Plantain Empanadas (Plantain Pies)

Rich and wholesome, these tasty snacks from Mary Sue Milliken add a Mexican flourish to this marvellous vegetarian dish
Plantain Empanadas (Plantain Pies)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus 2.5 hrs chilling
  • Effort: medium



  • 3 plantains, ripe, unpeeled
  • 1 small Poblano chilli, (or similar mild chilli)
  • 200 g refried beans, good-quality, canned
  • 2 spring onions, white and some green parts, thinly sliced
  • 50 g Greek feta cheese, grated
  • 50 g cheddar cheese, or monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe bananas
  • 150 ml peanut oil
  • 150 ml crème fraîche, or sour cream for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Cut a lengthwise slit along each plantain and set on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the flesh is really soft - about 40 to 50 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. To roast the poblano chilli: Fresh chillies and peppers can be roasted over a gas flame, or on a tray under the grill. With chillies, don't forget to pierce them with a knife so that they don't burst while cooking. Keep turning them so that the skin is evenly charred, without burning and drying out the flesh. The peel the chilli and remove the seeds.

3. Meanwhile, make the stuffing: Finely dice the poblano chilli and mix with the beans, spring onions, cheese and seasoning. This mixture can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge, the day before you need it.

4. For the dough: Peel, trim and discard any tough ends from the cooked plantains, scoop out the flesh and tip into a food processor. Add the banana and salt and pulse until it becomes a smooth paste. Take care not to overwork the dough, or it will become too starchy. Wrap in plastic and chill about 2 hours.

5. To make the empanadas, lightly roll 2 tablespoons of the dough between your palms to form a ball. Line the bottom of a tortilla press with a small plastic bag and place the ball of dough in the centre. Place another small bag over the dough and press to form a 4cm circle. If you don't have a tortilla press, the dough can be flattened with the palm of your hand on a counter, with a sheet of plastic above and below to prevent sticking.

6. Place about 1 teaspoon of the bean stuffing on half of each dough circle and fold over to enclose, pressing the edges to seal. Place the stuffed empanadas on a platter and chill at least 30 minutes or as long as a day.

7. To cook the empanadas, heat the peanut oil in a skillet over a medium-high heat. Fry four-six empanadas at a time, for about 1 minute on each side, or until dark brown all over. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with crème fraîche or sour cream.


poblano chile - can use green peppers instead

anejo cheese - can use Romano or feta cheese instead

manchego cheese - can use Monterey Jack cheese instead

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