Yes to Yummy

Beef Empanadas (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)

June 3, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Today, we’re going to be getting a little exotic. We’re also going to be getting a little beefy.

I hope you’re all right with that.


And this recipe was developed because of first-world grocery problems. Allow me to explain.

I had this great idea one night in the shower–savory banana splits, with grilled plantains instead of the bananas, Mexican-seasoned meatballs instead of ice cream, guacamole instead of whipped cream, and a cherry tomato on top. It was genius, I tell you, genius.

But then, I went to my local provider of plantains (a decent-sized organic market) and there were no plantains. I was heartbroken. What was a creative girl to do with good-quality ground beef? I couldn’t just make burgers, after all.

After much deliberating and brainstorming, I hit another idea and ran with it. Both my family and I are very glad I did so.


The filling, made from ground beef, tomato paste, onions, and herbs and seasoning is delicious on its own, but the buttery, slightly-crunchy exterior really takes the tastiness to the next level. Add some guacamole and salsa on the side and it gets EVEN. BETTER.


In Latin American countries, families often get together and roll these out together, so unless you have a hoard of helpful relatives, you’ll have to form the empanadas on your own. Oh well. The first couple are a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy!

If you’re ready to blow the socks off of your family and friends on a Sunday or rainy weeknight, let’s get started.

Recipe adapted from here.


In a big mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of tapioca powder, 1 1/4 cups of blanched almond flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold together. Once a homogeneous ball is formed, wrap it up in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.


Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.


Time to make the filling! Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and chop up a medium onion and a large carrot. Once the fat is hot, add the onion and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

To the onion and carrot, add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, then crumble in 3/4 lb of ground beef (I always use grass-fed/organic beef from my butcher). Use a large spoon to break it up, then let it saute with the onion and garlic until no pink remains, about another 5 minutes.


Add in 6 ounces of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of oregano, 1 tablespoon of cumin, a pinch of paprika, and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate, then turn the heat down to low. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat until you roll your empanadas.

Take out the ball of dough and divide it into nine even-sized smaller balls.


Rip off two pieces of wax paper and dust them lightly with tapioca or arrowroot flour. Put one of the balls between the two sheets and use a weight, large can, or cookbook to smush it down until it’s flat.


Remove the top layer of parchment paper and round out the edges of the dough circle with your hands.


Using a small spoon, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the filling and put it on half of the dough circle towards the center, leaving some room on the edges to seal up the empanada.


Fold over the exposed half of the dough circle on top of the circle with the filling and use a damp fork to seal the sides and create a pretty pattern.

Repeat with the remaining dough. You will have leftover filling, and that’s OK: it tastes really good with eggs for breakfast or mixed into a chopped salad for lunch or dinner.


Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then brush lightly with some egg wash. (Simply whisk together an egg with a teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt in a bowl.) Continue baking until golden brown and shiny on top, about 10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately with roasted or grilled vegetables, brown rice or cauliflower rice, and guacamole and salsa for dipping. Yummy heaven.


What is your favorite Latin American dish? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

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