This beautiful appetizer recipe is part of a larger story I created on aphrodisiac tapas. Empanadas are savory bundles found in Spanish and many Latin cultures.
What are empanadas?
The name “Empanada” comes from the Spanish word empanar, roughly meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanadas are often deep fried but you can also find a slightly healthier choice of baked. That’s the kind I always make.
Although we now think of these pockets of goodness as a food of Latin America, the practice of making the pastry bundles began in Spain and Portugal. These self-contained pockets of dough were sometimes filled with beef or chicken or, like this recipe, vegetarian empanadas made with a flavorful blend of veggies. They were originally used as a sandwich-type meal by the working class. But today, they’re the food of parties, indulgence and, sometimes, a romantic evening.
My version of these little savory bundles combines three outstanding aphrodisiacs, fennel, asparagus and artichoke to create a flavorful vegetarian empanada filling. What could be better than this aphrodisiac trifecta wrapped in a golden pastry crust?
A shortcut for making empanadas fast
You can always make your own pastry dough if you prefer. That’s how a traditional veggie empanadas, or any empanadas, would be made. And nothing says “love” like homemade pastry. (Epicurious has a tried-and-true pastry dough recipe if you need one.)
However, most of us don’t always have the time for such luxuries. That’s why I use a store-bought puff pastry dough for my vegetarian empanadas recipe. Whichever way you go, you’re going to have a warming, plant-based treat packed with aphrodisiac ingredients.
Serving suggestions for date night or anytime
Fennel and asparagus are among my favorite aphrodisiacs. And serving them in these indulgent parcels can make them seem like little presents for your lover. (They’re also good food for hand-feeding.)
Although I created this vegetarian empanada recipe as the starter to a full, date night menu, you can easily make this vegetarian empanada recipe on its own for lunch or dinner–or even just to have on hand for heart and belly-warming snacks.
Fennel, Asparagus and Artichoke Bottom Empanadas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup white onion diced
- 1 shallot chopped fine
- 1 small fennel bulb diced
- 6 asparagus spears cut into _ inch pieces
- 6 artichoke bottoms canned in oil, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh tarragon chopped fine
- 1 sheet puffed pastry dough
- In a sauté pan, heat olive oil to a sizzle over a medium-high heat. Add onion, shallot, fennel, and asparagus. Cook until tender. Add artichoke bottoms and tarragon, tossing ingredients lightly to incorporate. Remove from heat and cool.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Roll out puffed pastry dough onto cutting board. Fill each section with one tablespoon of filling. Fold over and seal by pressing with fork tines.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot.
view more of Diane’s aphrodisiac tapas recipes:
Diane Brown is the author of The Seduction Cookbook: Culinary Creations For Lovers
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