Empanadas are a delicious and popular dish in many Latin American countries. They can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and spices. Whether baked or fried, empanadas make for a satisfying meal or snack that can be eaten on the go. However, many people may wonder what to serve with empanadas to make a complete and balanced meal.
When it comes to choosing a side dish to serve with empanadas, there are many options to consider. Some people may opt for a classic Spanish rice dish, while others may prefer a refreshing salad or a side of guacamole. It’s important to choose a side dish that complements the flavors of the empanadas and adds nutritional value to the meal.
In this article, we will explore some of the best side dishes to serve with empanadas. From creamy coleslaw to Cuban black beans, we will provide a range of options to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply looking for a quick and easy meal, these side dishes will help you create a delicious and satisfying meal with empanadas as the star of the show.
- 1 Understanding Empanadas
- 2 Traditional Latin American Sides
- 3 Salads to Serve
- 4 Sauces and Dips
- 5 Fruit Pairings
- 6 Vegetable Sides
- 7 Spices and Seasonings
- 8 Additional Side Dishes
- 9 Cooking Methods
- 10 Drinks to Serve
- 11 Where to Buy
- 12 Cheeses to Serve
- 13 Toppings and Extras
Empanadas are a traditional Latin American pastry that is filled with a variety of ingredients, from meat and cheese to vegetables and seafood. The pastry is made from flour, water, and fat, such as lard or butter. It is then shaped into a half-moon or triangle and filled with the desired ingredients.
The filling of an empanada can vary greatly, depending on the region and personal preference. Meat is a popular filling, with chicken and pork being the most common choices. The meat is typically seasoned with spices, such as cumin and paprika, and cooked until tender. The filling may also include vegetables, such as onions, peppers, and tomatoes, which add flavor and texture.
The pastry of an empanada is an important component of the dish. It should be flaky and crispy on the outside, while still being soft and tender on the inside. The pastry can be made with different types of flour, such as wheat or cornmeal, and can be baked or fried.
When serving empanadas, it is important to consider the flavors and textures of the filling. For example, if the filling is spicy, it may be best to serve it with a cooling dip, such as sour cream or yogurt. If the filling is savory, a tangy salsa or chimichurri sauce may be a good pairing.
Overall, empanadas are a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether baked or fried, filled with meat or vegetables, they are sure to be a crowd pleaser at any gathering.
Traditional Latin American Sides
Empanadas are a popular Latin American dish that can be served as a snack or a main course. They are usually filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables and are baked or fried to perfection. While empanadas are delicious on their own, they are even better when served with traditional Latin American sides.
One classic side dish to serve with empanadas is black beans and rice. This hearty and filling dish is a staple in many Latin American countries and is a perfect complement to the savory flavors of the empanadas. The rice can be cooked with garlic, onion, and spices for added flavor, and the black beans can be seasoned with cilantro, lime juice, and cumin.
Another popular side dish is corn on the cob, which can be boiled or grilled and served with butter, salt, and lime juice. Mexican street corn salad, also known as elotes, is another delicious option. This salad features grilled corn kernels mixed with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime juice.
Pinto beans and charro beans are also great choices to serve with empanadas. Pinto beans can be cooked with bacon, onion, and garlic for added flavor, and charro beans can be prepared with bacon, chorizo, and jalapenos. Both dishes can be served with rice and are a perfect match for the empanadas.
Finally, Mexican sweet corn cakes, also known as tamales, are a sweet and savory side dish that can be served with empanadas. These cakes are made with masa, which is a type of corn flour, and are filled with sweet or savory fillings such as cheese, chicken, or pineapple.
Overall, there are many traditional Latin American sides that can be served with empanadas. From black beans and rice to corn on the cob, these sides are sure to satisfy any appetite and enhance the flavors of the empanadas.
Salads to Serve
Empanadas are a delicious and satisfying meal that can be enjoyed on their own or with a variety of side dishes. One of the best ways to complement the rich and savory flavors of empanadas is with a fresh and flavorful salad. Here are a few salad options that are perfect for serving alongside empanadas:
Tossed Green Salad
A classic tossed green salad is always a great choice when serving empanadas. The crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy cucumbers provide a refreshing contrast to the warm and savory empanadas. To make a simple tossed green salad, start with a bed of mixed greens, add sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and any other vegetables you like, and top with a light vinaigrette dressing.
For a salad that complements the flavors of empanadas, try a Mexican-style salad. This salad typically includes ingredients like black beans, corn, cilantro, and avocado, and is topped with a tangy lime dressing. The combination of sweet and savory flavors in the salad pairs perfectly with the rich and hearty empanadas.
