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Plant-Based Empanadas Recipe

Elevate your traditional empanada game with a delicious plant-based twist. Filled with a flavorful blend of plant-based ground beef and tangy coleslaw, these empanadas are not only a healthier alternative but also an exciting new way to enjoy this classic Latin American dish.

Plant-Based Empanadas Recipe

Photos of Plant-Based Empanadas Recipe

While most of the ingredients in this recipe are fairly common, the plant-based ground beef might be a new item on your shopping list. This meat alternative is increasingly available at many supermarkets and health food stores. It’s a great source of protein and it’s perfect for those who are trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet. Similarly, pre-made empanada dough disks can be found in the frozen aisle of many grocery stores.

Ingredients for Plant-Based Empanadas

Coleslaw: A mixture of finely shredded cabbage and often carrots, which adds a crunchy texture and tangy flavor to the empanadas.

Plant-based ground beef: A meat substitute made from plants that mimics the taste and texture of ground beef.

Empanada dough disks: Pre-made dough rounds typically used for making empanadas. They help save time and ensure your empanadas have a consistent shape and size.

Onion: Adds a depth of flavor to the filling.

Peas: Adds a sweet touch and nice pop of color to the empanada filling.

Corn: Another sweet element that complements the other flavors in the empanada.

Garlic clove: Garlic adds a punch of flavor that brings all the other ingredients together.

One reader, Cordy Covarrubias says:

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the plant-based empanadas recipe was a game-changer! The filling was so flavorful and the coleslaw added a nice crunch. I loved how easy it was to make and the empanadas turned out crispy and delicious. It's now a go-to recipe for me and my family. Highly recommend trying it out!

Cordy Covarrubias

Techniques Required for Making Plant-Based Empanadas

How to prepare coleslaw mixture: Boil water and add the raw coleslaw and seasoning. Stir frequently for 5 minutes or until reaching the desired crunchiness, then turn off the pot.

How to season plant-based ground beef: In a separate bowl, season the plant-based ground beef with the specified seasonings.

How to sauté vegetables: In a pan on medium heat, sauté the garlic, onion, peas, and corn until they are tender.

How to cook plant-based ground beef: Add the seasoned plant-based ground beef to the sautéed vegetables and cook for 10 minutes.

How to assemble empanadas: Add a scoop of the plant-based beef and coleslaw mixture on an empanada disk, then press the empanada disk with an empanada presser or with a fork.

How to fry empanadas: Heat a pan with oil and fry the empanadas for 2 minutes on each side.

How to serve: Serve the empanadas warm and enjoy!

How To Make Plant-Based Empanadas

Nowadays, you can enjoy empanadas without the guilt of the extra calories. This plant-based recipe retains the beef flavor while being a healthy alternative.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes



For Coleslaw Mixture:

  • 1 ¾cupscoleslaw
  • ½tspsalt
  • ½tspblack pepper
  • 2tspCayenne pepper
  • 2tspred chili flakes
  • 1tspcumin seeds

For Empanada:

  • 15ozplant-based ground beef
  • 1cupcoleslaw mixture
  • 10pre-made empanada dough disks/shells
  • ½cuponion
  • 1cuppeas
  • 1cupcorn
  • 1tspgarlic cloveminced
  • ½tspsalt
  • ½tspblack pepper
  • 2tspCayenne pepper
  • 2tspred chili flakes
  • 1tspcumin seeds


  1. Boil water. To this, add the raw coleslaw and seasoning. Stir frequently for 5 minutes or until reaching desired crunchiness. Once reached, turn off the pot.

  2. In a separate bowl, season the plant-based ground beef.

  3. In a pan on medium heat, saute the garlic, onion, peas, and corn and add the seasoned plant-based ground beef.

  4. Cook the meat for 10 mins, then combine the cooked coleslaw with the plant-based ground beef.

  5. To assemble, add a scoop of the plant-based beef and coleslaw mixture on an empanada disk.

  6. Press the empanada disk with an empanada presser or with a fork.

  7. Heat a pan with oil and fry the empanadas for 2 mins on each side.

  8. Serve warm.

  9. Enjoy!


  • Calories: 1156.69kcal
  • Fat: 38.25g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.79g
  • Trans Fat: 0.58g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 11.46g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 14.94g
  • Carbohydrates: 169.84g
  • Fiber: 15.81g
  • Sugar: 36.22g
  • Protein: 33.25g
  • Cholesterol: 38.60mg
  • Sodium: 1863.85mg
  • Calcium: 321.48mg
  • Potassium: 1059.49mg
  • Iron: 9.57mg
  • Vitamin A: 99.15µg
  • Vitamin C: 50.52mg

Technique Tip for Perfect Plant-Based Empanadas

When frying the empanadas, ensure the oil is hot enough before adding them in. You can test this by dropping a small piece of the dough into the oil. If it sizzles and rises to the top quickly, the oil is ready. This ensures that your empanadas will be crispy and golden brown, not soggy. Also, don't overcrowd the pan as it can lower the oil's temperature and result in uneven cooking.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Plant-Based Empanadas

Prep ahead: Prepare the coleslaw mixture and empanada filling in advance to save time when assembling the empanadas.

