Humita Whole Wheat Empanaditas

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Humita Whole Wheat Empanaditas

Empanaditas are famous throughout Latin America. Some prefer them fried, others baked; some like to fill them with meat, while others choose vegetable fillings, from corn to spinach, My favorite: spicy meat empanadita. They remind me of my many amazing trips to the north of Argentina and Bolivia.

Regardless of their deliciousness, what we all love about empanaditas is their practicality and versatility. They are the perfect partner for casual social gatherings, a favorite for special event, or just to have at home for a snack when we’re feeling hungry.

In my own kitchen, I try to recreate my favorite Latin recipes with healthy twists.  It’s a way to enjoy classic dishes without compromising my waistline.  So, today, I bring you a healthy version of the beloved empanadita, using a whole wheat dough with a vegan filling, rather than a white flour dough with a meat filling. Humita is a traditional corn-based filling used since pre-Hispanic times, and it is popular in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Northern Argentina.  It is a simple alternative that helps me to enjoy these treats with family and friends…without the guilt!



6 oz organic whole wheat flour

6 oz flour cake

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon organic all-vegetable shortening (non-hydrogenated; can be replaced with vegetable oil)

1 cup water

Humita fillling

3 ears of yellow corn (cooked)

1 white onion, medium

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic

2 cups low-fat milk (1 or 2%)

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

Pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

1 egg for brushing the empanaditas


Procedure for the dough

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Add the flour and salt in a bowl
  3. Make a well in the center
  4. Stir in the vegetable oil or shortening and some water
  5. Knead the dough until the dough becomes uniform
  6. Add the rest water slowly
  7. Sprinkle flour on the work surface.
  8. Make walnut-size balls and let them rest
  9. Roll the dough with a rolling pin up to a height of 1/8 inches

10. Cut dough into discs, approximately 3 inches in diameter

Procedure for the filling

  1. Chop the onion into small square pieces
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add the chopped onion.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the pieces are tender and translucent.
  4. Add the cooked corn grains.
  5. Meanwhile, mix a crashed garlic clove, the bay leaf and milk in a saucepan.
  6. Bring it to boil and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Strain the milk it with a chinoise (or mesh strainer)
  8. In another saucepan, heat the butter over low heat until melted.
  9. Add the flour and stir for two minutes.
  10. Add the milk to the butter mixture (roux).  Bring it to boil and lower the heat.
  11. Cook for 15 minutes stirring continuously until the sauce takes consistency.
  12. Add the butter mixtures (also known as a bechamel sauce) to the corn mixture.
  13. Stir and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Assemble empanaditas

  1. Place a teaspoon of filling onto each dough disk.
  2. Bend the dough and seal around the edges using water
  3. Decorate the edges of the disk using a fork to depress the perimeter of each empanadita.
  4. Brush the top of each empanadita with egg.
  5. Bake at 350 F until they become lightly brown.


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