Sweet Potato Empanadas

Filled with veggies and flavored with chipotle peppers!

These very non-traditional empanadas are made with yeasted dough! It is much different than the flaky-buttery counterpart of a typical empanada, which is equally delicious. The filling is a mix of sweet potato, bell pepper and onion which is seasoned with chipotles in adobo. They are perfect for serving a big group of people or freezing and baking later! The dough recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (cited below)

I read about the health and nutrition of sweet potatoes and they are amazing! Not only is the root good for you but the leaves have a ton of nutrition as well. In the book Sweet Potato: A Review of it’s Past, Present, and Future Role in Human Nutrition by Adelia C Bovell-Benjamin I learned about a new cultivar of sweet potato that has highly nutritious leaves, “newly developed sweet potato [cultivar] (Suioh) for utilization as vegetable greens...the total polyphenol content and radical-scavenging properties of the Suioh were reported to be much higher than that of spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce (8). In the paper “Chemical Constituents and Health Effects of Sweet Potato” by Sunan Wang, Shaoping Nie and Fan Zhu, the authors specify the healthy components of the orange sweet potato, “yellow- and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes contain a blend of phenolic acids (i.e., hydroxycinnamic acids) and have relatively high levels of carotenoids (i.e., β-carotene)” (92). These components can be helpful in all parts of the world, “the sweet potato has immense potential to help prevent and reduce food insecurity and mal-, under-, and overnutrition in developing and developed countries because of its nutritional composition and unique agronomic features” (Bovell-Benjamin 7). It is important to mention the high levels of vitamin A contained in sweet potatoes as well, “sweet potato is an excellent source of carotenoid because its major carotenoid is all trans-B-carotene, which exhibits highest provitamin A activity among the carotenoids” (Bovell-Benjamin 11). Understanding the sweet potato has made me like it even more! I hope this information encourages you to eat more sweet potatoes, and try these empanadas!

Makes 12-15 empanadas


2 tsp active dry yeast

½ tsp sugar

½ cup warm water

1 egg at room temp

¼ tsp salt

2 cups flour

4 Tbsp butter

1 large sweet potato

1 small onion

1 red bell pepper

¼ cup cilantro (optional)

2 Tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

Juice of 1 lime

2 tsp olive oil

1 beaten egg

Salt and pepper to taste


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit about 10 minutes until the mixture is bubbly. Add the egg, salt and ½ cup flour. Beat on low with a dough hook.

2. Add another ½ cup of flour and beat until combined. Beat in the butter and then continue with the flour until the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Knead on the counter for a few minutes, the dough should look shiny and smooth (can add bits of flour at this point if it’s too sticky)

3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise covered for about an hour or until doubled.

4. Remove dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 12-15 equal portions (depending on the size you want)

5. Roll into 4-5 inch circles. Place on a sheet pan and refrigerate. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahreinheit.

6. Chop the sweet potato, onion and bell pepper into ¼ inch cubes. Roughly chop cilantro. Chop the chiles if whole.

7. In a skillet on medium heat add olive oil. Once warm, add the vegetables and cook until tender. About 10-15 minutes. Add the chiles in adobo, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning.

8. Remove the dough circles from the refrigerator and begin filling. Add about 2.5 Tbsp of filling on half of a dough circle and fold the other half on top. Roll up both the edges towards the top of the empanada and make sure it is sealed.

9. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the tops of each with beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes.

Works Cited

Bovell-Benjamin AC. Sweet potato: a review of its past, present, and future role in human nutrition.Advances in food and nutrition research. 2007;52:1-59.

Madison, Deborah.Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. New York: Broadway Books; 2007.

Wang, Sunan, et al. “Chemical Constituents and Health Effects of Sweet Potato.” Food Research International, vol. 89, 2016, pp. 90–116.