix into the center of your empanada shell.
  13. Fold shell in half, making a half moon, crimp the empanada dough together with your fingers or a fork.
  14. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  15. Brush each empanada with egg wash (whisk together1 egg plus 1 tablespoon of water).
  16. Bake for 20 minutes, adding a little more time if needed, until golden brown.

Notes

Click for our Baked Empanada Dough Recipe

MORE FILLING IDEAS:

Pizza Empanadas: While not traditional, if you have very picky eaters in your house, you can mix a little pasta sauce into a bowl of shredded mozzarella cheese and use that as your empanada dough filling. Sometimes we chop up pepperoni to put inside our pizza empanadas too. You just don't want a soggy filling. Plain ole slices of mozzarella with a pasta sauce dip is a hit in our house too.

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