Use store-bought dough: Opt for pre-made empanada dough disks or shells to cut down on prep time and simplify the process.

One-pot cooking: Consider cooking the coleslaw mixture and empanada filling in the same pot to minimize cleanup and streamline the cooking process.

Batch cooking: Make a larger quantity of empanadas and freeze the extras for quick and convenient meals in the future.

Organized workspace: Set up a well-organized workspace with all the ingredients and tools you need to efficiently assemble the empanadas.

Efficient assembly: Streamline the assembly process by setting up an assembly line with the empanada dough, filling, and a designated area for sealing the empanadas.

Substitute Ingredients For Plant-Based Empanadas Recipe

  • coleslaw - Substitute with shredded cabbage and carrots: Shredded cabbage and carrots can provide a similar crunchy texture and fresh flavor to coleslaw.

  • plant-based ground beef - Substitute with lentils or mushrooms: Both lentils and mushrooms have a meaty texture and can provide a savory flavor similar to ground beef in a plant-based recipe.

  • empanada dough disks/shells - Substitute with homemade empanada dough: Making your own empanada dough allows you to control the ingredients and customize the texture and flavor to your preference.

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots have a milder and sweeter flavor compared to onions, which can add a subtle depth to the dish.

  • peas - Substitute with chopped green beans: Chopped green beans can provide a similar pop of color and texture as peas in the empanadas.

  • corn - Substitute with diced bell peppers: Diced bell peppers can add a sweet and crunchy element to the filling, similar to corn.

  • garlic clove - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic cloves, providing a similar flavor without the need for chopping or mincing.

Essential Tools for Making Plant-Based Empanadas

  • Cutting board: A flat surface used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Knife: A sharp tool used for cutting and slicing ingredients.
  • Rolling pin: A cylindrical tool used to flatten and shape dough.
  • Empanada press: A tool used to seal and crimp the edges of empanadas.
  • Frying pan: A flat-bottomed pan used for frying the empanadas.
  • Spatula: A kitchen tool with a broad, flat, flexible blade used for lifting and flipping the empanadas.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing and combining ingredients.
  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan used for boiling the coleslaw mixture.
  • Tongs: A tool with two arms and a pivot near the handle, used for gripping and lifting the empanadas while frying.
  • Pot: A deep container used for boiling the coleslaw mixture.

Storing and Freezing Your Homemade Empanadas

  • Allow the empanadas to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent them from becoming soggy.

  • To store in the refrigerator, place the cooled empanadas in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. They will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

  • For longer storage, freezing is a great option:

    • Arrange the cooled empanadas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    • Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until the empanadas are frozen solid.
    • Transfer the frozen empanadas to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, separating layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
    • Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
    • Frozen empanadas will keep for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat refrigerated empanadas, place them on a baking sheet and warm in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

  • For frozen empanadas, there's no need to thaw them first:

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Place the frozen empanadas on a baking sheet.
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they are heated through and the crust is crispy.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat empanadas in an air fryer. Set the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and cook for 5-7 minutes for refrigerated empanadas, or 8-10 minutes for frozen ones, until they are crispy and heated through.

How To Reheat Leftover Empanadas

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each empanada lightly with olive oil or melted butter to help restore their crispy exterior. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and crispy.

  • For a quicker option, use an air fryer. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Place the empanadas in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not touching each other. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until crispy and heated through.

  • If you prefer a stovetop method, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil or butter to the pan. Place the empanadas in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until crispy and heated through.

  • For a more unconventional approach, try reheating your empanadas on a panini press or indoor grill. Preheat the press or grill to medium heat. Place the empanadas on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until crispy and heated through.

  • If you want to maintain the soft texture of the dough, wrap the empanadas in a damp paper towel and microwave them for 30-45 seconds, or until heated through. This method will not restore the crispiness of the exterior, but it will keep the filling hot and the dough soft.

Random Fact About Plant-Based Empanadas

The empanadas are a popular dish in many Latin American countries and are often enjoyed during celebrations and festivals. They can be filled with a variety of ingredients, making them a versatile and delicious option for any occasion.

Is Making Plant-Based Empanadas at Home Cost-Effective?

This plant-based empanadas recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The use of plant-based ground beef and simple ingredients like coleslaw, peas, and corn makes it budget-friendly. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20. The versatility of the recipe allows for customization with various fillings, making it suitable for different preferences. The overall verdict rating for this recipe would be 8/10, considering its affordability, nutritional value, and delicious taste.

Are Plant-Based Empanadas Healthy or Unhealthy?

