Mushroom and Ham Empanadas: #10 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Empanadas are a fantastic portable meal originating in Latin America. Bread in Spanish is pan, so empanada literally means wrapping bread around a filling of meat, cheese or vegetables. This variation is made with mushrooms, rosemary ham, broccolini and mozzarella. Feel free to experiment with your own fillings!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter – $1.25
2 cups water – FREE
3-5 cups flour – $0.48 – $0.80
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, finely chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped – $0.15
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, finely chopped – $2.29
1/2 pound organic baby broccoli, finely chopped – $2.79
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.10
1/2 tsp cumin – $0.14
1/2 tsp paprika – $0.14
1/2 tsp chili powder – $0.14
1/4 ball mozzarella cheese, chopped into tiny chunks – $0.62
1/4 pack rosemary ham slices, chopped into tiny chunks – $0.82
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Make the dough. Mix 2 cups boiling water with the butter in a large bowl. Stir to melt the butter, then cool to room temperature.

Add in flour gradually and stir with a wooden spoon. When the dough starts to come together,  tip it out onto a floured board and knead for 1-2 minutes until smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour (1/2 cup at a time) if the dough is sticky. Wrap dough in cling wrap and and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to a day.

2. Make the filling. Put the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until tender and translucent. Then add the garlic, mushrooms, baby broccoli, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 more minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the mixture is not liquidy. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside or refrigerate to cool. This can also be made up to a day ahead.

3. When you’re ready to assemble the empanadas, take the chilled dough out of the fridge and pinch off balls about 2″ in diameter. Roll each piece into a 4 1/2″ circle and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Put about 2 tbsp of filling in the center of each empanada, adding some pieces of ham and mozzarella as well. Moisten the outer edge of each one with water, then wrap the dough around the filling to form the empanada, pressing the edges together. 

For decoration, you can fold the outer edge back a little and make gentle designs with a fork. These can also be stored in the fridge a few hours ahead of baking.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F. Make sure the empanadas are about 1″ apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with butter and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm to the table.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

One thought on “Mushroom and Ham Empanadas: #10 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: