Easy Baked Vegetarian Empanadas with mushrooms, wild rice, cranberries, pecans, Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, tucked into pie crust are a savory appetizer, snack, or dinner. Delicious with Whipped Yogurt Feta Dip!
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This post was revised on 10/12/22 with new ingredients, tips, and techniques.
This easy recipe for savory Vegetarian Empanadas comes together with a delicious filling of mushrooms, wild rice, onions, cranberries, pecans, and Parmesan cheese folded into refrigerated pie crust from the grocery store.
Store-bought pie crust is a time-saving substitute for homemade empanada dough that gives these delicious empanadas a tender, flaky crust. This clearly isn't an authentic empanada recipe, but it sure is delicious!
These baked veggie empanadas are delicious served with Herbed Yogurt Feta Dip, chimichurri sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce.
Try These Easy Vegetarian Recipes Next
- Crockpot Cocktail Chickpea Meatballs
- Vegetarian Stuffed Italian Peppers
- Plant Based Black Bean Burger
- Avocado Chickpea Salad
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Hearty, savory hand pies with mushroom and wild rice veggie filling
Delicious appetizer for game day or the holidays
Easy to make with store bought pie crust
Baked or unbaked empanadas are freezer friendly (and way better than Hot Pockets!)
Customizable to your personal preference
Please refer to the recipe card for the full list and quantity of ingredients.
Cremini mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms, aka baby bella mushrooms, are meaty and hearty. You can also use white button mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms and cut them into fairly small pieces.
White onion. Chopped onions sauteed with the mushrooms creates a flavorful base for veggie empanada filling.
Chili powder. Chili powder adds warm, rich flavor and a touch of zing without heat.
Garlic. Use fresh minced garlic, if possible, or ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder.
Soy sauce. Soy sauce adds even more earthy umami flavor to these wild rice mushroom baked empanadas.
Green onions. Sliced green onions — the white and green parts — add mild onion flavor and a bright herbaceousness.
Cooked wild rice. This baked vegetarian empanadas recipe is a great way to use up leftover wild rice. If you can find canned wild rice in your area, it’s a handy shortcut. Just be sure to drain and rinse it well. You can substitute any kind of cooked rice or even black beans. For meat-lovers, swap in cooked chicken, turkey, sausage, or browned ground beef.
Dried cranberries. Dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness to the filling. Raisins are traditional in empanadas and would be a great substitute. Dried cherries or blueberries would also be delicious.
Chopped pecans. Pecans add nutty flavor and crunch and taste delicious with wild rice and cranberries.
Fresh parsley. Fresh herbs brighten up the earthy flavors of the mushroom wild rice filling. You can swap out with your favorite herbs like basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano, or tarragon.
Grated Parmesan cheese. A little bit of good quality Parmesan cheese adds lots of nutty flavor. Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if possible.
Pie dough rounds. Empanada dough isn’t the same as pie crust dough, it’s less flaky. But for a shortcut, store bought pie crust is a great substitute.
TIP: Roll out the pie dough so it’s a little thinner -- it won't puff up quite as much as regular pie dough does. You can also make your own empanada dough, if you prefer.
Egg. A simple egg wash brushed over the dough gives these baked empanadas a glossy golden brown finish.
How to Make Baked Vegetarian Empanadas
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Sautee for 6-7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes more.
Add the soy sauce and scrape up any browned bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the green onion, cranberries, wild rice, pecans, and parsley. Heat and stir for another minute.
Place the wild rice mushroom mixture into a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature. You can speed up the process by placing it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
If you fill the pie dough with the warm vegetarian empanada filling, it can cause the empanadas to be soggy and create a gummy layer in the pie dough.
How to Assemble and Bake the Empanadas
When you're ready to bake the empanadas, preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut dough into approximately 4-inch rounds. I use a 4 ¼” round cookie cutter, but use whatever you can find like a lid or a bowl.
Reroll out the dough with a rolling pin to get 12 rounds. If the dough gets too sticky, sprinkle some all purpose flour onto your work surface to make rolling out the dough a little easier.
