Meet your new food saviour. From street food stalls to Pinterest, empanadas - baked or fried turnovers made with pastry dough - are everywhere right now.
The Spanish and Latin American version of pasties, they’re also a very tasty vehicle for pretty much any leftovers.
While pasties are traditionally filled with raw ingredients before cooking, empanadas work well with cooked ingredients, from roast veggies to stewed fruit.
The best thing? You only need a spoonful to fill one of these pastry pockets, making them ideal for using up leftover dishes when there isn’t quite enough for another meal.
Find a guide to making empanada dough here.
You can even freeze discs of rolled-out dough - ready to fill with some of these lovely leftovers...
A classic empanada filling, use leftover Sunday roast meat in this recipe or just shred the chicken and fold into the pastry with a little cheese. Got leftover roasties and/or veg? They’ll only make them tastier.
Refried beans, leftover baked beans with cheese, the last spoonfuls of thick bean stew - they all make excellent empanada fillers. Add in leftover grains like rice, quinoa or bulgar wheat, if you have some.
All the cheese
Grate up the odds and ends of cheese sitting in your fridge. A mix of softer varieties, like goat’s cheese or mozzarella, with harder cheese like parmesan and cheddar is perfect. Or, if you have leftover caprese salad with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, try this idea from Laylita’s Recipes.
Made a huge batch of mac ‘n’ cheese? Use it in this double-carb creation.
Whether it’s a veggie version or con carne, leftover chilli is ideal for filling empanadas.
Scrambled eggs make a lovely filling, perhaps with crispy bacon, cooked sausages or mushrooms and a little grated cheese. Chop up any leftover boiled potatoes and add those in, too.
Unless you’re feeding an army, a dish of shepherd’s or cottage pie almost always has leftovers. Rather than just heating it up the next day, use the classic meat and mash mix in empanadas. A veggie version with lentils will work just as well.
A rich tomatoey seafood stew will be lovely repackaged in empanada dough. Just make sure it’s not too liquid-y. Flaky fish like salmon or tuna (tinned is fine) also works well - with herbs, spring onion and a pinch of paprika.
Spicy ground beef, chicken strips, pulled pork or a veggie taco filling with marinated mushrooms can be spooned into these doughy pockets of delight.
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