Sweet Potato and Spinach Empanadas

Hello friends :).  I wanted to post a quick recipe that you and your family will all love!!

This is a busy month, full of nighttime events and a packed sports schedule - so making dinner ahead of time is super helpful for keeping up healthy eating habits!  And as the weather gets colder, I am craving warm and comforting food.  You too? 

These are my family's favorite Empanadas.  They are so perfect for a make-ahead-and-heat-up dinner, and a great recipe to double for entertaining friends (and friends with kiddos). They are portable, package-able, freezable, and soooooooo enjoyable!! 

This recipe is a perfect meal if you're wanting to:

  • feel warm and comforted!
  • make sure you are enjoying all the veggies!
  • be able to pack a healthful and nutrient-packed meal for yourself or your family when you know you have a busy day/week ahead!

With only 5 ingredients - these empanadas are so easy to make.  The shredded sweet potatoes melt into the ground beef, the sauteed spinach blends right in, and the flaky puff-pastry crust is so decadent..... They are the perfect sweet-savory flavor combination. Serve alongside another steamed vegetable of your choice, or a salad with a bright vinaigrette!  

The recipe below is for a double batch of Empanadas, so you can freeze some for later or have plenty for packed lunches the next day!

Sweet Potato and Spinach Empanadas

  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 4 large or 6 small sweet potatoes
  • 2 bags of baby spinach, chopped
  • a handful of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 2 packages of frozen puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

If you want to eat them right away, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and take out of the package to thaw. In a large high-walled skillet, brown ground beef, season with salt and pepper.  When cooked through, drain in a colander, then transfer to a large pot and set aside.

While beef is browning, peel sweet potatoes. Using the same skillet you used to brown the beef, heat up 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil on medium-high heat.  Grate potatoes in a food processor and add to the pan.  Stir frequently until they begin to soften and caramelize just a bit (5 minutes), and season with salt and pepper. Chop spinach and add to the pan.  Stir into the sweet potatoes until spinach is wilted and incorporated.  Transfer potato and spinach mixture to the pot with the ground beef, and combine.

On a clean counter surface dusted with flour, spread our one sheet of puff pastry.  Sprinkle flour to each side of the puff pastry, and roll out with a rolling pin until thin.  Depending on the size of your puff pastry, cut into 9 or 6 rectangles - they should be about 6 inches tall and 4 inches wide; or for larger empanadas, 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide.  

On the bottom half of the puff pastry rectangle, place a heaping spoonful or two of the ground beef, sweet potato, spinach mixture.  Use 1/2 C of the mixture per empanada - about as much as would fit into the your cupped hand. Add a sprinkle of cheese on top, and fold the top side of the puff pastry over the filling.  Using a fork, fold up the edges of the puff pastry and then push down around the filling to seal.  Transfer sealed empanada to a foil lined baking sheet.

Either bake immediately for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and flaky, or cover and keep in your fridge until you are ready to bake them later on in the day. **My strategy is to bake them all at once in time for dinner, and save the left overs in the fridge to eat over the next day or so.

If you want to freeze the empanadas and bake them another day, wrap each empanada individually in saran wrap and foil and keep in freezer for no more than 2 months.

Enjoy :)