- 4 green plantains
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- First, make the empanada filling. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beef is no longer pink. Transfer the ground beef to a bowl and drain excess grease.
- In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, onion, cloves, and olives. Cook for 10 minutes until veggies have softened. Add the tomato paste and apple cider vinegar, stirring to incorporate. Finally, add the beef, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Now make the empanada dough. Cut the ends of the plantains and slice the peel vertically down the length of the plantain (this makes it easier to peel them later). Slice the plantain horizontally into 4-5 large chunks. Set a large pot of water over high heat and add plantains. Bring to a boil, cooking for about 15 minutes until the flesh of the plantains can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Drain the plantains. As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, remove the peels (they should come off easily now) and drop into a blender with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Blend on medium speed until the plantains come together in a ball of dough.
- The dough will be very sticky. The best way to roll it out is between two sheets of plastic from a zip-top bag (like Ziploc)—it tends to stick to everything else (see notes for additional help). Divide the dough into 4-5 portions. One at a time, place a portion of dough between two sheets of a zip-top bag and use a rolling pin to flatten it out to about 1/2 – 1 inch thickness. Use a wide-mouth jar to cut out circles from the dough. Repeat until you’ve used all the dough. Alternatively, if you don’t mind that imperfect circles, you can roll out circles of dough one at a time. One large spoonful of dough is enough dough for one empanada. Lay the dough circles on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Add a heaping spoonful of empanada filling to one side of the dough circles. Fold the dough over and carefully close the crease. You can use your fingers or a fork for this. Repeat these steps until you’re out of dough.
- Lightly brush each empanada with the beaten egg. Put in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
If your plantain dough is still too sticky and giving you trouble, you can sprinkle a light dusting of arrowroot powder on the plastic or on parchment paper and use that as a surface to roll out the dough. In my experience, the dough doesn’t crisp up as nicely when you use arrowroot to roll it out, though.
Keywords: Flourless Plantain Empanadas