Use your favourite soft cream cheese. I like using the Italian soft cheese in my empanadas. Baby spinach leaves or Silver beet (Swiss Chard) are excellent choices for the greens
For the Homemade Gluten-Free Pastry:
  • 460g/16oz Gluten Free Flour (either store-bought or my homemade blend)
  • 4 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 70g/2.5oz vegetable shortening, cubed and chilled
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt]
  • 300ml/10fl oz milk
  • 1 egg, separated (use the egg white to seal the pastry discs together, the egg yolk is used to baste the pastry prior to baking)

Step by Step Instructions

1. Blend the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder & salt with the cold shortening in a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs, or alternatively, rub the mixture with your fingertips until thoroughly rubbed in

2. Slowly add the milk until the dough feels soft and comes together nicely

3. Place the dough in a sealed container and place in the fridge for at least one hour

Makes 28 discs measuring 10 cm/4 inches in diameter

The dough can be made the night before, provided it is in a sealed container and stored in the fridge

Homemade Gluten-Free & vegetarian cream cheese (queso crema) & Spinach Empanadas:

  • 125g/4 ½ oz queso crema/cream cheese
  • 185g/6 ½ oz baby spinach or silver beet leaves
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 1 egg for the egg wash

Step by Step Instructions

1. Fry the onions for 10 minutes

2. Add the garlic and spinach, fry for 10 minutes further.

3. Add the seasoning, cook gently for 10-15 minutes, until the spinach appears collapsed and the onions look cooked down.

4. Add one tablespoon of Gluten-Free flour to the spinach mixture and allow to simmer down to absorb the excess moisture. This may take a further 5 minutes

5. Allow to cool down before filling the pastry discs

Makes 14 empanadas measuring 10 cm/4 inches in diameter

These empanadas are delicious as a packed lunch, school snack or picnic treat. When I have guests over, I like making these bite-size as an appetizer.

If you fancy a bit of spice, serve them with a tangy chilli sauce.

Assembling the Empanadas:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/355 F
2. Roll out the pastry to 1 cm/0.4 inches thick
3. Using the rim of an upside-down bowl (10 cm/4 inches in diameter), cut a circle with a knife to form the pastry discs

4. On one side of the disc, add a heaped tablespoon of the cheese & spinach filling

5. Brush the rim with the egg white

6. Close the discs and either pinch the edges with a slight twist or use a fork to press down the pastry together

7. Brush the empanadas with the egg yolk wash

8. Bake for 20 minutes

Makes 14 discs measuring 10 cm/4 inches in diameter

I hope you enjoy making this recipe and more importantly, find empanadas delicious. Please let me know how your empanadas turned out. I would love to hear from you plus if you have any recipe questions that I can help you with.