For a delicious and easy Argentine dish, try these spinach empanadas! This recipe is perfect for a potluck, quick lunch, or dinner and can be tailored to your taste. With just a few ingredients, you can have a delicious empanada that's bound to please everyone.
There are different versions across South America, today we give you all the secrets about this dish that commonly becomes the main course in Argentina.
What is an Empanada?
There are different types of pastries, but the dough diverges in their type of fat content which may make them more or less flaky pastry, wrapped around the preparation of meat, vegetables, and or a piece of cheese, baked or fried in the oven.
Empanadas came here from Spain but have remained popular throughout Europe for decades. Different regions have different favorite versions of the traditional stuffed pie and they range from sweet to savory. The new empanada is a delicious baked variant stuffed with fresh spinach cheese and fresh cheese. This easy and satisfying empanada recipe is made with chilled crust.
This vegan spinach empanadas recipe calls for just a handful of easy-to-get ingredients.
- Fresh spinach (see vsriation notes if using frozen spinach)
- Spring onions
- Vegan ricotta cheese
- Olive oil
Paprika and water
How to make Spinach and Ricotta Empanadas
To make these spinach and cheese empanadas is super easy, but it helps to have a free surface where you can spread your ingredients.
Making vegan spinach empanadas doesn't require more than changing your choice of cheese and making sure you use olive oil for your dough.
In a nutshell, you need to prepare the filling, spread your dough, make the discs, fill the empanada circles, and bake them. Let's explain it step-by-step.
Prepare your ingredients
Finely chop the wilted or fresh or frozen spinach, green onion tops, and bottoms. Then, mince the garlic.
Cook the veggies
Start Sautéing the onions, garlic, with olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan for 2 minutes and add the spinach.
Continue stirring until the onions look translucent and then add freshly ground nutmeg, and season with salt, and pepper.
Let the mix cool slightly and stir in the vegan ricotta cheese to a large bowl.
Prepare to assemble empanadas
Make the "egg" wash, mixing the paprika with water in a small bowl. Traditionally this is made simply using the egg yolk, but it is just to the idea is just adding color to the baking empanadas dough. This is what is going to make your empanadas look golden brown.
Alternatively, you could use turmeric powder, which also has an orange color.
Set a second small bowl only with water to wet your fingers.
Spread the empanada or pizza dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. (skip this if using store-bought empanada circles).
Cut the empanadas circles with a 3-4 inches cutter or any circular plate with a circular shape.
Dust flour between each dough circle, or use parchment paper between them if you have leftover dough.
Roll the remaining dough into a ball, and spread it again with the rolling pin.
Preheat oven to medium-high heat at 450ºF (230ºC).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Moist your fingertips in the water bowl and spread some water on the edges of the discs.
Fill the discs with about one tablespoon of the spinach filling in the center of the disc.
Close the discs with a fork.
Or fold the dough outwards and inwards. Put pressure in the filled discs until closed.
Pinch the top of the empanadas with a fork, so they can release well the heat while being baked, that way they won't explode.
Brush the empanadas with the paprika mixture.
Bake the empanadas on prepared baking sheets in the preheated oven, for 15-20 minutes (until golden).
It is crucial to put water in the discs' tips before closing them. Otherwise, they will open in the oven.
You may think that the amount of suggested fresh spinach is too much, but as spinach wilts, it loses most of its volume.
You can have the empanada dough prepared a couple of hours or a day before.
The dough becomes easier to handle if it has been refrigerated for a couple of hours.
It is very common in Argentina to call these spinach empanadas "empanadas de verdura", and that's because they are commonly made combining both spinach and green swiss chard (acelga).
All typical, easy, and popular meal prep choices in South America.
Swiss chard yields more volume than spinach because their leaves are more sturdy, hence you may need to chop them well and cook them for extra 5 minutes.
Feel free to replace olive oil with vegan butter or your favorite vegetable oil.
You can store the empanadas in the fridge, separating them with baking paper.
To bake frozen empanadas, you just need to place them directly in a baking tray without defrosting.
You might need to leave them in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Empanadas are well kept frozen for months, so they make a great meal prep. The dough is well kept wholly covered in the fridge for two days.
Wondering how to serve spinach ricotta empanadas?
Baked spinach empanadas don't really need to be served with anything if you plan to have them as a main course. They are a complete meal.
It is very common in Argentina to have empanadas and pizza nights, so you basically have 2 empanadas and 2 pizza slices; this is because most pizza delivery services make both empanadas and pizza.
You can always serve them with a spicy sauce, such as Chimichurri Sauce.
Just serve a bowl with spoons with your favorite sauce, some suggestions?
Try our homemade vinaigrette, which also works well for your salads.
We also like using our creamy vegan sauce, Also known as Vegan Green Goddess.
Additional Pro tips
Spinach and ricotta cheese make a great combination.
If you love spinach and ricotta recipes, you will be delighted because the spinach filling used in this recipe can also be used to fill your cannelloni pasta. It works beautifully!
Can I use frozen spinach?
Yes! It is possible! Ensure to drain the excess liquid after thawing the frozen spinach and before it is incorporated into the savory spinach mixture.
More Empanada Recipes
Baked empanadas can be made as easy as expected. It will impress a large audience with delicious empanada recipes.
We usually make various fillings as that's how we learn to eat Argentinean empanadas; you have two to three different fillings; make a bunch, and you get to try more!
If you want to go for an easy one, simply make vegan Caprese Cheese empanadas with some vegan shredded cheese, drained tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Vegan Spinach Empanadas Recipe
- Finely chop the wilted or fresh spinach, green onion tops, and bottoms. Mince the garlic cloves.
- Sauté the onions, garlic with olive oil for 2 minutes, and add the spinach.
- Stir until golden, and add freshly ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- Let the mixture cool down, and strain it using a fine-mesh sieve to eliminate excess liquid. Then add the vegan ricotta cheese.
Prepare the assembling table
- Prepare the "egg" wash. With two little bowls, one with water only and the other one with two tablespoons of water and the paprika.
- Spread the dough with a rolling pin on a surface with just a little bit of flour to avoid sticking.
- Cut the discs with a 3-4 inches cutter or any circular plate with a circular shape.
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF (230ºC).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Moist your fingertips in the water bowl and spread some water on the edges of the discs.
- Fill the discs with about one tablespoon of the spinach mixture in the center of the disc.
- Close the discs and with a fork or folding them outwards and then inwards (see video), put pressure on the moist edges until perfectly closed.
- Brush the empanadas with the paprika mixture.
- Pinch the top of the empanadas with a fork, so they can release well the heat while being baked, that way they won't explode.
- Bake the empanadas on a non-stick pan or a flat pan with lined-parchment paper for 15-20 minutes (until golden).
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking points to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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