These chickpea and kale stuffed empanadas are savory and delicious and the perfect food to munch on for a snack or a meal. I make them for my eight-year-old, but have a hard time not eating them all myself!
Jay has a field trip coming up this Monday and he hasn’t stopped talking about it for a month now. One of the big questions facing him is, Mom, what will you pack for lunch?
I have been asked that question about a hundred times now, I think, no, more than a hundred times, but I am not letting on that I have this delicious secret up my sleeve. I know he loves them, and will be thrilled to find them in his lunchbox: chickpea and kale stuffed empanadas.
There is something about stuffed pastries that appeals to every child — and the child in every one of us. Being a savory person myself (I can take sweets or leave them alone, but try keeping a bag of potato chips from me), I particularly love making savory hand pies for quick lunches, picnics, and brown bags.
What I also love is that when you have delicious, flaky pastry to cover them up, kids will eat just about any veggie (have you tried my pita packets? Jay will eat these by the dozen, and they’re stuffed with broccoli and tofu! And although he will make a huge fuss about eating mushrooms — he does have to eat them — he will gobble them down in these chickpea-mushroom turnovers without a murmur).
I take the easy way out with these chickpea and kale stuffed empanadas, so I can get them done usually in about 30-45 minutes, minus the baking time. I use storebought puff pastry, although if you want to try making a healthier version, you can try making my whole wheat puff pastry (sub half the all purpose flour with whole wheat and follow the directions). It is divine. But sometimes, time is not your friend and it is storebought to the rescue.
I use canned chickpeas, although, again, feel free to start yours from dry, if you’d rather. It really doesn’t make a difference.
I also use frozen kale. I tend to stock up on frozen greens because with my work schedule cooking can become an erratic exercise, and I find that when I buy too many fresh greens during busy times, they wilt away in the refrigerator before I can get around to them. Also, it’s far easier for me to find organic leafies in the frozen section than fresh, and with leafy greens organic really is the way to go.
The chickpeas and kale are seasoned quite simply: some turmeric (optional), some garlic powder, and some adobo seasoning out of a jar. And all of it together, with the natural deliciousness of kale and chickpeas, comes together to make a mindblowingly tasty filling for these flaky empanadas.
Chickpea and Kale Stuffed Empanadas
- 1 sheet puff pastry (I usually buy Pepperidge Farm which sells two sheets in a 17-oz box)
- 1/2 tsp any vegetable oil
- 5 cups canned or cooked chickpeas
- 2 cups frozen kale (use fresh if you wish)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp adobo seasoning
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Thaw the puff pastry sheet on the countertop for several hours before using.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- To make the filling, heat the oil in a large wok or saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and let them darken slightly. Add the turmeric and red pepper flakes and immediately add the chickpeas (make sure they are drained) and kale. If using frozen kale, thaw the kale for 3 minutes on high in the microwave, then add.
- Stir well to mix, and cook over high heat until the mixture is quite dry. Add the adobo seasoning and check if you need any salt. Add if needed. Mix in he lime juice. Turn off the heat.
- To make the empanada covers, open the puff pastry sheet and remove the parchment paper. Use a round cookie cutter or the lid of a jar to cut rounds in the puff pastry sheet. I used a cookie cutter that's about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Make sure you gather the remaining scraps of dough back up, form them into a ball, and roll them out to get more rounds. I got 16 in all.
- Now roll each of the rounds, using a little flour if necessary, to four-inch circles. Moisten the edges with water.
- Place about 2-3 tbsp of the chickpea-kale filling in the center of the circle and fold over the top, sealing the edges tight with your fingers. You can use a fork to crimp the edges, which will help seal them and make your empanadas prettier.
- Place the empanadas on a baking sheet, about an inch apart, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minute or until the tops are golden brown.
- Remove the empanadas from the oven, and immediately transfer to a wire rack with a spatula and let them cool down a little before you eat. Not transferring them to a wire rack immediately could make them soggy, so try not to skip this step.
Try these hand pies:
Forgive the grainy photos. Our camera’s on the blink, so these were taken with Desi’s iPhone 6.