I love a little pie, one you can hold in your hands & munch on the go, or hand around at a party. These vegan Spiced Butternut Squash Empanadas are the perfect snacky and seasonal mini pie.
We're in peak pumpkin & squash season, as well as party season. So what better way to combine the two than a yummy, savoury snacky pie in the form of an Empanada.
The filling is simply Butternut squash, caramelised garlic & red peppers roasted with a delicious harissa for spice and flavour, ready to be stuffed into the pie crust. You could easily experiment with other flavours too. Mushroom, curried roots, lentils or vegan chilli would all be delicious ideas!
What really surprised me however was how super easy Empanada pasty is to veganise, and to use! I'm trying my hardest to work through my slight fear of pastry making and seem to be slowly gaining in confidence with it! Which means that if I can make this pastry, you can too!
To veganise the pastry, I used deoderised coconut oil, which eliminates that 'coconutty' flavour which can be a bit offputting. I get this on Amazon or in the health food store. You could of course try using vegan 'butter' or vegan shortening but I find that most contain palm oil, which we try and avoid. When I find another affordable substitute I'll let you know!
As this pastry is made with melted oil, you don't have to worry too much about it getting warm (the bane of any shortcrust!) but do try not to overhandle it, as it will get tough and not so deliciously flaky, which would be a shame.
But don't be scared to try making these little empanadas! If you do go a bit wrong when rolling them out, you can always patch them up with a bit of excess pastry. The rustic look is quite charming, so don't go for perfection!
Eat these Vegan Spiced Butternut Squash Empanadas with some salsa to dip into, or just munch on their own, warm from the oven! Even better if you are catering for a crowd, they can be made ahead & reheated when needed!
Vegan Spiced Butternut Squash Empanadas
- 300 g plain flour (2 cups)
- 100 g neutral coconut oil (½ cup) or vegan butter substitute
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150 ml plant milk (½ cup + a tablespoon more) oat or soy is best
- 1 tsp salt
For the Filling
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 2 romano peppers or one large red pepper
- 1 whole bulb of garlic
- 2-3 tsp harissa more if you like extra spicy
- 50 g pine nuts (⅓ cup) optional but yummy!
- 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
For the glaze (optional but prettier!)
- 2-3 tsp olive oil
- 2-3 Tbsp plant milk
For the filling
- Peel & chop the butternut squash into 2cm cubes
- Cut the pepper into roughly 2cm squares
- Break up the garlic bulb into individual cloves (but don't peel them!)
- Toss all the filling ingredients in a roasting dish and mix the oil & harissa through to coat. Add salt to taste.
- Roast in a moderate oven (Gas Mark 6/ 200c) for around half an hour- until the squash is cooked and slightly caramelised on the edges.
- Remove from the oven & let to cool a bit.
- Squish out the soft garlic from their papery shells, and mix it back in with the rest of the filling, squashing it all up together a bit, ready to fill the empanadas. Add the pine nuts here if using.
For the pastry
- Melt the coconut oil and mix together with the plant milk ( you want it to be slightly warm)
- Mix the baking powder & salt in with the flour.
- Slowly add the oil to the flour and mix together to form a soft ball of dough.
- Knead it together very very lightly (so it's just coming together) then put in the fridge to cool.
- NB: leave in the fridge for around half an hour. If you leave it for longer it will be hard to work with. If that happens, leave it for 10-15 mins until it warms up a bit!
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into circles with a large cookie cutter or glass. I used a cutter that's around 12cm diameter, which makes quite a small pastry. Make them larger if you like!
- In your hand pick up a pastry and add in around a Tablespoon of filling.
- Fold the pastry in half and pinch together the edges
- Lay out on a tray lined with baking paper & using a fork, seal the edges.
- Repeat with all the other pastry. Depending on the size of the pastry circle you will end up with between 12 -14 pastries. (Or you COULD make just a few huge ones! Up to you!)
- Brush with the oil & milk mixture for a pretty glossy finish
- Bake in a preaheated oven at 200c / Gas Mark 6 for around 20 mins until golden & crispy.
- Leave to cool a little before munching and sharing.