Delicious Vegetarian Empanadas Recipe for Meatless Meals

Are you ready to take your taste buds on an exciting journey through Latin America with this delicious “Now and Later” vegetarian empanadas recipe? As a vegan chef, I always strive to create recipes that not only taste amazing but are also nutritious and healthy. Empanadas are a popular dish in most Latin countries, and this recipe is a perfect fusion of flavors from Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela.

I have done my best to make the recipe easy to follow, even if you are a novice baker. These empanadas are perfect for a weeknight dinner later or as freezer meals for busy weeks. Plus, they’re versatile – you can customize the filling according to your preferences. If you’re looking for an excellent addition to your collection of vegetarian recipes, keep reading!

The dough pie is made with a combination of all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, vegetable shortening, butter, baking powder, water, and salt. The cheese and vegetable filling is flavored with cumin, chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, cloves, green pepper, celery, zucchini, onion, carrots, black beans and soy sauce. It’s a hearty combination that’s both filling and flavorful.

What sets this vegetarian empanada apart from others is that it’s baked instead of fried. This way you can enjoy the delicious flavor and texture of traditional empanadas without the added calories.

Let’s get started with this tasty Argentine empanadas recipe now!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

“Now and Later” Vegetarian Empanadas

Folks, let me tell you…this recipe for vegetarian empanadas is something special. If you’re looking for a meal that is filling, tasty, and perfect for any occasion, this is it. Maybe you’re a vegetarian or maybe you’re watching your meat consumption, either way, this recipe is sure to hit the spot.

What makes these “Now and Later” Vegetarian Empanadas so great is the combination of textures and flavors. The dough is crispy on the outside and light and fluffy inside. But what really makes them shine are the savory fillings that dance around inside those pillowy pockets. This recipe has everything good in it – black beans, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, celery, zucchini, carrots – all cooked to perfection with spices like cumin and chili powder to make a tangy mix.

Plus, let’s not forget about the cheese sauce that takes these empanadas over the top. Rich and gooey Monterey Jack cheese pairs perfectly with these flavorsome fillings. Imagine biting into one of these warm empanadas and tasting all those yummy ingredients mixed together in perfect harmony – it’s an experience that you definitely won’t want to miss.

But it doesn’t end there. As the name suggests, these fantastic vegetarian empanadas can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer making them a convenient choice for any day dinner or even office lunch! These are also perfect as a snack food or appetiser for an event or party, where they will be sure to impress any crowd!

Trust me folks, once you taste these “Now and Later” Vegetarian Empanadas you’ll be hooked!

Ingredient List

“Golden flaky goodness”

Let’s take a look at the ingredients you will need for these “Now and Later” Vegetarian Empanadas Recipe:

  • For the Dough:
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • For the Filling:

  • 8 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese or Vegan Cheese, cut into cubes or shredded
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 tomatoes, diced or pureed(optional)
  • A pinch of cloves powder (optional)
  • Vegetables: green pepper, celery, zucchini can add more flavor, onion, and carrots.

  • Feel free to substitute the filling ingredients and get creative with your favorite vegan ingredients or meat substitutes!

Note: these tasty vegetarian empanadas are full-flavored with a kick from the spices.

The Recipe How-To

“Warm pockets of deliciousness”

Empanada Dough

First, we need to make the dough for our vegetarian empanadas. This recipe makes twelve empanadas. In a mixing bowl, I combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Then, I add 5 tablespoons of vegetable shortening and 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes. I mix the ingredients until they resemble coarse cornmeal.

In another bowl, I whisk together 1/2 cup cold water and one beaten egg. Then, I add half of this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix it all together with my hands. Afterwards, I gradually add more of the liquid until the dough comes together in a ball. Finally, I wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least one hour.


While the dough chills in the refrigerator, it’s time to make the filling for your vegetarian empanadas. Using a food processor, blend together 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, 1 chopped green pepper, 2 chopped celery sticks, 1 chopped zucchini, 1 cup of grated Monterey Jack cheese, and one finely-chopped onion.

