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Pasty, hand-pie, empanada, call it what you will. These handy half-moons are great with any filling inside- sweet or savory. My mom occassionally made empanadas when I was little, but the true queen of the empanada is my yaya, Antonia Pallares. Here she is with my cutest little sobrina, Calia. And no, that is not Yaya’s Coors Light in the background. She only drinks…Dos XX. 😉

To save me and you a lot of time, buy pre-made Empanada discs or rounds. You can find these frozen in ethnic food stores or Mexican food stores. If you’re in Portland, go to “La Grande” near 122nd and Division. They sell smaller rounds (about 5 inches wide) and larger rounds (7-8 inches wide). I bought two smalls and one large for later use. For my filling I chose a standard picadillo filling (or ground meat). I added beans for extra protein and filling and lots of vegetables and sazones.

Empanadas de Picadillo


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 17-20 empanada wrappers
  • half a red bell pepper
  • half large spanish onion
  • Sazon Goya, garlic salt, onion powder, cumin, pepper
  • 14 oz. canned black beans
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • egg wash


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with one of the racks on the second to top. Then set a large saute pan on medium-high heat and throw in the beef. Crush the beef in the pan and after a few minutes, add the spices you intend to use to season your meat.

Add the onions and red bell peppers. Saute for at least 10 minutes to let the beef cook longer.

Finally, open the can of beans and drain/rinse them. Pour them on the beef mix. Stir well to combine.

 Next, break apart each empanada disc and individually lay them out (but don’t pull them apart if they’re not well-thawed).

When the beef mixture is cool enough, add in the chopped green onions. If you put them in during the cooking process, they’ll turn brown and lose their tang.

Add about a large spoonful of the beef mix (not too much or you’ll have a hard time closing it later). Top it with cheese.

Fold the empanada in half and lay it on the board in a half circle. Using either a fork or your fingertips, seal the empanada well.

Brush with an egg wash and place on the greased up baking sheet. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (begin watching after 15-20 minutes). They’ll be golden brown on top, but don’t worry, they’re not burning on bottom.

When you remove them from the oven, they’re initially going to be REALLY hot outside and EXTREMELY hot inside. Let them sit a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Weight Watchers PointsPlus = 5 per empanada

Substitute out ground turkey/chicken for the beef and significantly reduce PointsPlus values. You can also sub out another type of cheese or omit it completely.