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Tempeh has a long way to go before it becomes as popular as other soy products, but its wonderfully firm texture and versatility make it an excellent protein source. Here, it’s a stand-in for ground meat in a vegan baked empanada. Slideshow:  More Sweet Potato Recipes 

March 2015


Credit: © Con Poulos

Recipe Summary test

1 hr 15 mins
3 hrs 15 mins




Make the dough
  • Line the bottom of the oven with a sheet of foil and preheat to 350°. Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork and roast directly on the oven rack for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool slightly. Scrape the flesh into a bowl and mash well with a fork.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk both flours with the cornmeal and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat 1 1/2 cups of the sweet potato puree (save the rest for later use) with the coconut oil until smooth. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until a smooth dough forms.

  • Scrape the dough onto a work surface and gather into a ball; divide in half and pat into 6-inch disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the tempeh, garlic and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant and heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, water, adobo sauce and oregano and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and let the filling cool completely.

  • Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, stamp out 10 rounds of dough. Moisten the edges with water and mound a scant 2 tablespoons of the filling on one half of each round; fold the dough over to form half-moons. Press the edges to seal and pleat at intervals or crimp with a fork. Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

  • Bake the empanadas in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 25 minutes, until browned; shift the pans halfway through baking. Serve warm, with the Avocado Chimichurri.

Make Ahead

The unbaked empanadas can be frozen for 2 months; bake from frozen.

Suggested Pairing

Fragrant white Torrontés from Argentina’s Salta region is a good match for these flavorful vegan empanadas.