Venezuelan Empanadas

  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings

These flaky meat pies are courtesy of Cargill, Incorporated. This filling also tastes great in a flour or corn tortilla or taco shell.


3cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon salt
10tablespoons (1¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2cup lard or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
3/4cup ice water
2tablespoons vegetable oil
2-- chopped onion (2 medium)
1 1/2cups chopped green bell pepper
2-- garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4cups canned diced tomatoes; drained
1/2teaspoon ground cumin
1/4teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1teaspoon salt
1/4teaspoon ground black pepper
1teaspoon Spanish or smoked paprika
1cup unflavored textured soy protein
3/4cup water (to hydrate textured soy protein)
8ounces extra lean ground beef
8-- whole green olives with pimientos, sliced
1tablespoon raisins
1large egg, lightly beaten
1tablespoon milk
1pinch salt


  1. To prepare dough, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; mix with fork or pulse in food processor until combined. Add butter and lard and mix using a pastry blender or food processor until the texture of coarse meal. Drizzle water over mixture and mix gently with fork; gather dough into a ball and shape into a flat disk; wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  2. To prepare filling, combine textured soy protein with water and let stand 10 minutes. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables, spices, and hydrated textured soy protein, cook uncovered for 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add ground beef, stir occasionally to break up lumps of meat; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in olives and raisins; set aside.
  3. To prepare empanadas, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough to 1/8” thickness on lightly floured surface. Using 6” diameter round cookie cutter, cut rounds from dough (Will have to re-roll to get 10-12 rounds). Spoon about ¼ cup filling onto one side of each round and moisten edges of rounds with water.   Fold in half and press edges together to completely enclose filling.  Using tines of fork, decoratively seal edges. Place 2” apart on baking sheet lined with parchment.  Mix together egg, milk, and salt to make a glaze and brush over tops of empanadas. Bake until golden brown, about 17 minutes. Let cool slightly on a rack and serve warm. Makes 10 to 12 empanadas.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 240
  • Fat 14g
  • Saturated Fat 6g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 2g
  • Cholesterol 30mg
  • Sodium 270mg
  • Carbohydrate 22g
  • Fiber 2g
  • Protein 6g