Empanadas Verdes

Tiny pies filled with mashed plantains and cheese.


Filling Ingredients

  • 1 green plantain
  • 1/2 red onion (cut in 1/4-inch strips)
  • Cheese (any cheese that does well with heat like Queso Fresco or mozzarella)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt

Masa (dough) Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (plus more for sprinkling and dusting)
  • 1/4 cup or 1/2 stick butter/lard (the colder the better)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • Oil for frying



  • Boil the plantain.
  • While the plantain is boiling, sauté the onion in olive oil until caramelized.
  • Set onions aside.
  • When the plantain is fork-tender, drain the water and reserve the liquid.
  • Mash the plantain, adding the liquid as necessary (it should be the consistency of mashed potatoes).
  • Add olive oil and salt to taste and set aside.
  • Set cheese to the side along with mashed plantains and onions.

Masa (dough) 

  • Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Cut the butter/lard into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients.
  • With your hands, work the butter into the flour until the batter is uniformly like bread crumbs.
  • Add the cream and water.
  • Keep mixing and kneading until well mixed, adding flour or more ice water as needed.
  • It should make a nice dough ball.
  • Divide the dough in half and refrigerate one half while you work with the other half.
  • Don’t overwork the dough, or the butter will melt and change the consistency and texture.


  • Grab a small piece of dough and make a ball.
  • Flour your workspace and roll the ball out thin to the size of a softball.
  • Fill with a tablespoon or so of filling.
  • Add a bit of cheese and onions in the center.
  • Fold the dough over to make a half-circle and crimp the edges with a fork.
  • Repeat this process with all the remaining dough and filling.
  • Heat oil for frying in a large pot.
  • Fry empanadas until golden brown.

#snack #vegetarian

Recipe submitted by Hannah Kelley-Bell - Peace Corps Volunteer, Costa Rica (2010-2012)

Photo courtesy of Ryan Champiny - Peace Corps Volunteer, Mexico

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