Monday, August 16, 2010

Meatless Monday: Empanadas de Espinaca con Masa de Yuca: Spinach Empanadas with Yucca Crust

Fried Empanadas

Baked Empanadas

Well I came across this recipe, and I just had to try it. It is a Cuban recipe and it seemed crazy, but it worked out great. It is an empanada dough made with yucca root. Follow me so you can see how it's done.

1 lb yuca
3/4  cup all purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 tsp salt

If using fresh yucca, peel, and cut into chunks. I used frozen yucca which is easier to find here. Boil your yucca until tender. Strain and remove hard root center. While still warm pass through a food processor to form a paste. In a large bowl combine your yucca paste with the butter, salt and egg yolk. Using your hands slowly work in the 3/4 cup of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to cool. (I left it in overnight until I was ready to prepare my empanadas).

Liberally flour a working surface and separate a small ball of dough and place onto your surface. The dough may be sticky, so make sure you have flour to sprinkle on as necessary. Roll out your dough, removing any hard pieces that may be left behind. Use a bowl to form circles on your dough, trace around the bowl with a knife. Place your filling in the center and fold in half. Crimp the edges up with your fingers to seal. You can fry your empanadas in vegetable oil, turning to brown evenly or brush on an egg wash on the tops and bake in a 350 degree oven until golden. (I preferred the baked ones)

These may be filled with whatever you desire ... meat, chicken, cheese, etc. I made a simple spinach filling using chopped onions, garlic, canned spinach and feta cheese.

Sautee your onion and garlic in olive oil and add your drained spinach. Cook on low heat 'til the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If necessary strain your spinach filling to release as much liquid as possible.


  1. Interesting, what was the texture like? Like the texture of the empanada dough? I'm pretty sure it is delicious, but I rather make some "Yuca Rellena" or "Yuca Frita" if I'm gonna be frying :D but I'll try the oven version of this.

  2. The recipe called for frying, but I preferred the baked ones. The dough is similar to regular empanada dough but softer. I'm sure if no one knew it was yuca they wouldn't be able to tell.

  3. This sounds really good! I forgot to tell you that I ate some little cuban tacos in Miami that the shell was made of yuca. It was awesome!

  4. Can I substitute almond flour for the all purpose flour?

  5. Can I substitute almond flour for the all purpose flour?

  6. Dale, I've never done it, but my daughter uses almond flour as a substitute for regular flour all the time. You can try a small batch and see.

    1. Do you think I could leave out the egg?

  7. Dale, I think you need the egg to hold the yuca together with the flour.

  8. I only did this recipe the one time, so I can't say for sure.