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See the recipe for these vegan black bean empanadas below. Photo by Mariela Marrero

Since I was a young girl, I’ve always had a passion for cooking. I grew up in a family where cooking and baking were always going on. My name is Mariela Marrero, and I’m the writer, photographer and recipe developer behind The Hungry Dragonfly. I’m also an educator, professional baker and animal rescuer.

I’m from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, mother of two young adults and wife to an Army veteran. I moved to Kentucky in 2012 when my husband joined the Army. I opened a home-based bakery and was very successful. Then, when my husband retired, we moved to Florida and I started my blogging journey, sharing smoothie recipes with the goal of inspiring my friends to eat healthier. That hobby became a passion that took me from smoothies to a wide variety of recipes.

After four years of living in Florida, we decided to buy a house here in New Hampshire. We fell in love with New England instantly, and we knew it was meant to be. We enjoy living in the country with our 13 rescued pets.

Mariela Marrero is the writer, photographer and recipe developer behind The Hungry Dragonfly.

The Hungry Dragonfly reflects my beliefs on eating and living a healthy lifestyle that includes delicious and easy-to-make vegan and vegetarian recipes. My creations are connected with my culture. On my blog and Instagram, I share Puerto Rican- and Latin-inspired healthy recipes, plus a few indulgent treats.

Sometimes people ask me how much money and time I spend on my recipes because they think cooking with vegan and vegetarian ingredients is expensive and complicated. I love to visit local farmers markets and support local business, but I also buy in bulk and go to different stores and supermarkets that offer organic products for less money. Also, planning meals ahead of time helps me cook more at home as opposed to dining out, saving us money. During the weekend, we love to go on road trips and visit local restaurants.

My goal is to show people that you don’t have to spend a lot of money and time to create something healthy and delicious. Life can be busy, so my recipes are simple to follow and require simple ingredients that are easy to find. You can find my recipes and tutorials on my blog thehungrydragonfly.com.

Vegan Black Bean Empanadas and Easy Guacamole

Empanadas are usually filled with ground beef or other different fillings. These empanadas are my vegan version. You can enjoy them as an appetizer or as the main course. They go well with my easy guacamole (recipe below).

Yield: 24 empanadas
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup green pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bag vegan beefy crumbles
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast or adobo
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 sweet plantain, chopped
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 small can whole kernel corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste, if desired
  • 1 cup vegan shredded cheese or regular for vegetarian
  • 1 package Goya dough turnover pastries *See Notes

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sauté garlic, green peppers and onions for 2 minutes.
  3. Add beefy crumbles and cook for about 4 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce, nutritional yeast and garlic powder. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Lower heat to medium-low, add sweet plantains and fold until they’re well incorporated.
  5. Add black beans, corn, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using), and cook for another 3 minutes.
  6. Fold in cheese, turn stove off and set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. On a lightly floured work surface, using a rolling pin, roll out dough discs until they’re a half-inch larger in diameter. Spoon about 1 tbsp. mixture into middle, fold in half to form a half moon; seal with a fork.
  9. You can deep-fry the empanadas, but I prefer to bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until they have a light golden color.
  10. Let cool for about 10 minutes, serve with salsa or guacamole.

Easy Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Hass avocados
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ of a lime, freshly squeezed

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients and stir together until well incorporated.

*Notes: You can find the empanada dough at your local supermarket in the Hispanic or international food aisle. I also use sofrito as a seasoning — you can find the recipe here.

Vegan Black Bean Empanadas – New Hampshire Magazine
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