One of the things I miss most about living in Portland is the overwhelming presence of bulk bins (as also discussed here). In Portland it is assumed that everyone – not just health food shoppers – would enjoy bulk bin benefits: saving money and the ability to buy the amount of something you need when you need it. Needless to say, I usually went a little overboard. In cleaning out my pantry recently, I can across one of the more unusual bulk bin purchases: chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour or gram flour).
These empanadas are made with a simple chickpea flour dough, but feel free to substitute any gluten-free flour you prefer to bake with. If you do try the chickpea flour, fair warning: the raw dough tastes weird. Chickpea flour has a bit of a strange flavor, but I assure you that this disappears after baking.
The vegan stuffing is full of caribbean flavor: lime, chipotle, cinnamon, nutmeg and cilantro. The mango salsa adds a delicious sweetness and spicy crunch to balance out the creaminess of the sweet potato filling. Add a dollop of cashew sour cream (or the real deal) and you’re good to go.
WHY THEY’RE HEALTHY// Chickpea flour isn’t just gluten-free; it’s also loaded with protein and fiber. Combined with the black beans, the chickpea flour makes this a relatively high protein vegan meal. Sweet potatoes – one of our favorite foods – have many health benefits, which can be read about in our Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato post. Kale is extremely nutrient dense; it helps combat inflammation and contains vitamin K, which can help prevent against cancer. Mango is high in vitamin A, which promotes skin and immune system health, and vitamin C. //
- 2 cups chickpea flour (or flour of your choice)
- ¼ cup coconut oil or grass-fed butter, melted
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (easy semi-homemade coconut milk)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 sweet potatoes (small to medium: see notes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ cups minced onion
- 3 cups rinsed, stemmed and finely chopped kale
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups cooked black beans (or 1 15 oz can, drained)
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon minced chipotle pepper with adobo sauce (from a can)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon green chile, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Sour cream or cashew sour cream, for serving (see notes).
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pierce the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork, rub with olive oil and bake until soft, about 45 minutes.
- In a large skillet on medium heat, warm the olive oil.
- Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the kale, add the water, cover and steam on low heat until the kale is tender, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the black beans, lime zest, lime juice, adobe chile (with its sauce), cook for 3 minutes and remove from heat.
- When the sweet potatoes are done and cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh.
- In a bowl, mash the sweet potato flesh and mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cilantro remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ground black pepper.
- Add the sweet potato mash to the onion, kale and bean mixture until well incorporated and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the chickpea flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the melted oil (or butter) and ¼ cup of water and stir to combine.
- Begin to knead the dough, adding remaining 2 tablespoons (or more if necessary) until the dough feels slightly tacky, but not too sticky.
- Cut the dough into 6 even pieces, roll into balls and lightly dust your work area and rolling pin with flour.
- Roll one ball out evenly into a circle-like shape until the dough is ¼ inch think (the edges won't be perfect).
- Using a sharp pairing knife, cut a perfect circle out of the circle-like shape and make a pile for the scraps.
- Spoon about ¼ cup (or a little less) of filling onto the circle of dough, slightly off-center.
- Fold the dough over the filling so that the edges touch. Using a fork, seal the dough over the filling by pressing down along the edge of the semi-circle and place on parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough and filling, continuing to add to the scrap pile. The scraps should be enough dough to make one more empanada. Brush the empanadas with a little olive oil and bake 25-30 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve! If possible, make the day before and store in the fridge to allow the flavors to mingle.
This makes more filling you'll need. I used the leftover filling as a side dish for other meals, but feel free to cut the recipe in half or double the dough.
I served this with this vegan cashew sour cream.