Baked Empanadas with Spiced Cauliflower & Peas and Middle Eastern Spinach (Vegan & Gluten Free)

I’m not actually sure where this idea came from but it had been swimming around in my head for a little while so I decided it had to be created.

What we have here are some super delicious little baked ‘sort of’ pies/empanadas. When I posted a picture of them on Instagram I received lots of helpful comments trying to give them a name. But the jury is still out so in the interests of time I’m going to call them empanadas – delicious parcels of spiced veg in a crunchy case. So good!

For my first empanada filing I cooked a deliciously spiced spinach mix, reminiscent of middle eastern flavours with fragrant sumac and allspice. It’s incredibly simple but the texture works really well with the crunchy empanada case.

For my second filling I’ve gone for a classic Indian cauliflower and pea combination. Made without too much liquid so that it doesn’t ooze out of its case. I used some leftover roast cauliflower which was delicious but you could quickly stir fry some with the onions.

In terms of fillings you could be super creative! I think any leftover curry or chilli would be amazing, or roast veg with tahini sauce, or Bombay potatoes – mmm.

I'd love to know if you made this recipe.

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  2-4 servings
  15 minutes preparation time
  15 minutes cook time


For the spinach filing;

  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1tsp black onion seeds
  • 5 big handfuls organic spinach
  • 1/2 tsp sea Salt
  • Black Pepper

For the cauliflower filling;

  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp Black mustard seeds
  • 1 cup cooked cauliflower – I used left over roasted
  • 1 cup peas defrosted
  • Squeeze lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 1/2 tbp sea Salt
  • Pepper

For the cases;

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • Twist black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water



To make the spinach filling:

  1. Add oil and chopped onion to a large frying pan and cook on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add in the spices and stir for another few minutes.
  2. Add in the spinach, stir and wilt down.
  3. Season well.

To make the cauliflower filling:

  1. Add oil and chopped onion to a large frying pan and cook on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add in the spices and stir for another few minutes.
  2. Add in the cauliflower, peas, lemon juice and coriander. Stir to combine well.
  3. Season well

To make the case;

  1. In a bowl mix the flour, oil, baking powder, salt & pepper and then add the water (Add a little more water/flour if needed). Mix to form a dough and knead a little so that it comes together.
  2. On a floured chopping board roll out the dough. Drived into four and roll into balls.
  3. Roll the first ball out to a small circle. Then place a few tbsps of the spinach filling in the middle (enough for a good amount without it spilling out – you need to close it). Carefully fold the dough over the the filing and press the edges together. You can crimp if desired.
  4. Place on a greased baking tray. Repeat with the next three empanadas.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes on a medium heat until slightly crispy on the outside.
  6. Great served with pickles, tahini dressing and a big salad. Or just on their own.

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  1. clarke on September 30, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Hi Niki and or Andrew, what nice little pies your Empanadas are. May I suggest that in your Middle Eastern Spinach, you substitute the Allspice, as it is not used in the Middle East, for Camoum or Cumin which is used constantly, even on fried eggs. Since similar little pies are called ‘Samboosas’ in the Middle East (and Samosas in the Indian subcontinent) you might consider naming them ‘Samboos’ as a quirky but identifiably Middle Eastern savoury pastry. Best regards, Cee

    • Niki on October 19, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Hey Cee
      Absolutely love your suggestion! Genius!
      Love, Niki xx

  2. Cassie Autumn Tran on September 30, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Oh these look AMAZING! I’ve only had empanadas once or twice and they’re delicious 😀 LOVE this idea of adding spiced cauliflower peas and spinach!

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Recipe Tags: dinner empanada pie vegan


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