Use your rolling pin to slightly flatten each cut-out (keeps it from puffing up). As an optional step, press parsley leaves into the dough while you do this (looks pretty!).
Remove the filling from the refrigerator and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling into each dough round.
I've found the easiest way is to hold one pie dough round face-side-out in one hand and use the other hand to spoon the filling into the dough.
Fold dough and press both sides together.
Set it down and crimp the edges with a fork. Place the filled empanadas on the lined baking sheet.
Make an egg wash by beating one egg with a tablespoon of water or milk in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash evenly over each empanada. Cut slits in the top of each empanada to vent steam.
Bake at 425 for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with Whipped Yogurt Feta Dip or your favorite dipping sauce.
- Spices: Add a kick of heat with red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, hot paprika, or hot sauce.
- Meat filling: Substitute the wild rice (or ½ of the mushrooms and ½ of the wild rice) with browned ground beef or turkey, leftover rotisserie chicken, or leftover turkey.
How to Store Cooked Empanadas
Store baked empanadas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
How to Reheat Empanadas in Oven
The best way to reheat leftover empanadas is in the oven. Place the empanadas on a sheet pan in a 425 degree f oven for 7-9 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165.
Empanadas are an easy make-ahead dish. Just prepare the filling a day ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The next day, prepare and fill the pie crusts, and bake as directed.
How to Freeze Empanadas
You an also freeze empanadas baked or unbaked and keep them on hand for last-minute guests or cravings. Pop the frozen vegetarian empanadas in the oven for a quick game day snack, holiday appetizer, or an easy dinner.
Assemble the empanadas up to brushing them with egg wash. Freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When they’re completely frozen, place them in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To cook frozen unbaked empanadas, brush them with the egg wash and bake them frozen (do not thaw) at 425 for 20-22 minutes.
Wrap baked and cooled empanadas in plastic wrap and store them in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to three months.
The best way to reheat frozen baked empanadas is in the oven. Warm them in a 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Bake to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Let the filling cool to room temperature before stuffing it into the pie crusts to keep the crust from becoming gummy or soggy.
- For the meat lovers, substitute the wild rice for browned ground beef, leftover rotisserie chicken, turkey, or ham.
- Use a rolling pin to slightly flatten the pie dough cut outs. This will keep them from puffing up too much and make them a bit bigger.
Empanadas can get soggy if the filling is too wet or if the filling is warm when stuffed into the dough. To keep empanadas from getting too soggy, use minimal cooking liquid or reduce it down so the filling isn't overly wet. Also, let the filling cool to room temperature -- you can even chill it in the refrigerator -- before assembling the empanadas.
Yes! You can make the filling a day or two ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. You can also freeze assembled empanadas unbaked or baked.
Store-bought pie dough is a great and convenient substitution for when making baked empanadas. Pie crust is flakier than traditional empanada dough, so I recommend rolling it out a little bit thinner.
More Easy Vegetarian Recipes
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Baked Vegetarian Empanadas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup chopped parsley plus 12-18 whole leaves for the crust, if desired
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water or milk
- 2 pie dough rounds
- Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Sautee for 6-7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes more.
- Add the soy sauce and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the green onion, cranberries, wild rice, pecans, and parsley. Heat and stir for another minute.
- Place the mixture in a bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Speed this up by placing it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. When cooled, stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Cut pie dough into approximately 4-inch rounds. I use a 4 ¼” round cookie cutter. Re-roll out the crust to get 12 rounds.
- Use your rolling pin to press parsley leaves into and slightly flatten each cut-out (keeps it from puffing up).
- Hold one pie dough cut-out face-down in one hand and use the other hand to spoon 2 tablespoons of filling into the dough. Fold dough and press both sides together. Set it down and crimp the edges with a fork. Place the filled empanadas on the lined baking sheet.
- Beat one egg with a tablespoon of water or milk. Brush the egg wash evenly over each empanada. Cut slits in the top of each empanada to vent steam.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve with Whipped Yogurt Feta Dip or your favorite dipping sauce.