In a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the vegetable mixture to the skillet along with 1 tablespoon of cumin powder, 1 tablespoon chili powder, ½ tablespoon oregano, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Cook for about eight minutes or until most of the moisture evaporates.

Making Empanadas

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit while you roll out your Empanada dough on a lightly-floured surface into roll into disk shapes with about roughly four inches in diameter each.

Next spoon about two tablespoons of filling onto one-half side off each rolled-out dough pie then fold over other half of dough pie on top to close up mixture inside before crimping edges closed using a fork.

Place them in the oven and bake for about twenty-five minutes or until golden brown.

Serve vegetarian empanadas warm and enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

“Spice up your snack game”

As much as I love this recipe, I realize that some of you may have different dietary needs or preferences. Fear not, my friends! There are a few substitutions and variations that you can make to accommodate your individual tastes.

First off, let’s talk about the dough. While I highly recommend using the Empanada dough recipe provided, you could also substitute it with store-bought dough, puff pastry, or even gluten-free dough for those with gluten sensitivities. Just make sure to follow the cooking instructions according to whatever type of dough you use.

For the filling, the possibilities are endless. If you want to keep it vegetarian, try replacing the Monterey Jack cheese with a vegan cheese alternative. I also love adding black beans to my empanadas for some extra protein and texture. But if you’re a meat-eater, feel free to add some shredded chicken or ground beef for a heartier filling.

In terms of seasoning, I used a mix of cayenne pepper, oregano, ground cumin, and chili powder for a southwestern flavor profile. But you could switch it up with some Italian seasonings like basil and garlic for a different twist.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different vegetables in your filling. While I went with tomatoes, green pepper, celery, zucchini, and onion in my recipe, you could also try adding carrots or even some huitlacoche (a Mexican fungus) for an adventurous twist.

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s versatile and allows for creativity in the kitchen. So go ahead and make it your own!

Serving and Pairing

“Vegetarian comfort food at its finest”

Are you looking for the perfect accompaniment to your vegetarian empanadas? Look no further! The rich and complex flavor profile of these empanadas pairs beautifully with a light and refreshing green salad.

I recommend tossing together some mixed greens, sliced cucumber, and cherry tomatoes, and drizzling them with a simple lemon vinaigrette. The zesty dressing cuts through the richness of the empanadas, while the crisp veggies provide a textural contrast.

If you’re feeling bold, pair these empanadas with a hearty glass of red wine. The tannins in the wine will complement the smoky flavor of the spices used in this dish. Alternatively, try pairing your empanadas with a cold brew or a citrusy IPA – this will heighten the flavors of the spices used in the dough.

You can also serve these empanadas alongside some pico de gallo or guacamole for added freshness. Or, if you’re having friends over for dinner later, throw in some black bean salad on the side – it’s delicious!

Trust me when I say that vegetarian empanadas are versatile and can be served as an appetizer or main course depending on portion size. So delicious and diverse!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Bite-sized happiness”

Listen up foodies, this recipe is not only delicious, it’s practical too! As a busy chef, I always recommend making recipes ahead of time to save time in the kitchen. These vegetarian empanadas are no exception. Go ahead and make them ahead of time for a quick lunch or dinner later.

After your empanadas are baked and cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you need to store them for longer than that, place them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to dig into those savory veggie empanadas, reheat them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 to 15 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. No need to thaw them out beforehand if you’re reheating from frozen. You can also pop them in your toaster oven or microwave for a quick meal on-the-go.

But wait…there’s more! These empanadas are versatile enough to be served as a main course with a side salad or paired with other Spanish recipes like arepas or even plantain empanadas. Trust me on this one, everyone will be begging for seconds.

So go ahead and make these vegetarian empanadas ahead of time for quick freezer meals or freeze half batch so you always have something delicious on-hand. There’s really no excuse not to whip up a batch of these scrumptious Argentine empanadas with monterey jack cheese and vegetable filling—your tastebuds (and your schedule) will thank you.

