Vegan Empanadas 3 Ways: Spiced Apple, Mushroom Spinach, and Corn

These vegan empanadas include recipes for spiced apple, mushroom and spinach, and creamed corn filling.

Did someone say vegan empanadas? 

In this episode of EATKINDLY With Me, Amanda Castillo shows us how to make three, drool-worthy types of vegan empanadas: spiced apple, mushroom and spinach, and creamy corn.

“If you didn’t know, April 8 is actually National Empanada Day,” she explains. Empanadas originated in Galicia, Spain, and are now enjoyed all over the world.

“What’s so amazing about empanadas is how versatile they can be,” Castillo adds. She shares an empanada dough recipe based on her aunt’s recipe. “She has this dough that can easily be made vegan. So that is the dough I’m going to be sharing with you guys today,” she says.

Vegan Empanadas 3 Ways: Spiced Apple, Mushroom Spinach, and Corn
Castillo uses Mexican beer to make the vegan empanada dough. | Amanda Castillo/LIVEKINDLY

Empanada Dough With Beer

First, Castillo shows us how to make the dough. She uses a pastry cutter to blend the ingredients together. “But if you don’t have one of these, a food processor works as well,” she explains.

And the dough’s hero ingredient? Mexican beer. “I have made this recipe with Coors Light—yes, that is vegan—so is Modelo and Corona. So use any favorite beer that you have on hand,” she continues. For those who aren’t old enough to purchase beer or simply don’t like it, Castillo does give a beer-free empanada dough recipe by Plant Well.

Empanada Dough (With Beer)

1 hour 10 mins to prep
20 mins to cook
Vegan

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup cold unsalted vegan butter, cubed
  • 1 cup vegan beer (I used Modelo), more if needed

Preparation

  1. 1
    In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. 2
    Cut butter into flour using a dough blender until pea-sized.
  3. 3
    Add beer a quarter cup at a time until dough forms.
  4. 4
    Knead dough in the bowl until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  5. 5
    Let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour while you prepare the filling.
Vegan Empanadas 3 Ways: Spiced Apple, Mushroom Spinach, and Corn
These vegan empanadas will take you from breakfast to dinner. | Amanda Castillo/LIVEKINDLY

Spiced Apple Filling

“The first filling I want to start off with is the spiced apple because this one takes a little bit longer to cool,” Castillo explains. Any type of apple can be used to make this recipe. However, Castillo says she prefers to use Honey Crisp apples.

Spiced Apple Empanada Filling

15 mins to prep
15 mins to cook
Vegan

Ingredients

  • 6 medium-sized Honey Crisp apples
  • 1 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Preparation

  1. 1
    Dice apples into half-inch cubes, then add to a medium-sized pot along with the vegan sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves.
  2. 2
    Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. 3
    Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Mushroom and Spinach Filling

For those who aren’t a fan of mushrooms, Castillo says to not fret. “If you don’t love mushrooms, still try out this recipe because I swear, it may change your mind,” she says. “It’s so good.”

Mushroom and Spinach Empanada Filling

15 mins to prep
10 mins to cook
Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 15 mushrooms (I used Baby Bella)
  • 6 cups spinach, tightly packed
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cups vegan Colby jack cheese, more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. 1
    In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. 2
    Add garlic, mushrooms, and soy sauce and cook until mushrooms brown and condense in size, about 5 minutes.
  3. 3
    Turn down heat and add spinach, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cook until spinach is wilted.
  4. 4
    Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  5. 5
    After 5 minutes, add your desired amount of vegan cheese. Combine and set aside.

Creamy Corn Filling

“For the corn filling, I would say this has the most ingredients out of all three,” she explains. “But, that’s because it’s super flavorful and, may I say, it’s probably my favorite.” 

Castillo uses a food processor to pulse the corn-filling ingredients together. “For this, I like to add a half cup of pepper jack vegan cheese,” she continues. But, you can also use whatever dairy-free cheese you have on hand.

Creamy Corn Empanada Filling

10 mins to prep
10 mins to cook
Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb (24 oz) frozen sweet yellow corn
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • ¼ cup unsweetened plant milk (I used almond milk)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ cups vegan pepper jack cheese

Preparation

  1. 1
    In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add corn and green onions and cook for about 3 minutes.
  2. 2
    Add garlic, mustard, milk, lemon juice, paprika, salt, and sugar, and cook until corn is soft and spices have melded, about 5 minutes.
  3. 3
    Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. Pulse about 3-4 times until mixture is homogenous but a few corn kernels are still whole.
  4. 4
    Transfer corn filling to a separate bowl and add vegan cheese. Combine and set aside.

How to Fill and Seal Empanadas, Step-by-Step

Instructions:

  1. Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a floured surface as thin as you can, about ¼ inch. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut round circles using a bowl, cup, or round cookie cutter. I used a 5-inch bowl for larger empanadas and a 3-inch cup for mini empanadas.
  3. Roll out the dough circles even more for a larger surface area. Mine were 5 inches in diameter after rolling.
  4. For mini empanadas, place 1-2 Tbsp of filling into the center of the round. For larger empanadas, place ¼ cup of filling. 
  5. Dip your finger in water and run your finger along the entire edge of the circle of dough. Fold the empanada in half and press the edges together firmly all the way around. Take the time to perform this step, as it will prevent the filling from leaking out during baking.
  6. Seal the empanadas as desired. A fork can be used to create a crimped edge. You can pinch the edges all around to create a “star” effect. You can also fold the edge around itself from one end to the other to create a braided effect.
  7. Bake the empanadas at 350°F for 15 minutes, then broil at 525°F for 5 minutes.