For a salad with a bit of a peppery kick, try an arugula salad. The bold and slightly bitter flavor of arugula pairs well with the rich and savory flavors of empanadas. To make an arugula salad, start with a bed of arugula, add sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and any other vegetables you like, and top with a simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
No matter which salad you choose to serve with your empanadas, you can be sure that it will be a delicious and satisfying meal. Salads are a great way to add some fresh and healthy ingredients to your meal while still enjoying the rich and savory flavors of empanadas.
Sauces and Dips
Empanadas are delicious on their own, but they become even more irresistible when paired with the right sauces and dips. Here are some of the best options to try:
Salsa is a classic condiment that goes well with just about anything, but it’s the perfect partner for empanadas. The zesty, fresh flavors of salsa complement the richness of the pastry and filling perfectly. You can use homemade salsa or store-bought varieties, such as mild, medium, or hot. Some popular salsa flavors to try include chipotle, mango, and pineapple.
Cheese is a popular topping for empanadas, and it can also be used as a dip. Qdoba queso is a great option for those who love a creamy, cheesy flavor. You can also use shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Monterey Jack, as a topping for your empanadas.
Guacamole is a creamy, delicious dip that goes well with empanadas. It’s made with ripe avocados, lime juice, and other seasonings. You can make your own guacamole or buy it pre-made at the store. Some popular guacamole flavors to try include spicy, garlic, and lime.
Salsa verde is a tomato-based dip and sauce perfect for chips, enchiladas, and everything in between. Unlike regular salsa, salsa verde is made of tomatillos or Mexican husk tomatoes, giving its trademark green hue. It has a tangy, slightly spicy flavor that goes well with the savory filling of empanadas.
Pico de Gallo
Pico de gallo is a fresh, chunky salsa that’s made with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. It’s a great option for those who prefer a milder salsa flavor. Pico de gallo is also a great topping for empanadas.
Hot sauce is a must-have for those who love a bit of heat. You can use your favorite hot sauce as a dip or drizzle it over your empanadas for an extra kick of flavor. Some popular hot sauce brands include Tabasco, Cholula, and Sriracha.
Chimichurri sauce is a tangy, herb-based sauce that’s popular in Argentina and other South American countries. It’s made with parsley, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. Chimichurri sauce is a great option for those who prefer a more herbaceous flavor.
Avocado aioli is a creamy, flavorful dip that’s made with ripe avocados, garlic, and mayonnaise. It’s a great option for those who love avocado and want a creamy dip to pair with their empanadas.
Empanadas are a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of foods, including fruits. The sweetness and tanginess of fruits can complement the savory flavors of empanadas, making for a delicious and balanced meal. Here are some fruit pairings that can enhance your empanada experience:
Lime juice is a versatile ingredient that can be used to add a tangy flavor to many dishes, including empanadas. Squeezing fresh lime juice over your empanadas can add a refreshing and zesty flavor that pairs well with the richness of the filling. Lime juice can also be used to make a simple dressing for a fruit salad to serve alongside your empanadas.
Strawberry salsa is a fresh and fruity topping that can add a burst of flavor to your empanadas. Made with diced strawberries, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice, this salsa is a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. It can be served alongside your empanadas as a dip or spooned on top of the filling for an extra burst of flavor.
Fruits are a great side dish to serve with empanadas. Apples, for example, can be sliced and served alongside your empanadas as a refreshing and crunchy side dish. Other fruits like mango, pineapple, and papaya can add a tropical twist to your meal and complement the flavors of the filling.
In summary, adding fruits to your empanada meal can add a refreshing and sweet element to the savory flavors of the filling. Lime juice, strawberry salsa, and a variety of fruits are all great options to consider when planning your empanada meal.
Empanadas are a delicious and filling dish that can be served with a variety of vegetable sides. Not only do these sides add color and flavor to the meal, but they also provide important nutrients and fiber. Here are a few vegetable sides that pair well with empanadas:
Roasting vegetables is an easy and delicious way to prepare them as a side dish. Bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and onions are all great options to roast alongside empanadas. Simply chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them in the oven for 20-30 minutes. The result is a caramelized and flavorful side dish that complements the savory filling of the empanadas.
Grilling vegetables is another tasty option for a side dish. Red onions and bell peppers can be sliced and grilled alongside the empanadas for a smoky and charred flavor. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before grilling to enhance their natural flavors.
A fresh and crunchy vegetable salad is a refreshing contrast to the warm and savory empanadas. A mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions is a great option. For a more substantial salad, try a roasted sweet potato and kale salad with a tangy vinaigrette dressing. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes pairs well with the savory empanadas.
