My boyfriend, Daniel, just came back from a trip to Colombia to visit his family. This inspired me to veganize the Colombian Empanada!
Vegan Colombian Empanadas have been on my list of recipes to make for a while now but I never got around to it. I assumed I wouldn't be able to do it justice or that they would be too difficult. Thankfully, I was wrong! These are absolutely delicious especially when served with Ají which is a Colombian hot sauce that is made with finely minced mixed veggies and water. It's so flavorful and fresh and pairs so well with the filling of beefless grounds, potato, and rice. You're going to love these!
What You Will Need For These Vegan Colombian Empanadas
You will definitely need a plastic zip lock bag to form the empanadas. It will stick without plastic! Other than that, nothing special.
- Pre-Cooked Cornmeal
- Not Beef Bouillon Cube
- Softened Vegan Butter
- Potato, for the filling
- Rice, for the filling
- Mixed Vegetables, for the filling
What I Used:
Colombian Empanadas are made with pre-cooked cornmeal which is the same cornmeal that I used in the Vegan Colombian Arepas recipe. This recipe is not made with the typical cornmeal that you would find in the supermarket to make cornbread.
How To Make The Best Vegan Colombian Empanadas
Unfortunately, this will not work with any other cornmeal than the PAN pre-cooked cornmeal. If you try it out, you'll end up with a waste. Luckily Pan Pre-cooked cornmeal is readily available in many grocery stores or online.
These empanadas are definitely a labor of love. They do take a bit of time but it's fun and the effort ends up being very worth it.
If you have any leftover empanadas that have been fried they can be frozen and then reheated in the oven until warmed through.
More Recipes You Might Like:
If You Make This Recipe:
Tag me on Instagram! I’d love to see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I would greatly appreciate if you share your review in the comments below. Don’t forget to add if you made any fun substitutions. Thank you!
Vegan Colombian Empanadas
- 3 cups Hot Water
- 3 tablespoons Softened Vegan Butter
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 3 cups Pre-Cooked Cornmeal
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- 1 Large Russet Potato boiled
- 1 cup Cooked White or Brown Rice
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Small Yellow Onion diced
- ¼ cup Red Bell Pepper minced
- 3-5 Cloves of Garlic
- ¼ cup Water
- 2 Not Beef Vegan Bouillon Cube
- 12 oz Vegan Beefless Grounds
- 1 cup Canned Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Salt more to taste
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- ½ cup Cilantro finely chopped
Ají or Colombian Hot Sauce:
- ½ cup Green Onions minced
- ¼ cup Tomato minced
- ¼ cup Red Bell Pepper
- ½ cup Cilantro
- 2 Jalapeños deseeded + minced
- 3-5 Garlic Cloves minced
- 4 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 2 tablespoons White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ cup Water
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Dice the russet potato and boil until soft. Drain, place back in pan, mash, and then set aside. Make the white or brown rice (I used and recommend leftover rice). Set aside.
- Make the Ají by mincing green onions, tomatoes, red bell peppers, jalapeños, garlic, and cilantro. It's important to mince not dice. Once minced, combine together in a medium sized bowl. Add in the lemon juice, white vinegar, and water. Mix well. This sauce is supposed to be watery. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve. This step is important. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it is.
- Dice the onion and red bell pepper and mince the garlic for the filling. Heat a large sauce pan on medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add in the red bell pepper and garlic. Cook for a few more minutes. Crumble the not beef bouillon cubes in to the pan and add the water. Continue to cook until onions start turning brown and the water is almost absorbed.
- Add in the package of beefless crumbles and stir to combine. After a few minutes, add in the tomato sauce, cumin, paprika, salt, chili powder, mashed potato, and cooked rice. Combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Turn off heat and add chopped cilantro.
- Make the empanada dough by combining the hot water, vegan bouillon cube, softened vegan butter, salt, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add in the Pre-Cooked Cornmeal and mix with a spatula. Once it comes together, use your hands to knead until a soft dough forms. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Heat a large pan of oil on medium heat until it is 350F. Note: You will want to fry as soon as you shape because the dough will dry out. Make 2-3 and then fry while making 2-3 more.
- Cut a large gallon sized zip lock bag on 2 of sides. So, it has only 1 side still connecting it. In the middle of the zip lock, add ¼ cup of the batter and roll in to a ball. Close the zip lock bag so that there is plastic under and above the dough. If you don't use plastic, it will stick.
- Smash the plastic covered dough with the bottom of a cooking pan until it's slightly smaller than the size of a corn tortilla (for reference).
- Fill the middle of the dough with 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of the filling. Now, using the plastic, flip one half over the other and use you hands to seal the empanada. Like a half moon. Cut off the edge of the empanada with a bowl or cup.
- When shaped, immediately place in oil and fry for 5-7 minutes or until they are golden. Drain excess oil off on a wire rack. Keep shaping and frying until all empanadas are fried. Serve with Ají and enjoy!