Of all the world’s cuisines, there are none, perhaps, that are so wildly varied as Hispanic food. Consider, as Pew Hispanic writes, the term Hispanic encompasses Spanish, Mexicans, Peruvians, and many other peoples from many different places. While they generally have interaction with Spain and Portugal in common, both places that in Roman times were part of Hispanola, they tend to have just as many differences as similarities.

This can be seen quite clearly in the different recetas de cocina that each culture uses. For example, a Ecuadorian version of ceviche incorporates a tomato sauce, whereas the Peruvian ceviche recipe omits it entirely. Ceviche, originally part of the traditional recetas de cocina of Peru, changed as it traveled. As with ceviche and other recetas de cocina, the classic cultural recipes of so many are changing as they travel to new parts of the world and blend with new cultures.

Vegetarianism is one such cultural trait that is changing the way many foods, Hispanic or otherwise, are prepared. Vegetarianism, as estimated by Vegetarian Times, is now practiced by over 30 million Americans, many of whom come from traditionally Hispanic communities. Whether you come from a Hispanic background or you simply want a way to experience vegetarian recetas de cocina with different flavors, this recipe for vegetarian empanadas is for you.

How to Cook Vegetarian-Friendly Emapanadas


  • 2 pre-made pie crusts
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 heirloom tomato, diced
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped, unseeded
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Bowl of water

Putting It Together

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using the head of a bowl or mug, cut even sized rounds, about four-inches wide, out of the prepared pie dough. Roll excess dough back together, re-cutting it until you’ve used it all.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix all remaining ingredients, with the exception of the beaten egg and water.
  4. Place equal amounts of the mixture inside of your dough rounds.
  5. With the tip of your finger, wet the outside edges of half the dough rounds, and press the two halves together tightly, being sure to completely seal the pocket. For an authentic touch, pleat the edges of the empanadas.
  6. Take a pastry brush and paint the beaten egg across the top of each pocket. This is essential to giving your empanadas a golden coating when they cook.
  7. Place the pockets on a greased cookie sheet, and cook the empanadas for 20 minutes, or until their shells have a golden, crispy look.
  8. Allow to cool for at least five minutes before serving to your friends and family.

You can probably tell that this is not anything like the recetas de cocina you’re used to for empanadas. Not only is this a vegetarian option, but this recipe also eschews the deep-fried method for a healthier baking method. Even with the differences between this vegetarian version and traditional recetas de cocina, I hope you’ll find this recipe a delicious, nostalgic reminder and a simple way to meet your dietary needs.