Homemade Sweet Potato & Black Bean Empanadas

Are you one of those parents who finds lovingly made but nonetheless untouched brown-bag lunches spoiling under the kid’s seat in the car, or buried deep in a backpack? A lunch of homemade empanadas is much less likely to be rejected than a tired old PB & J. Lest you think it’s too hard to make, this version allows for store-bought pie crust, making the special treat easy-as-pie. Fix up a double batch and set aside a few for your own lunch!

Homemade Sweet Potato & Black Bean Empanadas Recipe

Makes 6 empanadas


For the dough (store-bought pie crust works perfectly well):
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 large egg

For the filling:
1 tbsp ground cumin
½ poblano pepper, deseeded and cut into small dice
½ cup sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, mashed
½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp green onions, thinly sliced.
1 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped (you can swap out for parsley)
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt
Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine flours and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl and stir with a whisk.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oil, water, vinegar, and egg in a medium bowl. Gradually add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Knead lightly until smooth.
  4. Shape dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
  5. Combine cumin, poblano, sweet potatoes, beans, onions, herbs, paprika, and salt in a large bowl; mash with a fork until almost smooth.
  6. Divide dough into 6 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Roll each dough portion into a (5-inch) circle on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Working with one circle of dough at a time, spoon 3 tablespoons of filling into center of each circle. Moisten edges of dough with water; fold dough over filling. Press edges together to seal.
  8. Place empanadas on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut 3 diagonal slits across top of each empanada and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes after baking.

Story by Keith Recker / Recipe by Alekka Sweeney / Styling by Anna Calabrese / Photography by Dave Bryce

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