food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Friday Feast – Savory Empanadas

Ah, empanadas. Hand pies. Calzones. Pasties. Samosas.

Whatever you call them in your home, these little purse-shaped bread pockets have quite a history. Before I dive into all that, though, I must say that in all honesty, this post was inspired by my brother’s girlfriend, Michelle. She posted photos on Facebook of salted caramel apple hand pies that she made using a recipe from Just a Taste. They looked SO good. I just had to have a go at savory empanadas.

Perhaps originating in Galicia (the northwesternmost region of Spain), the word “empanada” derives from the Spanish verb “empanar”, meaning to wrap in bread. Being a region most famous for its bountiful “mariscos” (seafood), Galicians began making Empanadas Gallegas filled with things like cod, mussels, and octopus.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral from my trip to Spain in 2008

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Galicia has a very special place in my heart, as it was the location of my college study abroad trip. While in Santiago de Compostela, my Señora (host-mother) made vegetarian empanadas as well as a cinnamon-apple variety for me to take on a field trip to the beautiful coastal city of A Coruña. Ugh, I wish I had taken photos of her amazing food. The empanada crust was slightly browned and crunchy, but it held the fillings perfectly. She also taught me how to make the classic Spanish tapas dish, Tortilla de Patatas.

Back to my little take on savory empanadas, though, here’s how I made my version.

Savory Empanadas //

I had a store-bought pie crust in the fridge. I also had a spare sweet potato and a few onions lying around… so I caramelized the onions with a little butter and took the easy way out by cooking the sweet potato in the microwave.

Then, in a medium bowl, I mixed the sweet potato flesh and cooked onions with some parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, minced fresh sage, and a pinch of nutmeg. I used an upside-down cup to cut perfect little circles in the rolled-out pie crust.

With a circle of dough in my hand, I added a small spoonful of the sweet potato mixture, gave the rim of each circle a tiny bit of egg wash, folded, and crimped the pie closed with a fork. I also used the fork to prick each empanada, to allow steam to escape. Lastly, I brushed the top of each little pie with egg wash and sprinkled a bit of flaky Maldon sea salt.

After about 15 minutes in a 375° oven, they were done — a nice golden brown on top. Delish! Oh, and Richard totally approves of these little gems.

Savory Empanadas //

Savory Empanadas //

Seriously though, you can make savory vegetarian empanadas with any produce that you have lying around. Throw in shredded or grated cheese and any complementary spices or herbs, and you’re set!

Savory Empanadas //

¡Feliz viernes!

xo Cassie


  1. Cassie, you never cease to amaze me with your new found kitchen skills – I’m so proud of you making all these wonderful delicacies in your kitchen! Great idea to use a readymade pie crust – they are so useful to have on hand. Used one last night to make a plum and raspberry galette – such an easy dish, and with hardly any sugar added not really unhealthy!
    I’ll make some veggie empanadas soon.
    Have a great weekend – we are doing some garden shores and running errands.
    Love you x

    • Cassandra

      March 23, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Mmmm that galette sounds tasty! Can’t wait for berry season… I’d love to actually go pick some, as it’s been YEARS since Mom, Patrick, and I did that! The empanadas were very good — a nice little side dish alongside some baked fish, though we also had them with scrambled eggs, salsa, and sour cream one night as a “breakfast for dinner”! xx

  2. Cassie, These empanadas look so tasty. I am excited to experiment with them. Your version with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions sounds heavenly. I love all kinds of hand pies. Just posted about a sausage and spinach pastry pie recently and I used Pillsbury pie crust too. Love your food profile. My Best, Penny

    • Cassandra

      March 27, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Thank you so much for your comment! Will definitely look into a vegetarian version of your sausage and spinach pie for the spring months! xx Cassie

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