Sweet Potato & Black Bean Empanadas

I tried out a new recipe to add to my annual Christmas Eve buffet table.  Since our daughter became a vegetarian many moons ago, I have had fun experimenting with different foods for her and she doesn’t mind one bit being a guinea pig either.




1 Large Sweet Potato
1 Cup Cooked Black Beans*
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Small Jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Chili Flakes (or to taste)
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Queso Fresco or drained Cottage Cheese


2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Shortening (cold)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
3/4 tsp Salt
3-4 Tbsp Cold Water
1 Tbsp Vinegar


1 Egg Yolk
2 Tbsp Cold Water


Preheat oven to 350°F and place sweet potato on a baking sheet; bake for approximately 1 hour or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Peel skin and scoop out flesh into a medium bowl, mash and set aside.

Crush cooked beans with a potato masher but make sure they still have some texture, set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add jalapeño and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add cumin and coriander and saute for another 30 seconds or so until fragrant.  Add sweet potato, beans, lime juice and chili flakes.  Mix well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from heat and add cheese; mix well.  Set filling aside to cool.

To make Pastry – place flour, salt turmeric and shortening in a large bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut shortening into flour until mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.  Combine water and vinegar and add enough to bring dough together. 

Turn out onto floured surface and quickly knead into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and set in fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/8″ thickness.  Using a 4″ cookie cutter, cut out circles, re-rolling scraps until dough has been used up (you should get about 15 dough circles).

Combine egg yolk and cold water, whisk with a fork until frothy.  Brush outer edges of pastry circles with the egg yolk mixture.  Fill each circle with a heaped teaspoon of filling.  Fold in half, making sure to distribute filling inside and pinch edges together to seal.  Crimp edges with the tines of a fork. 

Set filled empanadas on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush remaining egg mixture onto the tops of the empanadas.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until edges start to turn golden.  Makes approximately 15 empanadas.

Serve Hot with Chipotle Aioli Dipping Sauce. 

* If using canned beans, drain and rinse well to remove as much sodium as you can.  I always use dried beans that have been re-hydrated and cooked.

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