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Baked Sweet Potato Empanadas with Minced Tempeh

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 65 minutes
  • Yield: 12 empanadas 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Main Course
  • Cuisine: Dominican


A spin on a traditional food I grew up eating frequently. Dough wrapped around delicious savory filling and perfect for on the go eating. Cheap and easy to customize to your preference.



Empanada Dough

  • 2 cups white flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups mashed sweet potato
  • 1 tsp adobo seasoning

Minced Tempeh Filling

  • 1 block tempeh
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 4 white button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp canned green chilies (optional)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin


For Sweet Potato Mash

  1. To make sweet potato mash, take 1 large sweet potato, pierce the outside with a fork and place in the microwave. Hit the baked potato button and allow to cook in the microwave until fully softened. Cut sweet potato in half and set aside to make filling so potato can completely cool before handling.

For Minced Tempeh

  1. In a pan on medium heat, add onion and mushrooms then saute until mixture is softened and moisture cooks off.
  2. Crumble tempeh into the pan with your hands then add tomato paste, spices, soy sauce and maple syrup to the pan. Stir to combine and allow to become fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add water and green chilies, stir to combine then reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Allow to cook for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  4. Remove lid and cook off any excess moisture then remove from heat.
  5. Add apple cider vinegar, stir and add salt to taste.
  6. Set aside to cool while making the dough.

For Sweet Potato Dough

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a bowl, add flour, adobo seasoning and stir to combine.
  2. Add mashed sweet potato and with hands, start to kneed the potato into the flour to form a dough.
  3. If dough is dry, add a tablespoon at a time of water to the dough mixture. Dough should be soft, not sticky and easy to work with.
  4. Take dough, roll it out into a log then divide into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball and set aside.
  5. On a clean surface, add a little flour to it, then do the same to a rolling pin.
  6. Place a dough bowl on the floured surface and press down on the dough with the palm of your hand to form a circle.
  7. With the rolling pin, roll out dough into a flat circle.
  8. Take 2 tbsp of filling and place at the center of the flattened dough.
  9. With your hands, pull the edge of one side over the filling to meet the other end of the dough.
  10. With fingers, gently press down to seal the dough. If you want your empanadas to look pretty, you can cut off any excess dough to shapen to your preference.
  11. With a fork, press down around the edges of your empanada to properly seal.
  12. Place empanada on a lined baking sheet and continue to repeat process with remaining dough balls. Remember to flour surface and rolling pin as needed to prevent dough from sticking as it is manipulated.
  13. Once empanadas are all on the tray, place in oven for 20-25 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool enough to be handled safely before eating.


  • The size of these empanadas fit in the palm of your hand. If you want bigger empanadas, feel free to adjust size and amount of filling you wish to add.
  • Try to avoid over filling your empanadas as the folding process becomes challenging. I’d also recommend adding the filling towards the center of the dough.
  • Do not boil potatoes. They will be too moist for the flour and leave you with an ultra sticky dough. 
  • I have only tested this recipe with sweet potato. Remember that potatoes have different moisture levels, so it might not work with other varieties. 
  • For a gluten free version, you can swap the flour out for cassava flour. I have also had people tell me that they’ve made this using oat flour or a combo of oat flour and rice flour. I have not made these myself, but have heard from multiple users 
  • If you want a more flaky crust, you can also find a variation here that uses some coconut milk to the dough. 

Keywords: empanadas, pastelitos, sweet potato, tempeh