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Lentil and mushroom empanadas are an easy grab and go snack

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Snacking has never been easier than with these lentil and mushroom empanadas

Kids (and adults) will be bowled over by these handheld, delightful packets of goodness. Don't worry, though: This version of the classic empanada doesn't take all day to make. This recipe relies on a few flavorful shortcuts to deliver.

Snacking has never been easier than with these lentil and mushroom empanadas

This is not one of those "go homemade or go home" recipes. Empanadas are easy to make, especially when you use prepared dough. Serve these as an after-school snack or as a light lunch along with a big salad. They'll satisfy a hungry appetite because of the hearty ingredients I used to fill them. Serve them with the creamy roasted red pepper sauce on the side for a real treat.

Snacking has never been easier than with these lentil and mushroom empanadas

Prepared lentils (I chose organic from a can), quick-cooking mushrooms and prepared pie dough make it easy to bake up these fun and portable snacks. You'll love the zesty sauce too. You might have a little left over, but that's OK — it's perfect for dipping sliced veggies or maybe even serving drizzled over scrambled eggs.

Lentil and mushroom empanadas with creamy roasted red pepper sauce recipe

Convenience is king, but you don't have to sacrifice flavor or quality of the snacks you serve. This recipe can be adjusted to include the veggies and seasonings you love most.

Yields 8

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

For the sauce

  • 4 ounces roasted red peppers in oil, drained
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

For the empanadas

  • 2 prepared pie crust rounds (1 package), thawed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can organic lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

For the sauce

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor, and blend until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the empanadas

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set them aside.
  2. To a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, and cook for about 3 minutes or until it begins to soften.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes or until they begin to release their juices. Add the lentils to the skillet along with the salt, black pepper, cumin and coriander. Stir, and cook for another few minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, and add the fresh cilantro.
  5. Roll the pie crusts out on a flat work surface. Cut each round into quarters. You should have 8 pieces of dough shaped like triangles.
  6. Spoon about 2 large tablespoons of the lentil-and-mushroom mixture into the center of the triangle, making sure to not get too close to the edges.
  7. Dip your fingers into a small bowl of water, and wet the edges of the dough. Fold it over the mixture to form a smaller triangle, and use your fingers to crimp the edges closed.
  8. Place the empanadas on the baking sheets. Lightly brush the egg white over the tops and edges of the empanadas. Use a sharp knife to cut 2 small slits in the tops, about 1/2 inch long.
  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the dough turns golden.
  10. Allow the empanadas to cool before serving with the creamy roasted red pepper sauce.

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