Caribbean Empanadas with Mango Salsa

Caribbean Empanadas |

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.


Caribbean Empanadas | ourfourforks.comWHY 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. //


Caribbean Empanadas | ourfourforks.comCaribbean Empanadas | ourfourforks.comCaribbean Empanadas | ourfourforks.comCaribbean Empanadas |

Caribbean Empanadas with Mango Salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Caribbean empanadas made with gluten-free dough and a vegan sweet potato, kale and black bean filling. Topped with fresh mango salsa and cashew sour cream. Filling adapted from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites.
Serves: 4-6
For the dough:
  • 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
For the filling:
  • 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
For the mango salsa:
  • 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).
For the filling:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pierce the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork, rub with olive oil and bake until soft, about 45 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet on medium heat, warm the olive oil.
  4. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  5. Stir in the kale, add the water, cover and steam on low heat until the kale is tender, about 4 minutes.
  6. Stir in the black beans, lime zest, lime juice, adobe chile (with its sauce), cook for 3 minutes and remove from heat.
  7. When the sweet potatoes are done and cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh.
  8. In a bowl, mash the sweet potato flesh and mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cilantro remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ground black pepper.
  9. Add the sweet potato mash to the onion, kale and bean mixture until well incorporated and set aside.
For the dough:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the chickpea flour and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add the melted oil (or butter) and ¼ cup of water and stir to combine.
  4. Begin to knead the dough, adding remaining 2 tablespoons (or more if necessary) until the dough feels slightly tacky, but not too sticky.
  5. Cut the dough into 6 even pieces, roll into balls and lightly dust your work area and rolling pin with flour.
  6. Roll one ball out evenly into a circle-like shape until the dough is ¼ inch think (the edges won't be perfect).
  7. Using a sharp pairing knife, cut a perfect circle out of the circle-like shape and make a pile for the scraps.
  8. Spoon about ¼ cup (or a little less) of filling onto the circle of dough, slightly off-center.
  9. 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.
For the mango salsa:
  1. 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.
Your sweet potatoes should yield about 1 cup when cooked and mashed.

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.


  1. says

    My name is Leah Rodrigues and I am a contributing editor on We featured your recipe for these empanadas on our website. The post included a photo (crediting Our Four Folks) with a link to your website for recipe instructions. If for any reason you would like me to delete the post, let me know as soon as possible.

    Thank you,


  2. says

    I just love chickpea flour! I’ve been making everything with it from bread to patties to “scrambled egg” – I was looking for some new ideas and this looks so incredibly delicious! Will spinach do as a sub for kale? Can’t wait to make these:D

    • says

      I would love to make bread with it! Great idea. I think spinach would be a great substitute. Since spinach is more delicate than kale, you may need to use a bit more than 3 cups. Let me know how it turns out!

  3. Kim says

    Hi, these look amazing! I was wondering if there’s any substitution you (or anyone else) could recommend for the chipotle pepper /adobo sauce, as I am intolerant to chilli? Many thanks!

    • says

      Hi Kim – I’ve never tried this recipe with any of these suggestions, but sources of nightshade-free heat are: wasabi, horseradish and black pepper. Perhaps you could try adding a bit of one of these to the mix for some heat in place of the peppers? Let me know how it goes!

  4. Kat says

    Does the oil in the dough make much of a difference? I want to make these (again!) but I’m out of coconut oil

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