Lentil Taco Filled Empanadas

TheseLentil Taco Filled Empanadas empanadas have been a labor of love.  The first time that I made them I was basing them off another recipe and they turned out really well.  I made them a few times to make sure they worked and was happy with the outcome.  But I couldn’t just leave them alone.

The first version I made used eggs, which is fine because I love eggs and use them daily.  I wanted to try and make a version that didn’t use eggs.  That’s when the labor part of “labor of love” started.  I won’t say I failed, I just found 452 ways to NOT make empanadas without eggs.  Finally I had a breakthrough and came up with an eggless empanada.  I might have done a little dance in my kitchen….

I included both versions of the empanada here so you can choose which version you want to make.  The ingredients will be different but the process will be the same.  I’m also including my recipe for taco lentils as a filling for the empanada, but you can use any filling you would like.  Try shredded chicken or pork or ground turkey or beef.  Whatever your little heart desires.  Dream big my friends, dream big.

Lentil Taco Filled Empanada

Empanada with Eggs- based on this recipe from Barefoot Provisions 

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Empanada without Eggs

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

1.  Whatever version you make, combine all the dry ingredients and mix together.  Then add in the wet and stir to combine.  For the version with eggs the batter will seem very runny but that is fine.  The eggless version should be a little thicker like pancake batter.

2. Preheat oven to 350 and line a large baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.

3.  Heat a little olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat.  Pour a little bit of the empanada batter into the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes.  You want the bottom to be cooked but the top to still be a little doughy.

4.  With a spatula transfer the empanada from the skillet over to the lined baking sheet.  Spoon a little of your filling onto one side of the empanada.  Fold over the opposite side pressing along the edges to seal.  Repeat this process until you have used all the batter.  I usually get about 5 empanadas out of this recipe.

5.  Bake the empanadas for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  You can top with avocado cream, cashew sour cream, salsa, or hot sauce.

Lentil Taco Filled Empanadas

Lentil Taco Filling

  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans (canned or dry)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tsp taco seasoning
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch or cornstarch mixed in 1/4 cup water

1.  Mix the tapioca starch/cornstarch into the water and set aside.

2.  Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Saute the onions until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in garlic and saute for another minute.  Add in everything else except for the seasoning, starch, and cilantro.  Cook for about 10 minutes.

3.  Sprinkle the seasoning over the lentil mix and then pour the starch mix over everything.  Cook until the sauce begins to thicken.  Turn off the heat and stir in cilantro.

Lentil Taco Filled Empanada

It might seem like a lot but this meal actually comes together pretty easily.  You can even make your filling ahead of time and then just pull it out when you’re making the empanadas.  Whichever version you try I hope you enjoy these yummy empanadas!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the last few days of May!

What’s your favorite Mexican dish?

Tarka Dhal

I never expected to like Indian food.  Growing up, we had never tried any Indian dishes and it was something that just wasn’t on my radar.  Once I started to change how I ate, I branched out and tried a variety of different types of cooking and I started making a few simple Indian dishes.  Yum!  I love the way that most Indian dishes focus on the spices rather than the main bulk of the ingredients.  Most recipes start working with the flavor of the dish before they start adding in the main ingredients.  The way most people cook is to season their food later in the cooking process, almost as an afterthought.  One of my favorite Indian dishes is tarka dhal.  It’s simply cooked lentils that are garnished with spices.  My version is kind of like the comfort food version of this particular dish and will make you feel all good inside.  If you have never cooked/eaten Indian food before, have no fear!  This meal is simple and tasty.  The ingredient list may look long, but it’s mostly spices and things that you probably already have on hand.  Give this yummy tarka dhal a whirl and let me know what you think!

Tarka Dhal

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  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds (you can also use yellow)
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup red lentils (or whatever variety you have on hand)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 1/3 cup water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (you can find this at most grocery stores, if not use curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

1.  In a large pan, heat olive oil over high heat and add onions.  Saute for about 3 minutes and then add in the mustard seeds.  Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the seeds start to pop.

