Vegetarian Empanada Filling Recipes

If you haven’t checked out the previous posts written on chicken empanadas, beef empanadas, seafood empanadas or ham empanadas, don’t miss out. However, if you are of the veggie preference or just want to find something without meat for a meal or two, you’ve come to the right place. Some of the most delicious empanadas that I’ve made have been vegetarian. With the right ingredients the meatless variety is something quite spectacular.

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Seafood and Fish Empanada Filling Recipes

Being from Maryland and having the Chesapeake Bay at my disposal growing up, I’ve grown accustomed to fresh seafood anytime. This helped to quickly develop my palette for high-quality seafood at premium freshness. And of course my love for Old Bay. Below are some recipes for empanada fillings that include a lot of the foods I’ve taken for granted most of my life and now can’t live without. But, before you get started on your empanada filling, don’t forget to check out some common empanada mistakes that I’ve discovered along the way while perfecting my Argentinian empanada skills.

Citrus Tuna Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

Makes 6 medium-sized empanadas.

  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and cut into small dice
  • 1 celery rib rib, scrubbed and diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • zest of 2 mandarin oranges
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 2 small cans chunk white tuna in water, drained
  • 3 Tbsp dry white wine
  • Extra lime and orange zest


  1. In a medium-sized pan, melt butter and cook onion, celery and carrot until al dente (approx 2 minutes)
  2. Toss onion mixture into a mixing bown with all other ingredients and mix until well-incorporated.
  3. When assembling the empanadas, use extra orange and lime zest on top when brushing with egg wash.

tuna empanada filling

Shrimp Bisque Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

Makes 12 medium-sized empanadas.

  • 1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/2 Cup minced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste (add Old Bay if you like)
  • 3 egg yolks, well beaten


  1. In a deep saute pan on medium-high heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter and add onion and garlic. Cook until soft or 2-3 minutes.
  2. Chop raw shrimp into small pieces.
  3. Add shrimp to the pan and saute until pink and no longer translucent, 2-3 minutes only. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in the shrimp pan and stir in flour until smooth.
  5. Add cream, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened.
  6. Stir small amount hot mixture into egg yolks, then stir back into sauce. Add shrimp and let cool completely, or chill for one hour before assembling your empanada.

Check out another similar recipe for a Fish and Lobster Pie from a fellow foodie. Or check out our chicken empanada, beef empanada and pork empanada filling recipes.

Chicken Empanada Filling Recipes

Empanadas are little pockets full of heaven. They can be baked or fried and can be filled with about anything. Here you’ll find some of my very best chicken empanada filling recipes like my personal favorite, Thai Green Chicken Curry and other irresistibles. Impress your husband or your best friends with the perfect empanadas straight from South America.

Before getting started with your empanadas, check out the common empanada mistakes page to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I have.

Slow Cooked Chicken Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Legs w/thigh (skin on and bone in)
  • 1 Whole Yellow Onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 Can whole tomatoes with juice (leave whole)
  • 3 Tbl Yellow Curry Powder
  • 2 Tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl coarse sea salt
  • 1 Tbl Spanish Paprika
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth


  1. Brown chicken legs in 2 Tbl oil (approx 5 min each side)
  2. Meanwhile, place tomatoes onion and spices on the bottom of the slow cooker
  3. Place browned chicken pieces on top.
  4. Pour in chicken broth. Cook on Low for 7 hours.
  5. Remove chicken pieces and pull off all the meat. Place into a sifter with a bowl underneath to catch the runoff.
  6. Remove 3 whole tomatoes and 1/8 C onions from the slow cooker, coarsely chop and place into a fine mesh strainer or sifter to drain for 1-2 hours.
  7. Meanwhile, with a fork gently break apart chicken, tomatoes and onion. Stir with a fork until the mixture resembles a chicken BBQ. Combine with drained tomatoes and onions and chill until ready to use.


Thai Green Curry Chicken Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 Medium yellow onions minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tsp flour


  1. Cut into 1 inch cubes then toss chicken first in 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, then in the flour, coating pieces evenly.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken in the skillet, cook and stir chicken until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and stir in curry paste. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant, then stir in green onions, garlic, and ginger; cook an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to the skillet, stirring to coat with the curry mixture. Stir the coconut milk, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and sugar into the chicken curry mixture.
  5. Let simmer, add flour and let thicken for 5-8 minutes. Let cool or chill until needed.

