Vegetarian Empanada Recipe with Mushrooms & Cheese from Argentina

Oozing with melted cheese, balsamic-glazed mushrooms and soft caramelized onions, these are the ultimate baked vegetarian empanadas.  This vegetarian empanada recipe will guide you step-by-step on how to make this favourite Argentine snack from scratch.

The next country in the around the world cooking challenge was Argentina, which marks the first South American cuisine to tackle. Initially, I was a little trepidatious as Argentinean cuisine is notoriously meat-centric.

However, I remembered that Argentina is famous for the delightful little parcels of joy that are empanadas and the sweet, sweet nectar that is dulce de leche. Just like that, I realized everything was going to be okay. Plus, the Argentines have a reputation for their love of eating, and this is something I strongly resonate with.

Argentine cuisine has been heavily influenced by the Italians and Spanish. This is due to the history of immigration from these countries during the colonial period through to the 20th century. Dishes such as thick-crusted pizza and homemade pasta were brought over by the Italians, and empanadas were brought over by the Spaniards.

Is Argentine cuisine vegetarian-friendly?

Argentina, of course, is most known for its massive agricultural production of beef. Unsurprisingly, the country has the second-highest consumption rate of beef in the world, with an average consumption of 55kg of beef a year. Naturally, this means Argentine cuisine is very centred around meat. Fear not, vegetarians. You can still enjoy the cuisine without eating meat, even if the options are a little on the limited side…

Common Argentinian Vegetarian Recipes

  • Provoleta- A very popular dish where slices of pungent cheese are topped with chilli flakes and herbs and grilled. The cheese is served crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside!
  • Sorrentinos– A type of filled pasta popular in Argentina, these are very similar to ravioli but larger and circular in shape. They often come in a variety of vegetarian filling including grated cheese, ricotta, vegetables, or nuts.
  • Tartas saladas– These refer to savoury pies that come with a variety of fillings. This includes everything from onion, corn, spinach, hard-boiled eggs to pumpkin.
  • Chimichurri– The go-to condiment of the country, Chimichurri is a green sauce/ salsa made with lots of herbs.
  • Empanadas– Literally translating to “enbreaded”, empanadas are baked or fried pastry that encase a wide variety of fillings. Whilst they are typically filled with beef, you can still many options for veggie empanadas.
  • Alfajores– Two shortbread biscuits sandwiched together, most commonly by dulce de leche (thick caramel made from condensed milk). These are a favourite treat for Argentineans!

Making Vegetarian Baked Empanadas with Mushrooms and Cheese

Every since I tried my Argentinian uncle’s homemade empanadas, I’ve been dying to make empanadas from scratch. They weren’t as difficult as expected to compile. Although, they were very difficult to make look aesthetic.

As always, we was madly running out of daylight to take photos of the finished product, so the empanadas suffered from some very sub-standard repulgue seals (more about those later). Thankfully, if you don’t have the delicate hands of an Argentinean grandma, you can just seal the empanadas with a fork.

Whilst we didn’t have much luck with the folding, we had a bit more luck when it came to experimenting with the empanada fillings. We tried two types of vegetable fillings. Firstly, a vegan empanada filling with roasted sweet potato, refried kidney beans and corn. Secondly, a vegetarian empanada filling with balsamic mushrooms, caramelized onions and cheese. Neither are

Below is the recipe for the latter, however, feel free to play around with your empanada fillings, adding or taking away ingredients as you please. The fun thing with empanadas is there is no wrong or right way to fill them. You can get as inventive as you like!

Ingredients for this Vegetarian Empanada Recipe with Mushrooms & Cheese

  • Mushrooms– Use white button or swiss brown mushrooms
  • Onion– We used a white onion however red onion would also work well
  • Cheese– Mozzarella cheese works best here for its melt factor, or if you want a stronger flavour try aged cheddar
  • Raisins– Popping some raisins to the filling adds a really nice pop of sweetness. However, ffeel free to omit if raisins aren’t your thing.
  • Empanada dough– For the empanada dough, you’ll need all-purpose flour, butter and eggs. If you want a shortcut, you can use ready-made pie crust dough.

Can you make these empanadas vegan?

To make these empanadas vegan, simply use a vegan pie crust dough and omit or use vegan cheese. You can also try one of the veggie empanada fillings below instead of the one in this recipe.