2.  Take off the lid and add in the garlic, fenugreek seeds, ginger, and salt.  Mix together and then add lentils, tomato paste and water.  Bring this to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes

3.  Stir in the tomatoes, lemon juice, and cilantro.  Simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the 1/2 cup coconut milk.  Remove lentils to a serving dish.

4.  In the same pan you just cooked the lentils in, heat a little more oil over high heat for a a minute or so.  Turn off the heat and stir in the garam masala and chili powder.  Pour this spice mixture over the lentils just before serving.

This is a really good meal to introduce someone to Indian food because these flavors aren’t too overpowering and it is a relatively simple dish.  Make a huge batch and freeze some for meals later or use for lunches for the week.  Enjoy!

Lentil Meatloaf

Lentil Meatloaf

I have gotten a few requests for this recipe and since it is one of my favorite weeknight meals, I thought I would share it here!  This recipe is a lot like the meatball recipe I have posted here, but just a little different.  I usually do the prep work for this the night before or on the morning of the day I am going to eat it.  That way I can just throw it in the oven when I get home from work and not worry about it!

Lentil Meatloaf

Lentil Meatloaf

 

  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicier)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce

1. In a food processor combine lentils, oats, carrots, and all herbs and spices.  Pulse a few times to combine everything, but don’t turn it into a paste, you still want some texture.  Set aside

2. In a medium skillet, heat up some olive oil and saute onions until soft about 7 min.  Add in garlic and saute a few more minutes.  Add in your lentil mixture and cook until it starts to brown up.  About 10 minutes.

3.  Pour in your vegetable broth and liquid aminos or soy sauce.  Cook for about 10 more minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Take the skillet of the heat and allow it to cool enough to handle it.  Pre-heat oven to 425.

4.  Grease a loaf pan with a little olive oil and once your lentil mixture is cool transfer it to the loaf pan.  Place aluminum foil over the pan and place in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Once it’s a little crispy on the edges, remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes.  Slice it up and enjoy!

 

This is also a great meal to add in extra vegetables or use up stuff that you have in your fridge.  I’ve added green peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and fresh herbs as well.  I also sometimes pour leftover soup, salsa, or tomato sauce on the top for extra flavor.  Get creative and find the version that you really love!

Lentil Meatballs

There are probably a ton of different variations of burgers/meatballs/meatloaf/any meat-type meal out there that use lentils.  I have tried my hand at a few of these, but my burgers never quite came out just right.  The taste/texture was always just slightly off.  That is NOT the case with these meatballs.  I was leery at first because of my previous meat/lentil failures, but I gave it a shot.  I was not let down this time and my husband said that they tasted both delicious and like actual meatballs.  Success!! This meal can be prepped in the morning and then all you have to do when you get home from work is just pop them in the oven.  Wonderful!

Lentil Meatballs

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  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 package of white mushrooms, sliced (shredded carrots could also work)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (you can also use old-fashioned oats, dry)
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce, or tamari
  • 2 eggs

1.  Place mushrooms, quinoa, lentils and all spices into a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is combined but not too mushy.

2. In a big skillet heat some olive oil and saute the onion until it is soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Then add in the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add in your lentil mix and cook until it starts to brown.  You want to have a little bit of a crust on your mixture so make sure you cook it long enough

3.  Add in the vegetable broth and soy sauce and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.  Take your skillet off the heat and place into a large bowl and let it cool.  Once it’s cool enough to handle (aka not boiling lava hot) add the 2 eggs, whisked, to the bowl.  Mix everything together and form into balls.  Place on a baking tray and bake the meatballs at 425 for about 30 minutes.

You can serve these just like any other meatballs, over pasta, or rice, or even on their own.  Top with some tomato sauce and eat up!  Again, like pretty much every meal I make, these are good leftovers, so cook up extras!