These pockets of heaven taste so much like beef, but I swear they’re 100% vegan! This recipe is SO delicious, so savory, and as authentic as it could be.
People have told me that these are even better than empanadas that use real beef. And I agree, that they’re much more flavorful. This is totally one of those recipes that people would NEVER guess is vegan. Make it and see for your self if you don’t believe me!
Empanadas have an infinite variety of fillings. In Argentina, some of the most common are beef, chicken, ham and cheese, spinach, etc. The most popular type is certainly beef. I found an easy way to make a meaty ground beef substitute. Using a 1:1 ration of TVP and cremini mushrooms works really well. Also, tofu is used as a substitute for the chunks of hard boiled egg.
You may have read on My Story that I’m Argentine. Empanadas were a staple of my childhood. I always told people that Argentine food would be the only thing I would really miss as a vegan. I’m so thankful that I was able to create this recipe, because now that will never be a problem!
Note about the dough: Empanada dough is easy to make, but time consuming. I usually buy pre-made discs from a Latin grocery store to save time. Some are vegan, but some have animal shortening, so it’s important to read the label. When I am baking empanadas for the holidays or have extra time, I use Terry Hope Romero’s empanada dough recipe, which can be found Here. Keep in mind, you’ll have to 2.5x it since my recipe yields about 30 empanadas.
- Extra Firm Tofu - 1 cup, cubed into 1/4 inch pieces
- Green Olives - 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes - 1 1/2 tablespoons
- Paprika - 2 tablespoons
- Cumin - 2 tablespoons
- Cocoa Powder - 1 tablespoon
- Earth Balance or other vegan butter - 2 tablespoons, divided
- Yellow or Spanish Onions - 2, medium, diced
- Cremini Mushrooms - 1 cup, minced
- TVP - 1 cup
- Water - 1 cup, in shallow bowl
- Empanada Dough Disks - 30, see above notes
- Olive Oil (Optional) - 2 Tablespoons
- 3 lemons - Cut into wedges, for drizzling
1. Add chopped tofu, green olives, nutritional yeast flakes, paprika, cumin, and cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Rehydrate TVP. Heat 1 cup water in a small saucepan until it is steaming but not boiling. Add TVP and stir until all excess water has been absorbed. Add to other ingredients in the large mixing bowl.
3. In a frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance or vegan butter. Once melted, add diced onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add minced mushrooms and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add cooked onions and mushrooms to other ingredients in large mixing bowl.
4. Add an additional tablespoon of Earth Balance or vegan butter to the ingredients and mix to combine evenly. Make sure you are getting all the spices and other ingredients from the bottom.
6. Preheat oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
7. One at a time, lay one empanada disk flat and spoon no more than 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling into the center of the disk.
8. Dip your fingers into the shallow bowl of water and run them along the entire edge. This will help the dough stick together and prevent it from opening while baking.
9. Fold the dough in half over the filling. Press down on the dough covered filling and allow excess air to escape.
10. Seal the empanadas by firmly pressing the edges together. To prevent filling from leaking, fold each of the corners and curl edges, making sure there are no holes.
11. Place empanadas on cookie sheet. If you would like, at this point you can brush olive oil onto the tops of each empanada to add a very slight crisp. In an effort to not consume unneeded calories, I don't do this and they turn out just as well :)
12. Bake for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
13. When they are ready to eat, cut an empanada in half and drizzle lemon juice into the filling. This is the best way to eat them!