Thai Green Curry Empanada Filling

Pulled BBQ Chicken Empanada Filling

Chicken Preparation

  • 3 pounds chicken thigh and leg (skin on, bone in)
  • 1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • water
  1. Wash chicken and place into a slow cooker
  2. Pour in vinegar, mustard seed, bay leaves and salt
  3. Fill with water until just covered

Filling Ingredients

  • 6 Cups of pulled pork
  • 2 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbl powdered cayenne
  • 2 Tbl powdered garlic
  • 2 Tbl ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C. Barbecue sauce
  • 4 Whole fresh tomatoes (seeded, peeled and diced)
  • 1 Tbl salt


In a medium-sized bowl, stir all ingredients until well-mixed and let cool to room temperature.

Also check out our beef empanada, seafood empanada and pork empanada filling recipes.

Ham & Pork Empanada Filling Recipes

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your empanadas turn out the way they should is use the best ingredients possible, while keeping things affordable. I would say this is most important consideration with pork fillings. The slow-cooked varieties are much more forgiving since you’re cooking the meat for an extended period of time (6-10 hours) but you’ll notice a huge difference in flavor with premium meats and produce. Check out the common empanada mistakes page before you start anything so you can see what to avoid instead of ruining the first few batches of empanada filling.

Ham and Cheese Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbl Butter
  • 1/4 C. Dry White Wine
  • 1 C. Yellow Onion finely chopped
  • 2/3 C. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbl Flour
  • 3 Tbl Dijon Mustard
  • 2 C. Chopped Ham
  • 2 C. Shredded Pepper Jack or Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tsp Cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tsp Salt


  1. Heat butter in pan and sautee minced onion for 2 minutes until clear.
  2. Add White wine and cream
  3. Fold in cheese and stir until melted
  4. Add chopped ham and stir until integrated. Let mixture cool and thicken.

Ham & Cheese Empanada Filling


Sausage, Cheese and Blackbean Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 small tomatoes from a can, diced
  • 4 Mexican chorizo sausages
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg yolk


  1. Prepare empanada dough and chill.
  2. Remove casings from sausages and roughly chop. Sauté sausages in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until nicely browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and chopped onion to the skillet with the cumin and chili powder. Cook onion, stirring often, until soft. Add tomato and 1 tablespoon sugar and cook a few minutes longer.
  4. Mix onions mixture and sausage together in a bowl. Stir in grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill mixture for about an hour (or overnight) if possible.

saute sausage and onions

Calzone Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 Cups Ricotta
  • 1/2 Cup Mozzarella
  • 1 Cup diced salami
  • 1 Cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 Cup Fresh Oregano
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbl Salt


  1. Prepare empanada dough and chill.
  2. Drain tomatoes for 30 minutes to 1 hour in a fine mesh strainer.
  3. Coarsely chop salami and place into a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.


If pork isn’t your thing, check out our chicken empanada, beef empanada and seafood empanada filling recipes.

Beef Empanada Filling Recipes

Before you get started on your empanada filling, don’t forget to check out some common empanada mistakes that I’ve discovered along the way while perfecting my Argentinian empanada skills.

Ground Beef and Potato Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes, boiled for 5 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 5 green olives sliced
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Grate the potatoes and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the ground beef and saute until brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Add potatoes, onion, bell pepper, olives, spices, salt and pepper. Cook until ingredients are soft. Let cool.

Slow-Cooked Beef Empanada Filling

Preparation of Beef

  1. Soak 3-4 lbs of a beef roast in salted water for 5 hours
  2. In the water have one yellow onion quartered, 2 medium carrots in big pieces, 2 pieces of celery cut into big pieces, 6-8 cloves of garlic – smashed, 1 tbl mustard seed, 1 large bay leaf, 2 tbl salt, 1 tbl black pepper
  3. Slow-cook meat on low for 6-8 hours
  4. Remove meat and strain juices to keep for beef broth.

Filling Ingredients:

Makes 3 Cups of Empanada Filling:

  • 2 Cups of slow-cooked beef (see above) cubed
  • 1/4 Cup reserved beef broth
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 Small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Large green onion, green and white part chopped
  • 1 Tbl dried oregano
  • 1 Tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 Tbl flour
  • 5 stuffed green olives coarsely chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg chopped
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 2 tsp salt and 1 tbl black ground pepper


  1. In a large pan with medium-high heat, saute the yellow and green onion in butter with the bell pepper for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  2. Incorporate garlic powder, cumin and flour until well mixed.
  3. Mix in the chopped beef and beef broth and let reduce until thick.
  4. Add salt and pepper and let cool.