Tips for Perfect Results

“Satisfy your cravings in every bite”

As a vegan chef, I’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks to ensure perfect results when making these delicious vegetarian empanadas. Here are my top tips for achieving the best results possible:

1. Don’t Overwork the Dough – Overworking the dough can make it tough and chewy instead of light and crispy. Handle the dough gently, and don’t knead it too much.

2. Chill the Dough – Before you start making the empanadas, chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This will help the dough to be more workable and prevent it from getting too soft while handling.

3. Keep the Filling Moist – You don’t want your filling to be dry, so be sure to add some water or vegetable broth to keep it moist. This will also help the filling to stay in place when you bake your empanadas.

4. Use High-Quality Ingredients – The quality of your ingredients can make all the difference in how tasty your empanadas turn out. Try using fresh vegetables, high-quality spices like cumin and chili powder, and grated Monterey Jack cheese.

5. Brush with Egg Wash – Before baking, brush each empanada with a beaten egg wash to give them a beautiful golden-brown color and crispness.

6. Follow Baking Time Carefully – Each oven is a little different, so be sure to pay close attention while baking your empanadas. Bake them until they are golden brown and crispy which usually takes 20-25 minutes.

By following these tips and tricks carefully, you’ll be sure to get delicious vegetarian empanadas every time! What other tips do you have for getting perfect results? Share it with us in the comments below!


Before wrapping up this recipe article, let me walk you through some of the frequently asked questions about our vegetarian empanadas. You might be wondering: Can I freeze my empanadas to enjoy later? What are some variations I can try with this recipe? Or perhaps, what serving suggestions will go well with these stuffed pockets of goodness? Keep reading to have all your doubts cleared and to make your dinner plans smoother with our detailed answers.

What are 3 types of empanadas?

As a vegan chef’s articulate assistant, I have put together a list of popular empanada recipes for you. These mouth-watering options include sweet and savory fillings such as ham and honey, potato, apple and dulce de leche, Chilean chicken, beef pastelitos, tuna, strawberry and cream cheese pastelitos, and pork and apple. Each recipe is unique and packed with flavors that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. So, let’s get started and whip up some delightful empanadas in your kitchen.

How far in advance can you make empanadas?

Empanadas are a versatile and convenient dish that can be enjoyed either immediately or saved for later. If you’d like to prepare your empanadas in advance, you can bake them and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days. When it’s time to eat, simply reheat them in the microwave or toaster oven for a quick and delicious meal.

Is empanada dough the same as pie crust?

When it comes to making empanadas, it’s important to note that the dough used is different from that of a pie. Empanada dough requires a combination of flour, water, salt, and fat, while pie dough contains flour, water, salt, and sugar. These doughs are specifically designed to prepare certain dishes, with empanada dough being suitable for baking or frying turnovers filled with various ingredients, often served with a side of bread.

Do empanadas have baking powder?

Empanadas are a popular dish hailing from Latin America that involves enveloping a filling inside a pastry dough and baking it. Typically, the dough is made using flour, water, and some form of fat, while baking powder can be incorporated to aid in its leavening process.

Bottom Line

So there you have it, folks. This “Now and Later” Vegetarian Empanadas recipe is a must-try for all plant-based food enthusiasts out there. It’s a flavorful and hearty dish that can satisfy any craving, whether for a quick snack or a well-rounded dinner.

With the help of the ingredient list, recipe how-to instructions, tips for perfect results, and make-ahead, storing and reheating instructions, creating this delicious dish in your own kitchen would be easy as pie- sorry, empanada!

I implore you not to hesitate in trying this recipe- trust me; your taste buds will thank you later! And with the variety of substitutions and variations suggested, the possibilities are endless- from black bean to Huitlacoche or Caracas Arepas.

