This version of empanadas is very far from traditional, that are usually deep-fried and often filled with all kinds of meat and cheeses. I typically try to keep my recipes on a healthier side, and I did the same with these little pies that are baked in the oven, and only two tablespoons of oil are used for the whole batch.
Also, I chose eggplant and lentils for the filling as I had some cooked lentils leftover from the day before, and the eggplant was already looking a little bit tired. I am always very mindful of food waste and try to avoid throwing away anything. Now that going out, even for groceries, is limited, it is an extra challenge as I try to order food only every two weeks, and it is quite challenging to predict what I would like to eat in 10 days. I take it as a positive challenge and imagine myself in a cooking competition where I am given random ingredients and have to come up with a delicious meal!
It works for me because I have managed to use up everything but half a capsicum and two avocados so far. Also, I don’t take the full blame for the avocados as they looked just perfect from the outside.
Talking about avocados – a simple avocado mash with lime and jalapenos works very well as a side for these empanadas. But they are also good on their own, for breakfast or afternoon tea.
Eggplant and Lentil Empanadas
Cooking time: 1 hour
For the dough:
1 ¾ oz coconut cream
3 ½ oz white beans + 1 tbsp liquid from the jar
1 tbsp olive oil
3 ½ oz flour
1 ¾ oz corn flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
For the filling:
7 oz cooked lentils (I used black beluga lentils, but every kind will work)
1 small onion
1 small eggplant
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
If you don’t have any leftover cooked lentils, then start with this following packet instructions since different types require different cooking times.
For the filling, chop up the onion and fry it in oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes until translucent. Then add the spices and keep cooking for a few more minutes.
Chop the eggplant to about ½ inch pieces and add to the frying pan. Keep cooking for five more minutes, occasionally stirring. Then add in the tomato paste and the lentils, stir, have a taste, add salt if necessary, and leave to simmer on low for ten more minutes until everything is nice and soft. Set aside to cool.
For the dough, add the coconut cream, beans with 1 tbsp of liquid from the jar and olive oil to a blender and blend until smooth.
Mix flour, corn flour, salt, and baking powder, then add the liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix. Start with a spoon and then knead until the ball of dough forms. Add a little more water if the dough feels dry. It should not fall apart too easily.
Preheat your oven to 350F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the dough out on a flowered surface –aim for 1/10 inch, so it is quite thin. Using a large cookie cutter or something else round (mine was around 4 inches in diameter), cut out the circles.
Add about a tablespoon of filling on the center of the dough (you will understand how much filling you can add after you have been folding a few. The amount depends on the size of your dough circle, but I always try to add as much filling as possible) and fold the edges. You can use a fancy folding technique, as I did, or just push the edges firmly together with a fork.
Gather the remaining dough to a ball and roll out again to use up all of it. As the dough dries out with time, you might want to wet your hands if you are pushing it to a ball.
Once all your empanadas are folded, it is time to bake them for about 30 minutes until they are nice and browned. Try to let them cool slightly before eating as the filling is piping hot.
By Kadri Raig
Kadri is a food blogger and yoga teacher from Estonia. She does love to spend time in the kitchen, but most of her recipes are simple and don’t take more than 20 minutes of active cooking time. She thinks that everybody can find time to cook healthy food at home, it is just a question of planning. "I work in an office full time, teach yoga 7-8 hours a week and write a blog. So if I manage to cook most of my meals, then so do you!" Connect with Kadri and enjoy many more of her delicious healthy recipes on her website here: www.kahvliga.ee.
Try these free yoga and meditation classes before your delicious lentil and eggplant empanadas.
Meditation: Release Reactivity with Geenie Celento
25-Minute Full Body Yoga with Keith Allen
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