    Also check out our chicken empanada, seafood empanada and pork empanada filling recipes.

    Costa Rican Fire Sauce

    Costa Ricans love their sauces. From Lizano’s to the typical veggies-in-vinegar at every soda table in the country, the Ticos can’t go without adding some extra kick to their dishes. I’ve adopted a similar mentality and feel like the table is empty without a bottle or two of various flavors on the table. My morning gallo pinto just isn’t the same without the chilero, nor the egg sandwiches with Tapatio. We know what we like and we check the labels to make sure they are not infused with MSG or any other preservatives, but sometimes we just want a homemade, fresh hot sauce to use for the month.

    I’ve highlighted the most basic recipe for hot sauce that I know and we used our home-grown chili peppers that we bought from our neighborhood EPA in Cariari, Belen, Costa Rica. We planted the peppers back in March along with some basil, oregano, flat-leafed parsley, chives, thyme and cherry tomatoes. Are growing everything in planters so our dogs don’t stomp on them or sprinkle them with some unwanted flavor. The trick is mixing compost with good potting soil and keeping things fertilized with compost ever other month or so. We started a compost pile when we moved in, but haven’t yielded any good rich product yet.

    Here is the recipe for the Costa Rican Hot Sauce and it’s certainly hot as fire so be careful how much you use as it stays with you for some time after your finished with it.

    Costa Rican Fire Sauce Ingredients

    • 9 ripe chili peppers
    • 6 small to medium cloves of garlic
    • 1 Cup white vinegar

    Costa Rican Fire Sauce Directions

    1. It’s best to use gloves when slicing hot peppers to avoid burning your eyes by touching them later.
    2. Slice the tops off of all the peppers and discard. Slice each pepper into 4 large pieces and place into the blender.

    chili peppers and vertical blender

    3. Remove the skins from the garlic cloves by smashing them first and cutting off the tiny end which is inedible. Place into the blender as well.

    chili peppers in vinegar

    4. Pour in the vinegar and blend well, or use a vertical blender in a tall container.

    hot sauce in blender
    5. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid and carefully transfer the sauce without splashing or getting the fumes in your face.

    Costa Rican Fire Sauce

    Homemade Crackers with Sage and Cayenne

    This is a follow-up post to my first attempt at homemade crackers, which was a basic recipe topped with olive oil and sea salt. With this batch I decided to adjust the recipe to make it more my style and added a few spices for added flavor and extra kick. Each time I repeat a cracker recipe and tweak the ingredients, I try to learn from past mistakes in order to improve flavor and texture as much as possible. My plan for these crackers was to make them a touch spicier than the last and use an Indian spice mixture called Garam Marsala. Here is what I came up with:


    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (extra for topping)
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon Garam Marsala spice
    1/2 cup warm water
    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (extra for topping)
    2 tablespoons of dried sage


    1. In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, Garam Marsala and sea salt until mixed.

    Mix dry ingredients

    2. Add the water and olive oil and stir together until the dough is not too sticky or dry (add extra water or flour if the consistency is wrong).

    Mix in olive oil and water

    3. Knead dough for 2-4 minutes on a floured counter top and then break dough into 12 small dough balls and set aside with a towel or plastic wrap to rest for 45 minutes


    4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a pizza stone inside (if you are using cookie sheets instead, preheat them as well)
    5. Take the rested dough balls and use the rolling pin to flatten the ball into a long strip about 1/4 to 1/8″ thick, brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and dried sage.
    6. Slice the strip into pieces of your size preference and poke holes in the dough with the tines of the fork several times (to keep from puffing)

    slice and baste

    7. Place slices (and any other extra toppings you choose) on the hot pizza stone and cook until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Cook in small batches. Yields 24-36 crackers.

    crackers on the pizza stone

    Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

    This recipe for garlic roasted cauliflower is more of an extension of a recipe I’ve used with roasted broccoli in a pasta salad. I loved how the other recipe turned out and needed a quick, cheap dish to take to an Easter cookout. To me, cauliflower has a nicer texture to it and is more versatile than broccoli, so it seems natural to make the switch.