For anyone looking to step up their cooking game with healthy recipes that are still scrumptious and enjoyable, this vegetarian empanadas recipe is an excellent start. And who knows? Maybe it can even inspire future creations like Spanish recipes, plantain empanadas, and more!

Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section or tag us on social media when you give this recipe a try. We’d love to see your take on this Argentine-inspired delight.

In Chef Keef ft Tyga’s words: “Later vegetarian empanadas for dinner? Yes, please!”

"Now and Later" Vegetarian Empanadas

“Now and Later” Vegetarian Empanadas Recipe

This is from "More Make Your Own Groceries". There are instructions for both eating right away and freezing to eat later. This is one of several dishes I made in preparation for the birth of my daughter and would probably be good for someone who doesn't usually have enough time (or energy) to make a healthy meal for themselves every day, but has a period of time to make this. I've probably estimated prep time on the high side because I'm a slow cooker.
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer or Snack
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 8 empanadas
Calories 477.1 kcal


  • 3 medium carrots, scrub well
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1/2 lb coarsely sliced mushrooms
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced 1/2 inch
  • 1 green pepper, cut in 1/2 inch squares
  • 2 -3 smashed and minced garlic cloves
  • 1 (1 lb) can tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • salt
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour or 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter
  • 4 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/8 cups ice cold water
  • 1 egg, mixed with
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • In a pot, cover carrots with water to cover.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat.
  • Simmer 10 minutes or until just tender.
  • While simmering carrots, pour contents of can of tomatoes into a bowl and squish into little pieces with your hands.
  • Wash hands.
  • Blend chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne into tomatoes.
  • Take the 2 Tbs of flour and blend with 1/4 cup cold water in a small cup.
  • Pour this into tomato mixture and stir to blend.
  • Drain carrots, and cut into 3/4 in pieces.
  • Put both aside for now.
  • Melt butter on medium heat in a large fring pan.
  • Add onion, mushrooms, zucchini, celery, green pepper, and garlic and saute.
  • Stir continuously until onion is limp.
  • Stir tomato mixture into frying pan and bring to a simmer.
  • Cover and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, then uncover and (stirring constantly) cook for about 5 minutes over med-high heat until liquid has evaporated.
  • Stir in carrots and cheese.
  • Salt to taste.
  • When cheese has melted put pan in refrigerator to quickly cool vegetables.
  • Stir now and then to help cool faster.
  • Now, begin empanada crust.
  • Resift flour with baking powder in a bowl.
  • Quickly cut butter and shortening into bowl until it looks like a coarse meal.
  • Make a well in the center.
  • Add soy sauce and cold water together.
  • Stir vigorously with a fork until dough follows the fork around bowl (about 30-40 seconds).
  • Personal observation: The dough seems rather"frothy" at this point.
  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for about 10 folds (or 30 seconds) to remove stickyness.
  • Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
  • Make into a ball and roll into an 8 inch circle.
  • Spoon about 3/4 cup vegetable filling onto center of circle.
  • Moisten edges of circle with water and bring together at top, pinching and fluting edges.
  • Note: The original instuctions say to make a sealed semi-circle.
  • Mine looked like balls of dough and turned out fine.
  • Lift empanada onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Repeat until done.
  • If you fill more than one cookie sheet put the full one in the refrigerator.
  • When done, prick the top of each empanada with a fork and brush with egg and water mixture.
  • If you are going to cook some of them right away, pre-heat oven to 400 and cook 25 to 30 minutes (until golden brown) on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Take the ones for later and freeze uncovered on cookie sheet overnight.
  • When frozen solid wrap in foil or put in freezer bags.
  • Label with instructions: Bake uncovered in pre-heated 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool some before serving.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 2806gCalories: 477.1kcalCarbohydrates: 54.1gProtein: 13.1gFat: 23.9gSaturated Fat: 12.2gCholesterol: 66.3mgSodium: 519.3mgFiber: 4.6gSugar: 6.1g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Lunch, Mexican, One-Dish Meal, Vegetable, Weeknight
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