Recipe Redux: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

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As a nutrition blogger, I’m always trying to spread my message that “healthy food should be tasty food”. I recently happened upon an awesome site called Recipe ReDux that echoes this sentiment. Recipe ReDux was created by Registered Dietitians to challenge food bloggers to reinvent recipes in a healthier way without sacrificing taste. Reproducing delicious food in a nutritious way is what I do as a nutrition blogger (see my veggie meatballs or apple s’mores), so I’m VERY excited to post my first Recipe ReDux.

recipe redux

As a member of Recipe ReDux, I am given a monthly challenge and required to post my result on the 21st of every month. This month’s challenge celebrates 42 months of Recipe ReDux by asking members to recreate a recipe on page 42 or 142 of a cookbook. I had this old Appetizers cookbook that featured sausage empanadas on page 142.
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This recipe called for fatty sausage and a store bought pie crust, which usually contains sugar, salt, and preservatives. I decided to make my own crust with simple ingredients and fill the empanada with healthy veggies and low-fat protein (beans).   I’ve never made empanadas before and it was definitely a time-consuming project, but the end product was worth all the effort!


Makes 8 empanadas


1.5 cup flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup Canola or vegetable oil

4 tablespoon water

1 large sweet potato, chopped into 2 inch cubes

juice of 1 lime

3 tablespoons Canola or vegetable oil

1 jalapeño, diced

1 white onion, chopped small

1 tomato, quartered

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon salt

flour for coating surface

1 egg white

1 teaspoon water

¼ cup Mexican cheese (cheddar or monterey jack)

cooking spray



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a food processor, combine flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, and baking powder. Pulse to mix dry ingredients. While food processor is on, add ¼ cup oil and water through opening. Flour mixture will become crumbly. Remove mixture from food processor and knead on floured surface. Once the dough reaches a disc shape (pictured below), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes- 1 hour.DSC_0134
  • Place sweet potato pieces in large bowl and coat with 1 tablespoon of canola oil and the juice of 1 lime. Stir until evenly coated. Place the sweet potato on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn sweet potatoes and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Sweet potatoes will be soft when ready.
  • In the meantime, combine ½ jalapeno, ½ onion, and 1 tomato in the food processor. Process until a liquid forms. Set aside
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, put 2 taDSC_0160blespoons of oil in the pan and heat for 2 minutes. Once pan and oil are hot, add ½ the chopped jalapeno and ½ the chopped onion to pan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Next, add black beans and chili powder and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the liquid from the food processor to the bean mixture and cook for 3-5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add cooked sweet potatoes to mixture. Season with salt and stir. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the dough.
  • Take dough out of fridge and cut it into 8 equal parts. Make egg wash by combining egg white and 1 teaspoon of water and stirring. On a floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Place sweet potato and bean mixture on ½ the dough and sprinkle cheese on top. Brush egg mixture along the edges and seal the dough in a pocket shape. Repeat for each empanada. DSC_0163
  • Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Place empanadas on baking sheet and coat each with the egg wash. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve with salsa, Greek yogurt, or avocado!


Nutrition notes:

  • One large sweet potato has 160 calories and 25% the daily serving of fiber. Fiber helps provide a feeling of fullness!
  • Sweet potatoes have a long shelf life and are grown in the winter.  They will be inexpensive this time of year, so stock up.
  • Have bad eyes? Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Each large sweet potato has over 600% the daily value of Vitamin A, which is great for eyesight!

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