Ty’s Super Awesome Vegan Empanadas / Picadillo

Published February 23, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So, I’m a half Cuban, half  Honduran vegan. Why should you care? Well, because as a cuban raised in South Florida, I can tell you confidently that I know a thing or two about empanadas, and these are like [vegan] heaven deep fried in dough.

Coincidentally, I’ve been making these for years. Way before I was vegan. When I was still eating meat even! (Only I was making them with Boca Burger crumbles then.) It never occurred to me that they were vegan until after I made the transition and checked out all my ingredients.

Mary & Bobby love these, and I thought I’d suck it up and make them since they were coming over. I probably only make them once a year (or two!), and I even bought a deep fryer last year specifically for this purpose. If you’re too lazy to roll out the thawed frozen dough and shape and fry these ( As I have been on many occasions), it’s still a delicious picadillo that you can serve with some brown rice. Which is actually what I brought to Thanksgiving a year and a half ago and all the meat eaters ate it, and loved the flavors. ; )

$$$      If you don’t wanna deal with rehydrating the TVP, you can use vegan burger crumbles instead, but just a warning, TVP is 3 billion times cheaper! For example, the TVP necessary for this recipe cost just over $1. Equivalent amount of vegan crumbles would have cost $9-10! You can use veggie broth in place of the water and bouillon cubes too, if you have it on hand. But again, the bouillon cubes are another great way to stretch your dollar.

Ty’s Super Awesome Vegan Empanadas / Picadillo

1 recipe for rehydrated TVP (below) or 2 lb equivalent of vegan burger crumbles

2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 – 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (with green chiles or habaneros if you like it hot!)
1 c. water
1 vegan bouillon cube, crumbled
1/3 c.  tomato paste
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar or cooking sherry
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I like to use a little extra)
2/3 c. raisins
1/2 c. sliced olives with pimentos
1/2 c. slivered almonds
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
cayenne pepper to taste (leave it out or amp it up!)

your favorite empanada/turnover dough recipe, enough for 20! or 2 packages of frozen vegan empanada dough circles, thawed

Rehydrated TVP:

2 c. of TVP granules
2 c. of water
1 vegan bouillon cube
4 tsp. liquid smoke
4 tsp. vegan worcestershire

Makes 20 empanadas or 6-8 servings of picadillo


1. To rehydrate TVP, bring stock, liquid smoke and worcestershire up to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in TVP. Cover and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, cook onions on medium heat until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add TVP and all other ingredients. Simmer over low heat for 25 minutes to let flavors combine. Let it cool if using for empanada filling. If using as picadillo, serve with some hot brown rice and skip step 3.

3. Roll out empanada dough circles lightly with rolling pin, and place about a 1/4 cup of filling in half of the circle and fold to close. Use a fork to crimp the edges closed and deep fry until golden brown. Drain on paper bags or paper towels. These are great served with vegan sour cream for dipping!

Prepare your broth to hydrate the TVP.

Hydrate begin.

I totally didn’t feel like chopping that much onion. A few quick pulses minced them.

Subsequently, I minced the garlic in there too while the onions cooked.

This left me time to slice up my olives and have the rest of my ingredients ready to go.

Simmer and cool. That’s a lot of filling!

About a 1/4 cup in each should do it.

Fold in half and press closed.

I like to fold the edges over to make sure it stays closed.

And then crimp the edges with a fork to seal it tight.

20 empanadas, ready for frying.

Drained empanadas and waiting on the last couple batches to plate.

I served these with a very lightly and simply dressed red cabbage slaw. (agave, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper.)

10 comments on “Ty’s Super Awesome Vegan Empanadas / Picadillo

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