Empanadas (with vegan option)

It’s so very lovely when we sit down to dinner as a family and all 6 people at the table smile at the plate placed in front of them … and that’s what happens each time with this meal in our house!

I’m certain that they aren’t a traditional version of an empanada, but these are filling and tasty, easy for little fingers to hold, they hide a lot of veggies (in fact, it is super easy to make them a vegan dinner) and are even transportable for picnics and lunchboxes.

I adapted the dough recipe from Super Healthy Kids and you can find the link to it (and heaps of other fabulous food!) here

To make the dough:

  • 480g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 45g olive oil
  • 250ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tsp pink salt

Place water, yeast and sugar in your processor and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Add the oil, flour and salt then process to bring together to a dough (Speed 6 for about 10 seconds).

Tip the dough out and knead gently until smooth. Using your hands, smooth the surface with some olive oil and place in a clean bowl, covered with a tea towel in a warm place for about 45 minutes to an hour to double in size.



To make the filling:

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp Orgran gravy powder mixed with 1/2 cup hot water (or half a cup of homemade gravy is even better!)
  • 500g pumpkin
  • 2 handfulls spinach
  • 10-12 button mushrooms
  • 1 tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if your diet allows)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

Cut the pumpkin into chunks and place in your processor. Process until finely grated (Speed 6 for 15 seconds)

Add the mushrooms, lentils and spinach and process until very well combined (Speed 6 for 15 seconds at a time, scraping down sides in between). It will not look very appetizing at this point!!


In a large frying pan, heat some oil, add the garlic and onion and gently  fry until soft and translucent.

Add the mince and brown well.

Add the gravy, sauce and paste and continue to fry until mince is almost cooked.

Add the vegetable mix to the mince mix and combine well. Allow to cook gently, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes. Remove mixture from heat.


Remove the dough from the bowl and break into gold ball size pieces. Roll out to about a 3-4mm thickness.


Place a spoonfull of the filling on one side of the dough, then fold over and crip edges closed with a fork.


Brush with your choice of milk.

Place on a lined baking tray and into a preheated 210C oven for about 12-15 minutes or until golden.



Serve on their own or with extra veggies. This is how my kids like them best ….


To make a vegan filling:

Process only the pumpkin and spinach, leaving the lentils and mushrooms whole.

Heat the oil, cook the onion and garlic and then add about 20 finely slice button mushrooms to the pan, followed by the whole lentils. Cook until mushrooms are soft, then add the sauces and veggie mix.

The dough makes enough for 15 pieces. This is enough for our family for dinner and 2 lunch leftovers. However, the filling makes twice this amount, so I freeze half of the mix for a quicker meal next time.


2 thoughts on “Empanadas (with vegan option)

    1. Michele, you could try a gluten free mix and add a couple of teaspoons of psyllium to the mix to help with the flexibility of the dough. Good luck and let me know how you go!

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