Overall, there are many vegetable sides that can be served with empanadas. Roasted and grilled vegetables add a smoky and caramelized flavor, while a fresh vegetable salad provides a refreshing contrast. Try experimenting with different vegetable sides to find the perfect pairing for your empanadas.
Spices and Seasonings
Empanadas are a versatile dish that can be filled with a variety of ingredients, but spices and seasonings are what really bring out the flavors. Here are some common spices and seasonings used in empanada recipes:
Cumin is a staple in many Latin American dishes, including empanadas. It has a warm, earthy flavor that pairs well with meat fillings. Adding cumin to the filling mixture can enhance the overall taste of the empanada.
Jalapenos are a type of chili pepper that is commonly used in Mexican cuisine. They add a bit of heat and flavor to the filling. If you like your empanadas spicy, consider adding diced jalapenos to the filling mixture.
Paprika is a spice made from dried and ground peppers. It has a sweet and slightly smoky flavor that can add depth to the filling. Use smoked paprika for a more intense smoky flavor.
Chili powder is a blend of spices that includes cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes. It adds a bit of heat and flavor to the filling. Use a mild or medium chili powder if you don’t want your empanadas to be too spicy.
Red Pepper Flakes
Red pepper flakes are made from dried and crushed red chili peppers. They add a bit of heat to the filling. Use them sparingly if you don’t want your empanadas to be too spicy.
Overall, spices and seasonings can make a big difference in the flavor of empanadas. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite.
Additional Side Dishes
In addition to the popular side dishes mentioned earlier, there are several other options to consider when serving empanadas. Here are a few more ideas to make your meal complete:
- Refried Beans: A classic Mexican side dish, refried beans are an excellent complement to savory empanadas. They are easy to make and can be seasoned with spices like cumin, chili powder, and garlic for added flavor.
- Coleslaw: Coleslaw is a refreshing side dish that pairs well with empanadas. Mexican coleslaw, also known as ensalada de repollo, is a tangy version made with lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeños. Creamy coleslaw is another option for those who prefer a milder flavor.
- Potato Salad: Creamy potato salad is a popular side dish that can be served with empanadas. Mexican potato salad, also known as ensalada de papa, is a variation that uses jalapeños and lime juice for a spicy kick.
- Fried Plantains: Sweet plantains, also known as maduros, are a delicious side dish that can be fried to perfection. They are a popular side dish in Latin American cuisine and pair well with savory empanadas.
- Enchiladas: Enchiladas are a classic Mexican dish that can be served as a side dish with empanadas. They are made with tortillas filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables and topped with a spicy sauce.
- Arroz con Pollo: Arroz con pollo, or chicken and rice, is a popular Latin American dish that can be served as a side dish with empanadas. It is made with rice, chicken, and spices like cumin and saffron for added flavor.
- Fried Rice: Fried rice is a versatile side dish that can be customized to complement the flavors of your empanadas. It can be made with vegetables, meat, or seafood and seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger for a savory flavor.
These additional side dishes are sure to impress your guests and make your empanada meal complete.
When it comes to cooking empanadas, there are several methods you can use to achieve a delicious and crispy crust. Here are some popular cooking methods:
Baking empanadas is a popular method that yields a crispy crust without the added fat from frying. Preheat the oven to 375°F and place the empanadas on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with butter or olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Frying empanadas results in a crispy and golden brown crust. Heat a few inches of oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the empanadas and fry for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
Using an Instant Pot to cook empanadas is a great option for those who want a quick and easy meal. First, add water to the Instant Pot and place the trivet inside. Next, place the empanadas on top of the trivet and cook on high pressure for 8-10 minutes. Once done, carefully release the pressure and remove the empanadas.
Boiling empanadas is a unique method that results in a softer crust. First, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the empanadas. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the empanadas float to the surface. Remove from the water and let them cool before serving.
A combination of baking and frying is another popular method that yields a crispy and golden brown crust. First, bake the empanadas in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are partially cooked. Then, fry them in hot oil for 1-2 minutes per side until they are crispy and golden brown.
No matter which cooking method you choose, using a mixture of flour and corn flour for the dough will result in a crispy and flavorful crust.
Drinks to Serve
Empanadas are a popular dish that originated in Latin America, and they are often enjoyed with a refreshing drink to balance out the flavors. Here are some drink options to consider when serving empanadas:
Soft drinks are a popular choice to serve with empanadas, especially for those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages. Some popular options include:
- Lemonade: A classic and refreshing drink that pairs well with savory foods like empanadas.
- Iced Tea: A sweet and tangy drink that can complement the flavors of empanadas.
- Soda: A carbonated drink that can provide a sweet and bubbly contrast to the savory flavors of empanadas.
