Empanadas usually require a pastry-type dough to assemble, which is a huge road block for me; first, the added calories and fat and second, pastry dough is too time consuming for a week night dinner. So I got to thinking about filo dough and how it might be the missing link to an easy empanada meal.
Using filo dough for empanadas turned out to be a home run idea. It was fast, tasty and the cooked flaky layers of the dough were a big hit with the boys. As they gobbled up this dinner, I was feeling pretty smug about the fact that they were filled with black beans and butternut squash. Yes, my theory continues to be proven in our home: when foods are wrapped up, and unseen, the boys eat them up.
You might suffer from filo intimidation, but conquer your fears and know that filo is much easier to work with than you might imagine.
Easy Cilantro Lime Empanadas
1 package frozen filo, thawed (they usually come with two separate rolls, you will only need one)
1 -12 oz package frozen pureed butternut squash
1 - 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arizona Dreaming seasoning (a new Penzeys spice mixture, or you can use taco seasoning)
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out the filo on a counter and cut it in half lengthwise and be sure to cover with a barely damp cloth when you are not working with it.
In a medium bowl, mix the squash, black beans, salt and seasoning. With a pastry blender or the back of a large fork, smash the mixture together, breaking up the beans a bit while you do so. Add the cream cheese, cilantro and lime, and mix well until everything is fully incorporated.
Take 2-3 sheets of the filo and place 2 tablespoons of the cilantro lime mixture at one end like this:
Fold in triangles, much like you would fold a flag, like this:
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat liner:
Brush with a bit of oil or spray with cooking spray. Repeat until the filling is gone.
Bake 15-18 minutes or until slightly browned.
Makes about 18.
Serve with sour cream, salsa and a touch more cilantro:
R liked these so much he was asking for more for a the next several days. I envision these as a good after-school snack as well...
Off to go buy more filo,