A scrumptious (and low-calorie) Empanada Light

By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

Empanadas Light Empanadas Light

Empanadas, pastelitos, tamales and many other types of savory pastries have been around my family for generations. Mi abuela used to make delicious soft pasteles with semi-sweet dough filled with a meat and rice mix. The only person who could replicate this deliciousness was my Nana (or nanny) who still makes them when we ask her to delight us with her culinary skills.

A few months ago my Nana came from Colombia to visit the family, and we began celebrating our infamous Empanada Nights--an event that usually turns into an Empanada Midnights! Typically, all of our close friends and family members are invited, and while Nana and the girls cook, everyone else is impatiently waiting for their delicious empanadas. Gradually, the night turns into a laughter session remembering our childhood stories and talking about life. After hours of talking and drinking wine, we finally get to eat the pastries, which is usually well after midnight.

This particular night we decided to bake the empanadas as opposed to frying them. We also removed the rice from the mixture, and left only ground beef, garbanzo beans, and chopped vegetables. Baked empanadas are common in Argentina, and they come with any filling you can imagine; from sweet corn to spicy ground beef, the possibilities are endless. We figured since we usually finish eating so late, we might as well cut the calories in half and make the Argentinean version.

Empanadas Light Empanadas Light My sister Lina arrived well prepared with a couple of packages of ready to bake pastry dough that she found at the Latin supermarket. This made our night so much easier because all we had to do was make the filling and roll it into the pre-made dough. If you want to get artistic then you can roll the edges of the empanada and make them into a work of art. Otherwise, you can just seal the edges by pressing a fork all the way around the pastry. They turned out scrumptious and much healthier than the original version, plus they're super easy to make. So, get your empanada fix today!

Try this recipe with another Latin appetizer favorite... My Nachos... tones. Tostones turned into Nachos!

Empanadas Light Empanadas Light

(Makes 40 empanadas)
40 pre-made empanada dough (like La Salteña)
31/2 pounds ground beef
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
2 cups garbanzo beans - (like Goya Garbanzos Guisados)
3 boiled eggs, chopped
½ cup manzanilla olives, sliced
Salt to taste

Empanadas light Empanadas light In a pot at medium heat, place the ground beef, onions, and tomato. Let the mix cook for about 10 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, olives and salt to taste. Finish with the chopped boiled eggs, and let all the juices blend together. Let the mix cool down for about 30 minutes. Then, start filling each empanada by adding a tablespoon of the mix in the middle of each dough circle. Close the edges by pressing with a fork the ends of the patty. Place the empanadas on a baking tray and bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 300 degrees.


- Garbanzo beans are best if they come already cooked with tomato sauce or commonly called Garbanzo Guisado. The Goya Garbanzo Guisado brand is a great option for this dish. However, if unable to find this type, any garbanzo bean will work for this dish.
- The empanada dough comes usually frozen and it is found in the Latin section of your supermarket freezer. La Salteña is a really good option, but any other type of Argentine empanada dough will work for this recipe.

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