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Black Bean and Plantain Empanadas

This Delicious Empanada Recipe Will Be a Hit at Your Next Dinner Party

The following post was originally featured on Analida's Ethnic Spoon and written by Analida Braeger, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Latina.

Black bean plantain empanadas is what you might call an unusual combination of ingredients. It is a perfect vegan dish. I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian by the way, but find these empanadas absolutely irresistible. You can stuff an empanada with just about anything; creativity is your friend. I have adapted this recipe from the website Adventures in Vegan Cooking. BTW: if these look kind of dark and little overcooked in the photo, I LIKE them crunchy!

Black beans are very nutritious; they are high in protein and iron. Plantains are high in potassium. Nicaragua is the largest exporter of plantain. India and Brazil are the top producing countries for black beans. Black beans are native to the Americas and are a staple to the Latin American and Caribbean diet. You haven't lived until you've had a good Cuban black bean soup. Whenever I cook with black beans I use the canned version. Why? Well, because it significantly reduces the cooking time.

There is one caveat: when using organic black beans, check the sodium content in the nutritional information panel on the can. I learned the hard way that most organic black beans contain less sodium than non-organic black beans. For black bean plantain empanadas, the plantain should be ripe. How do you know it is ripe enough? It will be a deep yellow color with some black streaking throughout. The inside will be soft and it will be easy to peel. When ripe, plantain will also cook quicker than when green because the ripening process releases the sugars that break down the heavy starches. Ripe plantain will also have a sweeter taste than its green counterpart, which tends to be more starchy.

Black bean plantain empanadas contain some of your major food groups: protein, starch, and vegetables. I think these empanadas are a pretty nutritionally round food, at least in my book! I know what you might be thinking, you have to fry these guys, so how can that be healthy? But consider all the nutritional goodness inside them, plus, it's not like you are going to eat a dozen, right? I saw this recipe in a Wine & Spirits magazine years ago and of course never clipped it. I ran into it again recently on this website called Adventures in Vegan Cooking. I tried them and loved them. And this time I made sure I saved the recipe. I did adapt the recipe by taking out a couple of ingredients and adding others to make it my own. Remember, a recipe is just a suggestion!

I like these black bean and plantain empanadas with a nice side of mixed greens served with a homemade vinaigrette. It makes for a really healthy, not to mention quick, meal. You can make a big batch of these black bean plantain empanadas and freeze them. I normally have two or three kinds of empanadas in my freezer, ready for a quick dinner or weekend snack. The soft interior is a nice contrast to the crunchy exterior of the pastry. The flavor contrast between the spicy red pepper flakes and the sweetness of the plantain gives black bean plantain empanadas a complex and interesting flavor. Buen provecho!

Black Bean and Plantain Empanadas

From Analida's Ethnic Spoon

Black Bean and Plantain Empanadas


  1. 1 package Goya Discos (large) *
    1 ripe plantain diced
    1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 medium onion, diced
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 Roma tomato diced
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/4 cup vegetable broth
    2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1/4 teaspoon allspice
  1. *I like using the Goya discos to save time.


  1. On medium heat sauté plantains, onions, and garlic in olive oil until plantains are golden brown. Add salt, cumin, and chili powder. Stir well.
  2. Add black beans, tomatoes, and broth. Turn down heat to low and allow to cook for about 10 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and the mixture is soft.
  3. Add red pepper flakes, allspice, and cilantro and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. To assemble: On the center of each round, place a heaping soup spoon of filling. Fold over and seal edges tightly with the tines of a fork.
  5. At this point, you can freeze them, making sure you place parchment or wax paper between them if you are stacking them.
  6. If you are going to eat these right away, wait about 20 minutes before frying so the edges have time to seal.
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