October 7, 2016

Low-So Purple Sweet Potato Empanadas



It’s October which means it’s time for Halloween-themed treats, made freakishly colorful by super natural ingredients (see what I did there?). So let’s start out with these purple sweet potato empanadas that were scary easy to make (I did it again!). I mean, seriously, I had these in the oven and ready-to-eat in less than two episodes of Project Runway. And the dough (THE DOUGH!) came together in a literal stir and snap. So don’t be afraid to try it.

Now, I’ve been meaning to try empanadas ever since my daughter became obsessed with a book about empanadas. But the recipe (in the book) called for lard, hot oil, and some other laborious steps. And so it never felt appealing or doable or worth it. But then, thanks to my favorite cookbook from Cooking Light, Global Kitchen, and some leftover steamed sweet potatoes, I got a second wind. And a different recipe. And that’s how these empanadas were born.



What I love most about the recipe is that you really can use what you have in your fridge and pantry. Stay traditional with sweet potato and beans. Make them breakfast-worthy with scrambled eggs and veggies. Or take it to sweet landia with cinnamon spiced, sautéed apples and pears. Or, dur, pumpkin spiced anything. Just let your ingredients on hand speak to you. Then stuff them in the dough. Bake them. And eat your feelings/leftovers.

So let’s get the howl-days started (Someone help me.) And make these simple empanadas this weekend for easy-to-pack lunches in the week ahead.



Adapted from Cooking Light’s Global Kitchen Cookbook


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt-free garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 cup mashed, steamed purple sweet potato (skin removed)
  • 1 cup no-salt-added black beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place flour into a large bowl. Add garlic powder, oil, water, vinegar, and 1 egg (beaten). Mix until combined. Dough should be moist but not wet. Dust your working surface with a bit of flour and then knead the dough until smooth. Shape into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to chill for one hour. Happy R&R time, dough!

In another bowl, combine the cumin, clove, chili pepper flakes, sweet potato, beans, and cilantro until well combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400dg F. And cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Flour your working surface again (assuming you cleaned it up like a good little chef). And divide the dough into 10 or 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and then use a rolling pin to flatten them each into 5-inch-ish circles, about 1/4-inch thick. Working with one dough circle at a time, place about 2 to 3 tablespoons of sweet potato/bean filling into the center. Fold the dough over the filling and itself (making half moon shapes). And then fold and press OR cinch the edges together so that they seal shut. Place the finished empanada on the parchment-covered baking sheet. When all are a fished, break and beat the second egg in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to paint the tops. Then, use a sharp knife to cut 3 diagonal slits across the top of each empanada.

Place the baking sheet in the oven until the empanadas turn golden brown, about 15 minutes.

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