    We took the dogs to a barbecue where they served up sausages, hamburgers and the staples: guacamole, pico de gallo and refried beans.  Our roasted cauliflower fit in nicely with the spread. Here’s how the recipe goes for 8-10 people:


    2 heads of fresh cauliflower
    5-6 Garlic cloves sliced into ultra thin rounds (think Goodfellas)
    1 whole fresh jalapeño, seeded and diced
    1 small yellow onion, diced
    1/4 C. olive oil
    1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
    1 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
    1 tsp fresh ground pepper


    1. Pre-heat oven to 400
    2. Clean and cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a large mixing bowl

    Whole Cauliflower Cauliflower Florets

    3. In a small dish, combine oil, garlic slices, chives, salt, pepper, jalapeño, and onion and mix well.

    Mixed spices in olive oil

    4. Pour over the cauliflower florets and toss until well-coated.
    5. Spread seasoned cauliflower in a single layer on two cookie sheets.

    Seasoned Cauliflower

    6. Place inside the preheated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until slightly browned and tender. Stir halfway through cooking.


    7. Cover your roasted cauliflower and take to any cookout, or serve immediately.

    Breakfast Burrito with frites, tomato and egg

    This breakfast burrito post is to compliment the previous post about jalapeño and onion frites, which is actually just a fancy name for home fries. I wanted to make a breakfast burrito with frites inside, and after trying out this new creation, it will stay on the menu at our house. This will be a quick post but I wanted to give each part of the breakfast it’s own, well-deserved, glory.

    Start by making the frites:

    jalapeno onion frites

    To complete each breakfast burrito:


    4 ripe cherry tomatoes (from the garden are the best)
    2 eggs (free-range of course)
    1 medium flour tortilla
    1 tsp Tapatio (or your favorite hot sauce)
    1/2 C fresh frites


    1. Slice the cherry tomatoes into 4 thin slices
    2. Heat a fry pan to medium high heat and cook the tortilla until slightly browned on both sides

    breakfast burrito prep

    3. While the tortilla is cooking, fry two eggs in a tsp of oil to temperature (over-medium, over-hard, etc)
    4. Assemble burrito on a place by placing the tortilla on the bottom, next the eggs, followed by the frites and then topped with tomatoes and Tapatio.
    5. Make as many breakfast burritos as you need and serve immediately.

    breakfast burrito final

    Jalapeño and Onion Frites

    This morning I woke up with an unusual clarity about what to make for breakfast; frites with jalapeños and onions. Some call them hashbrowns or homefries, but the French call them frites. I’m going to stick with that so they sound fancier. My husband and I have tried to make breakfast potatoes a number of times and can never quite get them right. We had no problem grilling potatoes with jalapeño and onion in foil, but for some reason the frying angle is a bit tougher.

    After many a trial and error, we’ve figured out that it’s very important to dry out the pieces of potato before trying to fry them. So, this morning, it was like I already knew what to do. All I could think of was how to get the frites to turn out like our very favorite ones at Lulu in Charlotte, NC. I couldn’t post about their delicious French food, because it’s outside the realm of ‘cheap food‘ but they have the absolute best breakfast frites known to man, I’m sure of it. So, with Lulu on my mind, I set out for a nice knock-off. Here’s how to do it:

    SERVES 2


    3 small/medium white potatoes (about 1 per person)

    1 small yellow onion – coarsely chopped

    1 fresh jalapeño – diced

    1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

    1 tsp garlic powder

    1 tsp onion powder

    1 tsp seasoned salt (Old Bay or blackening season will work)

    2 Tbsp of flour (I used whole wheat flour)

    2 C. peanut oil


    1. Place a cookie sheet in the oven at 375, or tray in the toaster oven. Preheat oven with sheet inside.

    2. Dice the potatoes with the skin on and place on paper towels. Pat dry.


    3. Move the potatoes to the cookie sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes until dry to the touch. You may want to move them around every few minutes so they don’t stick to the tray, but don’t use oil or cooking spray, as this defeats the purpose of this step by trapping in the moisture.

    frites in the toaster oven

    4. While the potatoes are in the oven, preheat the oil in a small pot on medium-high heat.

    5. Remove the potatoes from the oven and place into a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle with flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and onion powder and toss to coat.

    potatoes tossed with flour and spices

    6. Test the oil with one small piece of potato. When it’s bubbling steadily, it is ready, however if the oil is smoking, it’s too hot and you should let it cool slightly.

    7. Add the potatoes and let fry for 4-6 minutes until there is a slight color/texture change, but not fully cooked.

    frying the potatoes

    8. Then add the diced jalapeño and onion. Fry for an additional 4-6 minutes until golden brown.

    add jalapeno and onion to the pot

    9. Remove everything from the oil with a slotted spoon or similar, and place on a new bed of paper towels. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and serve your jalapeño and onion frites immediately.

    jalapeno onion frites final