Venezuelan Empanadas

  • Yield 10 to 12 servings

Empanadas are a traditional entrée of Latin America. The using a textured soy protein provides a lower fat, high isoflavone alternative.

These flaky meat pies are courtesy of Cargill, Incorporated. This filling also tastes great in a flour or corn tortilla or taco shell.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup ice water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 chopped onion (2 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups canned diced tomatoes; drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Spanish or smoked paprika
1 cup unflavored textured soy protein
3/4 cup water (to hydrate textured soy protein)
8 ounces extra lean ground beef
8 whole green olives with pimientos, sliced
1 tablespoon raisins
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 pinch salt


  1. To prepare dough, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; mix with fork or pulse in food processor until combined. Add butter and lard and mix using a pastry blender or food processor until the texture of coarse meal. Drizzle water over mixture and mix gently with fork; gather dough into a ball and shape into a flat disk; wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  2. To prepare filling, combine textured soy protein with water and let stand 10 minutes. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables, spices, and hydrated textured soy protein, cook uncovered for 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add ground beef, stir occasionally to break up lumps of meat; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in olives and raisins; set aside.
  3. To prepare empanadas, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough to 1/8” thickness on lightly floured surface. Using 6” diameter round cookie cutter, cut rounds from dough (Will have to re-roll to get 10-12 rounds). Spoon about ¼ cup filling onto one side of each round and moisten edges of rounds with water.   Fold in half and press edges together to completely enclose filling.  Using tines of fork, decoratively seal edges. Place 2” apart on baking sheet lined with parchment.  Mix together egg, milk, and salt to make a glaze and brush over tops of empanadas. Bake until golden brown, about 17 minutes. Let cool slightly on a rack and serve warm. Makes 10 to 12 empanadas.

Recipe courtesy of The Soyfoods Council



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