Vegetarian Empanadas With Black Beans and Corn

Vegetarian empanada recipe

The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  • Total: 3 hrs 25 mins
  • Prep: 3 hrs
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 20 to 40 servings

These savory empanadas have a delicious filling made with black beans, corn, and cheese, seasoned with cilantro, cumin, and a little bit of chile pepper. Add golden raisins to give them the touch of sweetness particular to South American empanadas.

If possible, make the filling and dough the night before, and let them chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

  • For the Empanada Dough
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (chilled)
  • 12 tablespoons lard (or vegetable shortening, chilled)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water
  • For the Filling
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons aji panca paste
  • 1 medium tomato (seeded and diced)
  • 5 to 6 scallions (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans (drained)
  • 2 cups corn kernels (frozen)
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • 4 ounces farmers cheese (cut into 1/4-inch cubes)
  • 4 ounces pepper jack cheese (cut into cubes)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped) 
  • For Assembly
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this empanada dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Empanada Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for empanada dough
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar.

    Stir flour
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Blend the butter and lard (or shortening) into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, or with two knives, until fairly well blended.

    Blend butter
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cups water.

    Egg yolk
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Stir in the 1/2 cup of the water-egg mixture, a little bit at a time, until the dough starts to come together smoothly.

    Stir
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Keep kneading the dough, adding more of the water-egg mixture as needed (you may need a few tablespoons extra of water), until the dough is smooth. The dough will seem a bit saggy until it has thoroughly chilled. Taste for salt and add more if needed.

    Add egg
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour.

    Cover dough
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for filling
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Pour boiling water over the golden raisins and let soak for 10 minutes, then drain. Set aside.

    Raisins
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Add the vegetable oil to a heavy skillet and place over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, cumin, garlic salt, and aji paste, and sauté until the onions are very soft and translucent - about 5 to 8 minutes.

    Add vegetable oil
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, the scallions, and the sugar and sauté, stirring, for about 5 minutes more, or until excess liquid has cooked away and tomatoes are beginning to stick to the pan.

    Add tomatoes
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Add the black beans and sauté, until excess liquid is cooked away, about 5 minutes.

    Add black beans
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Add the corn, raisins, and lime juice, and cook for 5 minutes more.

    Add corn
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 
  7. Remove mixture from heat and scrape into a heatproof bowl.

    Remove mixture
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the cheese cubes and the cilantro. Chill mixture for 2 hours, or overnight.

    Let cool
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Assemble and Bake the Empanadas

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for wash
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.

  3. Divide the dough into 20 pieces (for large empanadas), or about 40 pieces (for small, appetizer size empanadas). 

    Divide dough
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Roll each piece of dough into a circle about 1/4-inch thick. (Circles will be about 6 inches in diameter for the larger empanadas and about 3 1/2 inches for the smaller ones).

    Roll out
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle of dough (1 teaspoon for small empanadas).

    Place filling in dough
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Fold the dough over the filling to make a semicircle. Press the edges together firmly to seal.

    Fold dough
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Fold the edge over itself and crimp decoratively.

    Empanada
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the empanadas generously with the beaten egg.

    Wash empanada
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

    Bake empanada
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. Let cool and dust with powdered sugar.

    Bake empanada
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Vegetarian empanada black beans and corn
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Tip

  • The raw dough can also be kept in the fridge for up to two days. When ready to use, the dough should be soft and smooth, not elastic. If you poke a hole in the dough with your finger, the indentation should remain.