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Spinach and Cheese Empanadas

Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
25 mins
Yields:
16-20 mini empanadas
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Chef notes

Empanadas can turn any ingredient into a craveable treat, even something as polarizing as spinach. These cheesy spinach empanadas are a perfect on-the-go snack or meal and can be enjoyed hot out of the oven or at room temp, making them perfect for parties, picnics and lunch boxes. The mix of feta and mozzarella works to add flavor and gooey goodness, but feel free to swap in other cheeses like cream cheese, Parmesan or goat cheese if you don't care for feta.

Technique tips: If serving different flavors of empanadas, find a way to mark them to make them easily distinguishable either with a fold of the pastry dough or by painting on a design with gel food coloring. Prepare the filling up to two days in advance (keep refrigerated until using).

Swap options: Use kale or mustard greens in pace of the spinach. Add in fresh herbs like dill or mint, or chile flakes for a bit of heat. Add chopped cooked bacon to the filling. Swap puff pastry for the pie crust for a flakier empanada.

Ingredients

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 (14-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
  • 1 large egg

Preparation

1.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the baby spinach and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Stir and cook about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted and any liquid is reduced. Remove from heat, transfer spinach filling to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

2.

Once the spinach is cool, stir in the feta and mozzarella cheeses and lemon zest until evenly distributed.

3.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4.

Sprinkle flour onto a cutting board or your work surface. Remove pie crust from pouch and unroll onto the floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 18 inches in diameter. Cut out rounds using a 4- to 5-inch round cookie cutter, re-rolling out scraps as needed. Repeat with second pie crust from package.

5.

Whisk together egg with 1 tablespoon water and a tiny pinch of kosher salt to make egg wash.

6.

Working with 1 dough round at a time, moisten the edges of the dough with the egg wash, then put about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach and cheese filling in the center. Fold the dough over to close and use a fork to crimp the edges.

7.

Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with rest of the dough and filling. Brush the tops of the empanadas with remaining egg wash.

8.

Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through. Serve warm or room temperature.