Foodbuzz Tastemaker: Savory Mini Empanadas with Pace Picante Guacamole

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From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

It is almost that time of the week and I can see the weekend in the horizon. Who is happy? Woohoo! We have been having a beautiful week here in Michigan, with bright, sunny days and melting snow. I hear that it is supposed to be like that the rest of the week too! Can I be any happier? At least my Vitamin D factor is happy, becasue I have been soaking it in.

I conquered many a tasks today, including making a delicious dinner that proved to be a definite winner. During the evening I decided to take a break from blog reading and did some book reading. I am not usually this type of person, but I can be reading several books at a time, which means it can take me a while to finish any one of them. I finally finished a great book called The Singer’s Ego: Finding Balance Between Music and Life by Lynn Eustis. As a musician, it has been hard to mentally grab a hold of what that means. Ms. Eustis explained how the voice should not define the person or affect how one should live. I loved that because it reminded me that my voice is a gift from God and was given to share and enjoy His gift. If you are a musician you would know that one of the hardest things about performing is stage fright. Ms. Eustis asks the singer whether this fright is based on what a people group would think of them as a singer or person, but in reality, our fright should be subsided when the focus is the love of our gift of singing. Do you know that when I started thinking this way, I felt a little more confident when singing in front of people? When I focused on how much I enjoy singing, then it was not about what people thought of me, but how I could show my passion for singing. WOW. What a change! Even though I have been singing since a little girl, tis book has been a gift. It has allowed me to not be defined by that profession but allowing it to make the person God meant me to be. Great book, now on to some great food!

I was inspired to create this recipe on my way home from Holland, Michigan. My husband took a nap after a long day at school and I drove home. What does a girl do while on an hour and a half drive home? Well, left in her own thoughts but of course! My mind is constantly active and part of the drive was spent mentally creating a dish that came into fruition tonight. As part of the Tastemaker program, I had received 2 bottles of Pace Picante sauce to create an delicious appetizer, just in time for Superbowl. Even though I created this dish as an appetizer I made it our main meal tonight. It was fantastic and a winner in my books.

I adpated a recipe for a basic vegan empanada dough recipe and created 2 separate fillings. As a side, I also created a guacamole using Pace Picante and also a broccoli slaw to accompany. I grew up on Chilean empanadas that consisted on ground beef, onions, garlic, raisins, green olives a hard-boiled egg and spices. Of course now that I am vegan, I had to make something that was close to my favorite childhood memory. I used soy crumbles that looked very much like ground beef and used the rest of the ingredients except for the hard-boiled egg. When cooked and baked in the empanada, I could not believe how close the taste and flavors were to the original recipe. Thanks to soy ground crumbles! Of course, if you are not vegan you can just substitute it with ground beef and it would still be a winner. ENjoy the pictures and recipes!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Savory Mini Empanadas

dough recipe adapted from Veganomicon cookbook

makes 2 dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup cold water
Soy milk for brushing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices.

Using a pastry cutter, add shortening in 3 batches and mix until mix resembles small pebbles.

Mix water and vinegar together and add to flour mixture in 3 parts. Use a fork to bring dough together. On a floured surface, knead dough for 1 minute until all ingredients are mixed. Flatten to a small disc and cover with a towel until ready to use. (Prepare fillings)

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Flatten dough out with rolling pin to a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter and cut in circles. Filling is ready to be used to each circle. Add a little over a teaspoon to each circle and bring each end together to seal edges. Using a fork, press gently on the edges until sealed.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Place each empanada on a baking sheet layered with parchment paper. Brush the tops of emapanadas with soy milk. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Chilean soy crumble filling

makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup soy crumbles
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp raisins
2 Tbsp green olives, sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and saute onions, pepper and garlic for 5-10 minutes on medium-high heat.

Add spices and raisins and olives. Cook for 5 more minutes. Set aside.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Black Bean-Spinach Filling

1 cup canned black beans, drained
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/2 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup Medium Pace Picante Sauce
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and saute onions, carrot, and pepper for 5 minutes. Add black beans, spinach, Picante sauce, spices and cook until the filling starts drying up a little. Add cilanto at the end and turn of heat.

Fill half the dough with one filling and use the other half with different filling.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Pace Picante Guacamole

makes 1 cup

3/4 cup Medium Pace Picante sauce
1/2 avocado
2 Tbsp Tofutti sour cream
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped and loosely packed

Using an immersion blender, blend 1/2 cup of Picante sauce, avocado, sour cream, vinegar and salt until smooth.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup salsa and cilantro and mix well.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
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  • Divina Pe

    They look great and the filling is scrumptious and wholesome.

  • Gina

    Wow everything looks AMAZING!

  • Evelyne@Cheap Ethnic Eatz

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • The Chickenless Chick

    Great ideas for empanada stuffing! And the dough looks delicious.

  • Anna

    I looooooove empanadas. They are delicious with nice cold beer. Yours looks very healthy.

  • wasabi prime

    Oh my word — empanadas are one of my favorite things. Honestly, any delicious savory filling nestled in a soft dough is a good thing. And even if it’s not fried, who cares, as it’s always a treat! These look so perfectly formed and yummy. I’m not a sports person, but if someone served this for a Superbowl party, I’d pretend to look interested in the game just to have a bite or three!

  • Tasty Eats At Home

    I could REALLY go for those black bean and spinach empanadas. Okay, so stupid question – how do you get “in” on the Tastemaker program? I am a Featured Publisher, but I can’t seem to find any info on it. Thanks!

  • Carol Egbert

    I wish you did carry out. The black beans look amazing.

  • 5 Star Foodie

    Scrumptious empanadas and I love the idea of Pace Picante Guacamole!

  • Emily Ziegler

    Wow. I think this redefines savory!

    Looks amazing

  • Miriam

    Yes, this is the perfect party food, isn’t it? In Spain these little things are called empanadillas and the filling is of course different, but delicious too!


    @Divina Pe and @Gina- Thank you!

    @The Chickenless Chick-Thank you! The dough was really great!

    @Anna-Healthy and tasty. Everything tasted fantastic.

    @Wasabi Prime-Ha ha. I would turn my head to let you take more than one bite! :)

    @Carol Egbert-That is so nice of you to say! I should think about it!

    @5 Star Foodie-Thank you!

    @Emily-Thanks girl!

    @Miriam-I am glad that creativity allows for different options.

  • Janice

    These mini empanadas look wonderful, the filling looks delicious

  • Jessie

    great filling! I adore empanadas simply because there are endless possibilities of ingredients to put in them! It would be very hard for me to just eat one hehehe

  • Brie: Le Grand Fromage

    looks delicious! i love that top platter, too.

  • Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    Yes, yes, delicious!! The fillings look good enough to eat by the spoonful. Enjoy your weekend! :)

  • nancy

    Looks great! I will definitely try all of those fillings! Thanks for sharing your recipes :)

  • Pete

    These look great!!!!!

  • Sara’s Corner

    Hi Mouthwatering empanadas. Healthy since you baked them.

    Do drop in sometime.

  • The Vintage Vegan

    These look great! I’ve been looking for yummy empanada recipes – I’ll definitely have to try them. I found your blog via FoodBuzz..will be looking forward to future posts!