Spinach and Three Cheese Empanadas

25 Sep

spinach and three cheese empanadas

Everyone talks about how popular carne (meat) is over here in Argentina, but no one prepared me for how much the Argentines love their queso (cheese). While the variety isn’t quite the same as back home, there are still plenty of cheeses in the supermarket, and ham and cheese sandwiches are everywhere. And it seems like any empanada that doesn’t have meat in it has cheese instead. These spinach and three cheese empanadas are heavy on the cheese, but maybe the spinach in there can help you feel a little healthier about making these. But the taste should really be justification enough. You may have leftover filling – and that’s perfectly okay because it also makes a delicious dip. I’ve only been here a short while, but, as a longtime cheese lover, I think I’m going to like it here.

Spinach and Three Cheese Empanadas (adapted from Use Real Butter)
Yield: about 20 large or 30 small empanadas


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder*
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 ounce parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 recipe empanada dough
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

*Or substitute with your favorite ground chiles.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large sautee pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter, then add 3 cloves garlic, minced and 1 tsp ancho chile powder, and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 8 ounces spinach, roughly chopped, and sautee until wilted, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  4. Stir in 1 cup ricotta cheese, 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated, and 1/2 ounce parmesan cheese, grated until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add salt and pepper, to taste. At this point, the filling can be refrigerated or used immediately (I recommend refrigerating the filling for at least a little bit to make the empanadas easier to fill).
  6. Brush a little of 1 egg white, beaten around the edge of each disc of dough.
  7. Place some filling in the center of each disc of dough (be sure not to over-stuff), and then fold the disc shut, and press the edges together. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal (alternatively, you can fold the edges around with a rope pinch), then place on a baking sheet.
  8. Brush the tops of the empanadas with 1 egg yolk, beaten.
  9. Bake until golden-brown, about 20 – 40 minutes, depending on the size of the empanadas.

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