The plant-based empanadas recipe has both healthy and unhealthy aspects. On the positive side, it incorporates plant-based ground beef, which is generally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol compared to traditional beef. The recipe also includes vegetables like coleslaw, onion, peas, and corn, adding fiber, vitamins, and minerals to the dish. However, the recipe has some unhealthy elements, such as the high amount of spices like cayenne pepper and red chili flakes, which may be too spicy for some individuals and could cause digestive discomfort. Additionally, frying the empanadas in oil adds extra fat and calories to the dish, making it less healthy overall.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Instead of frying the empanadas, try baking them in the oven to reduce the amount of oil used
  • Reduce the amount of spicy seasonings like cayenne pepper and red chili flakes to make the dish more palatable for a wider range of people
  • Add more vegetables to the filling, such as diced bell peppers or carrots, to increase the nutrient content
  • Use whole wheat empanada dough or make your own dough using whole wheat flour to increase the fiber content
  • Experiment with different plant-based protein sources, such as lentils or black beans, to vary the texture and flavor of the filling

Editor's Thoughts on This Plant-Based Empanadas Recipe

The plant-based empanadas recipe is a flavorful and innovative take on a classic dish. The combination of seasoned plant-based ground beef, coleslaw, and a medley of spices creates a delicious filling that is sure to satisfy both vegans and meat-eaters alike. The cooking instructions are clear and easy to follow, making this recipe accessible for home cooks of all skill levels. The use of pre-made empanada dough disks simplifies the preparation process, allowing for a convenient and enjoyable cooking experience. Overall, this recipe offers a delightful plant-based twist on a beloved comfort food, making it a great addition to any culinary repertoire.

Enhance Your Plant-Based Empanadas Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with a dollop of vegan butter.
Grilled Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection and drizzled with a balsamic glaze for a touch of sweetness.
Fruit Salad: A refreshing mix of seasonal fruits, such as juicy watermelon, sweet strawberries, and tangy pineapple, tossed in a light citrus dressing.
Chocolate Cake: Indulge in a rich and decadent chocolate cake, topped with a velvety smooth ganache for the perfect sweet ending to your meal.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Plant-Based Empanadas

Vegan Stuffed Bell Peppers: Use a mixture of quinoa, black beans, corn, and spices to stuff bell peppers, then bake until tender. Top with avocado and cilantro for a delicious and healthy meal.
Mango Salsa Chicken: Marinate chicken in a homemade mango salsa, then grill until cooked through. Serve with a side of rice and steamed vegetables for a flavorful and colorful dish.
Butternut Squash Soup: Roast butternut squash, onions, and garlic, then blend with vegetable broth and spices for a creamy and comforting soup. Garnish with a dollop of coconut cream and fresh herbs for an extra touch of flavor.

Perfect Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Plant-Based Empanadas

Stuffed Mushrooms: For a delicious and savory appetizer, try creating stuffed mushrooms. Fill each mushroom cap with a flavorful mixture of herbs, breadcrumbs, and your choice of cheese. Bake until golden and enjoy these bite-sized treats.
Bruschetta: Create a refreshing and vibrant appetizer by making bruschetta. Toast slices of bread and top them with a mixture of diced tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil. This appetizer is perfect for any gathering and is sure to impress your guests.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will leave your taste buds craving for more.
Berry Parfait: Layer juicy mixed berries with creamy vanilla yogurt and crunchy granola for a delightful berry parfait. The combination of sweet and tangy flavors, along with different textures, creates a perfect balance in every spoonful.

Why trust this Plant-Based Empanadas Recipe:

This plant-based empanadas recipe offers a delicious and satisfying twist on a classic dish. The plant-based ground beef provides a hearty and flavorful filling, while the addition of coleslaw adds a crunchy and zesty element. The combination of cumin seeds, cayenne pepper, and red chili flakes infuses the empanadas with a bold and spicy kick. With the use of pre-made empanada dough disks, this recipe is convenient and accessible for home cooks. Trust in the balance of flavors and textures in this recipe for a delightful plant-based dining experience.

Share your thoughts on this delicious plant-based empanadas recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know if you have any tips or variations to suggest.
Can I use fresh vegetables instead of coleslaw mix?
Yes, you can absolutely use fresh vegetables instead of coleslaw mix. Simply shred or chop your preferred vegetables and season them according to your taste before using them in the recipe.
Can I make the empanadas ahead of time and reheat them later?
Yes, you can make the empanadas ahead of time and reheat them later. After assembling the empanadas, you can freeze them and then reheat them in the oven when you're ready to enjoy them.
Can I use homemade empanada dough instead of pre-made dough disks?
Absolutely! You can use homemade empanada dough if you prefer. Just make sure to roll out the dough to the appropriate thickness and size for your empanadas.
Can I substitute the plant-based ground beef with another protein?
Of course! You can substitute the plant-based ground beef with any protein of your choice, such as lentils, black beans, or tofu. Adjust the seasoning accordingly to complement the new protein.
Can I bake the empanadas instead of frying them?
Yes, you can bake the empanadas instead of frying them. Simply brush the assembled empanadas with a little oil and bake them in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

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