How-To

Healthier Empanada Dough (made with Greek yogurt)

Made with just 4 staple ingredients, this empanda dough is simple to prepare and delicious stuffed with all sorts of fillings! Plus, there isn’t any butter or oil – thanks to protein-rich Greek yogurt. Impress your friends and family at the next picnic, BBQ, or potluck with this homemade treat!

I grew up in Colorado my whole life and never had an empanada until a year ago. That’s just wrong. And the worst part? It took my Connecticut-born husband to introduce me to them.

If you live in or have visited Denver, chances are you ran across a few empanada shops or even saw them for sale at coffee shops. For those of you not familiar, an empanada is a pastry (usually savory) made by folding dough over stuffing and then baking or frying.

Fillings for empanadas vary greatly from the more traditional South American fillings, like meat, beans, and cheese to more American fillings like BBQ pork or buffalo chicken. But we’ll talk more about fillings in a later post ?

Today, it’s all about the dough. Traditional empanada dough is made from flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, lard/shortening, and an egg wash. To make things a little healthier without losing the traditional flavor, I simply swapped in Greek yogurt for the lard/shortening and nixed the sugar.

Making empanada dough is like a combination of pizza dough and Christmas sugar cookies (strange, but keep with me). Like cookie dough, there isn’t any yeast to worry about. Simply combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) then cut in the Greek yogurt. Once crumbly, really start kneading the dough (like you would will pizza dough) until it forms a ball.

The dough at this point should hold together and have some moisture, but it shouldn’t be sticking to your hands. From this point, roll out the dough until it’s nice and thin, like you are making thin-crust pizza. Then using a cookie cutter or pint glass, cut out circles. Once there’s no more room for more circles in the dough, roll remaining dough back into a ball, roll out thin, then cut more circles (if you’ve made sugar cookies then you get the drill).

Once the circles are all made, add filling to the center of each, brush the edges with beaten egg, fold dough over filling, then seal by using a fork to crimp. Repeat with remaining circles, placing finished ones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once all your empanadas are assembled, brush the tops with egg wash (do not skip this step!) and bake until golden brown, about 22-25 minutes.

So here’s a toast to easy, homemade empanadas – your new go-to party food!

Healthier Empanada Dough (with Greek yogurt)

Print Recipe
Serves: 12-14 Cooking Time: 22-25 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (5-oz) unbleached all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out dough)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1 cup 2% fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg, beaten and placed in a small bowl

Instructions

1

In a medium-sized baking bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Using a fork (or your hands), mix in Greek yogurt until crumbly. From here, use your hands to knead the dough into a ball. You want the dough to still have moisture, but not stick to your hands.

2

Sprinkle extra flour on a clean surface and roll out dough until it’s very thin (as if you were making a thin-crust pizza). Using a glass, small bowl, or cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can. Roll remaining dough back out and form into more rounds (like you would when making Christmas cookies). I got 14 rounds using a tall pint glass.

3

Fill each circle with filling of choice and brush edges of dough with the egg wash. Fold one edge over to the other and crimp with a fork to seal.

4

Place assembled empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops of empanadas with remaining egg wash, then bake in a 375-degree oven for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

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