For those who prefer alcoholic beverages, there are many options to choose from. Here are a few popular choices:
- Beer: A cold beer can be a great choice to wash down the flavors of empanadas. Light beers like lagers and pilsners are a good choice, but darker beers like stouts and porters can also be a good option.
- Wine: A glass of wine can be a sophisticated choice to serve with empanadas. Red wines like Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon are popular choices, but white wines like Sauvignon Blanc can also work well.
- Margaritas: A classic cocktail that can be a fun and festive choice to serve with empanadas. Margaritas can be made with a variety of flavors, including classic lime, strawberry, and mango.
No matter what drink you choose to serve with empanadas, be sure to have plenty of ice and glasses on hand to keep your guests refreshed and satisfied.
Where to Buy
If you don’t have the time or energy to make empanadas from scratch, don’t worry! You can easily find them pre-made at many grocery stores and specialty food shops. Here are some places to check out:
- Latin American grocery stores: These stores often carry a variety of pre-made empanadas, including traditional flavors like beef and chicken as well as vegetarian options like spinach and cheese. They may also sell frozen empanadas that you can heat up at home.
- Specialty food shops: If you have a gourmet food store or specialty food shop in your area, they may carry artisanal empanadas made with high-quality ingredients. These can be a bit more expensive than the pre-made options you’ll find at the grocery store, but they can be a real treat for a special occasion.
- Online retailers: If you can’t find empanadas at your local stores, don’t worry! You can order them online from a variety of retailers. Just be sure to read reviews and check the shipping costs before you make a purchase.
- Make your own: Of course, if you want the freshest, most delicious empanadas possible, you can always make your own! Many grocery stores carry pre-made empanada dough, which you can fill with your favorite ingredients and bake at home. This can be a fun and rewarding activity to do with friends or family.
No matter where you decide to buy your empanadas, be sure to check the ingredients list if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies. Some empanadas may contain common allergens like wheat or dairy, so it’s important to read labels carefully.
Cheeses to Serve
Empanadas are a delicious and versatile dish that can be filled with a variety of ingredients. One of the most important components of any empanada is the cheese. The right cheese can take an empanada from good to great. Here are some of the best cheeses to serve with empanadas.
Queso Blanco is a mild cheese that melts easily and is perfect for cheese and spinach or mushroom empanadas. This cheese has a smooth texture and a slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with a variety of fillings. Queso Blanco is a great option for those who want a cheese that won’t overpower the other flavors in the empanada.
Oaxaca cheese is a stringy, melty cheese that’s perfect for beef or chicken empanadas. This cheese has a mild flavor and a creamy texture that makes it a great choice for empanadas that have a lot of other flavors going on. Oaxaca cheese is also a good option for those who want a cheese that will add some richness to their empanadas.
Cotija cheese is a crumbly, salty cheese that’s perfect for adding a savory kick to vegetable or beef empanadas. This cheese has a strong flavor that can stand up to bold ingredients and spices. Cotija cheese is also a great option for those who want to add some texture to their empanadas.
Other great cheeses to serve with empanadas include Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Manchego. Each of these cheeses has a unique flavor and texture that can complement a variety of different fillings. When choosing a cheese to serve with your empanadas, it’s important to consider the other flavors in the dish and choose a cheese that will enhance them.
Toppings and Extras
Empanadas are delicious on their own, but adding toppings and extras can take them to the next level. Here are some ideas to try:
- Ground beef: If your empanadas are filled with ground beef, consider topping them with a dollop of sour cream or guacamole. The creaminess of the topping pairs well with the savory beef filling.
- Bacon: For a smoky, salty twist, top your empanadas with crispy bacon bits. You can also crumble bacon into the filling for an added layer of flavor.
- Tortilla chips: Crushed tortilla chips add a satisfying crunch to empanadas. Sprinkle them over the top of your empanadas or mix them into the filling.
- Honey Dijon vinegar dressing: For a sweet and tangy flavor, drizzle honey Dijon vinegar dressing over your empanadas. This works especially well if your empanadas are filled with chicken or vegetables.
- Aji: Aji is a South American hot sauce made with chili peppers, garlic, and vinegar. It adds a spicy kick to empanadas and pairs well with beef or pork fillings.
- Chipotle: Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce add a smoky, spicy flavor to empanadas. Mix the chopped peppers into the filling or serve them on the side.
- Tomato sauce: Classic tomato sauce is a great dipping sauce for empanadas. You can also mix it into the filling for added moisture and flavor.
- Canned black beans: Black beans are a staple in Latin American cuisine and pair well with empanadas. Serve them on the side or mix them into the filling for added protein and fiber.
Experiment with different toppings and extras to find your favorite combination. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try something new!