Other vegan empanada filling suggestions:

  • Sweet potato
  • Black beans
  • Refried kidney beans
  • Corn
  • Bell pepper

Steps to making vegetarian empanadas

I know the thought of making empanadas from scratch might sound intimidating. However, it is actually really easy. The dough comes together quickly, requires no resting time and is quite forgiving. Follow these steps and you’ll have fresh-out-the-oven, homemade empanadas on the table in no time!

1. Make the filling: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Add in sliced onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add in mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and starting to brown. Add in balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and raisins. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Vegetarian Empanada Recipe | Argentinian Empanada Recipe

2. Make dough: In a food processor, mix together flour and salt. Add in cubes of butter and pulse a few times until combined. Continue to pulse as you add in egg and slowly pour in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water, using as much is needed for a clumpy dough to come together. Take dough out of food processor and divide into two balls, flatten each into a disc shape.

3. Compile empanadas: Pre-heat oven to 190˚C (375˚F) and line two baking trays. Roll each ball of dough out till it is about half a centimetre (1/4 inch) thick. Using a 12cm circle-shaped cutter or bowl, cut out approx. 20 circles from dough. Put a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle, followed by a tablespoon of cheese. Seal by folding the circle in half and press the edges with your fingers. For a basic seal, use a fork to press along the edges. For a repulgue, gently use your fingers to curl the edges into themselves.

4. Bake & serve empanadas: Using a pastry brush, coat empanadas with egg wash then place on lined baking trays. Bake empanadas for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and serve hot with chimichurri sauce.

How to fold empanadas

We are by NO means empanada folding experts, as you will be able to tell by the misshapen empanadas in the photos. The good news is, as aforementioned, you can just use a fork to seal your empanadas, which is a fool-proof method. If you’d like to know the proper way to fold empanadas with a repulgue (braided edge), we’d recommend you take a look at Laylita’s Recipes (where we got the inspiration for this recipe). She provides a very detailed step-by-step on making empanadas.

Servings suggestions for this vegetarian empanada recipe

To have a truly Argentine empanada experience, you can’t go past serving these with chimichurri.  Chimichurri is Argentina’s go-to condiment. Falling somewhere between a sauce and a salsa, it is made with fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, chilli. It provides just the right freshness and zing to balance out the richness of these mushroom and cheese empanadas. It’s definitely worth making homemade chimichurri – it tastes so much fresher than store-bought!

Baked Vegetarian Empanadas with Mushroom and Cheese

Baked Vegetarian Empanadas with Mushroom and Cheese

Yield: 20
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Oozing with melted cheese, balsamic-glazed mushrooms and soft caramelized onions, these are the ultimate baked vegetarian empanadas.  This empanada recipe will guide you step-by-step on how to make this favourite Argentine snack from scratch.

Ingredients

Balsamic Mushroom Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 300g mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 170g butter, cut in cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of water

Empanadas

  • 1 cup mozzerella cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, whisked

Instructions

    Make filling:

    1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Add in sliced onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add in mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and starting to brown. Add in balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and raisins. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

    Make dough:

    1. In a food processor, mix together flour and salt. Add in cubes of butter and pulse a few times until combined. Continue to pulse as you add in egg and slowly pour in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water, using as much is needed for a clumpy dough to come together. Take dough out of food processor and divide into two balls, flatten each into a disc shape.

    Make empanadas:

    1. Pre-heat oven to 190˚C (375˚F) and line two baking trays. Roll each ball of dough out till it is about half a centimetre (1/4 inch) thick. Using a 12cm circle-shaped cutter or bowl, cut out approx. 20 circles from dough. Put a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle, followed by a tablespoon of cheese.
    2. Seal by folding the circle in half and press the edges with your fingers. For a basic seal, use a fork to press along the edges. For a repulgue, gently use your fingers to curl the edges into themselves. Using a pastry brush, coat empanadas with egg wash then place on lined baking trays.
    3. Bake empanadas for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and serve hot with chimichurri sauce.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment & review above or share a photo on Instagram tagging @polkadotpassport so I can reshare your creations!

Other international snack foods to try

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Vegetarian empanadas recipe inspired by Argentina
Nicola Easterby Bio Image

HEY THERE, I'M NICOLA!

I am on a mission to discover the BEST destinations & dishes from around the world. In fact, I’ve visited 54 countries and cooked 196 cuisines in this very pursuit. Whether it’s hopping on a plane or into the kitchen, come join the adventure!

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