Vegetarian Empanadas

  • Vegetarian

  • Vegan

  • Spanish


  • cornflour for dusting work surface
  • vegetable oil for frying

Empanada dough

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 ml (3 tbsp vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Black bean filling

  • 1 medium head of confit garlic cloves (recipe follows)
  • 400g can black beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp Mamma Jo’s Carnitas mix
  • handful of thyme sprigs

Confit garlic

  • 1 medium head of garlic
  • 1 cup olive oil

Jo’s chimichurri sauce

  • 2 bunches of coriander, washed thoroughly, roots removed
  • 1 bunch flat parsley, washed thoroughly
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 long red chillies and 1 long green chilli, finely chopped
  • 500ml (2 cups) extra virgin olive oil (Cobram is my preferred choice)


Place the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the oil, vinegar and water. Mix together until combined. Knead together using a Thermomix if you have one or by hand for approximately 3 minutes or until the dough is smooth.

Wrap and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 4 portions, then using a pasta roller laminate and roll the dough portions until the dough is thin, but not transparent. I usually go to the second last setting.

Dust the work surface with cornflour then cut out 24 pastry rounds using a plain 10 cm cutter.

Place a small tablespoon of black bean filling (recipe follows) in the middle of each pastry round, fold over to make a half-circle shape. Seal edges together with the traditional way. Continue making the empanadas until all the pastry and filling is used.

Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or small electric fryer to 180°C either using a thermometer or inserting a wooden spoon handle into the hot oil. When the oil bubbles around the handle it is ready to use. Fry empanadas in batches until pastry is crisp and golden brown.

Drain on paper towel. Serve with ready-made hot pepper salsa Picante and chimichurri sauce (recipe follows).

Black bean filling

Place black beans, confit garlic cloves and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Mix
together well. Use as directed above.

Confit garlic

Peel the garlic cloves. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic cloves and cook over very low heat for about 1 hour until soft and cloves are confit. Do not brown. Keep in the refrigerator in a jar covered with oil for up to a month.

Jo’s chimichurri sauce

You can blitz all the ingredients in a food processor if you are in a hurry, but it will become an emulsified sauce as opposed to a mixed leaf sauce. Both will have flavour, but I prefer to hand chop the ingredients where possible to make a better textured result. This is my hand method.

Remove most of the stalks from the parsley and chop finely, along with the coriander. Place in a bowl. Add in the dried oregano, vinegar, lemon zest and juice and finally, the chillies. Mix in the oil until you have your preferred consistency.

Use as a dipping sauce and save the rest for marinades and sauces to go with meat, especially lamb, beef or chicken.

About Jo Kendray

Master Chef Australia Alumni, Mamma Jo's career has involved periods of working in the travel industry and living overseas including time in New York, Latin America and leading a group of school girls through space camp in the USA.

When MasterChef started 10 years ago, she was obsessed with taking her passion for cooking to the next level. After several attempts, Jo auditioned successfully and joined the Season 10 Top 24 MasterChefs.

After leaving MasterChef, Jo started her own mail-order business called Mamma Jo's, developing and producing a range of 100 per cent natural, fresh herb and spice flavour mixes and rubs.

With over 20 years in the travel industry, Jo now gets to pursue both her passion for food and travel. She is currently preparing some amazing foodie tours.

Brought to you by
Jo Kendray, MasterChef Australia Alumni, Mamma Jo’s