Butternut Squash, Potato and Turkey Empanada

makingitsweet_turkeyempanada Melissa’s Produce provided a “mystery box” of produce to several local food bloggers and we were challenged to come up with a recipe starring their ingredients. Once I opened up the box I was quite excited: butternut squash, shallots, black-eyed peas, fava beans, pearl onions, baby Dutch potatoes, pine nuts, steamed baby potatoes and cranberries. I immediately knew that I was going to make empanadas.

I love empanadas. Most people don’t realize that there is a Filipino version of empanadas. Empanadas were introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards who settled on the islands. When someone asks me what Filipino food tastes like it’s hard to answer since the food is influenced by many different cultures that passed through the islands along trade routes. I would say that the short answer is that we like to juxtapose opposing flavors from salty and sweet to sour and savory. Such is the case for the empanadas.

When I was a kid, I knew that my dad was making empanadas when he cleared the kitchen counter and brought out the can of raisins. Dad would roll out a large sheet of dough that took up half the counter then my sister and me would cut out rounds using an empty can that once held Kraft Pasteurized Processed Cheddar Cheese. He taught us how to cut efficiently, making sure that each cut is as close as possible to the previous one. He would fill each round, then my sister and I would take turns folding and crimping the edges. It was a great assembly line that we had. It is also one of my fondest memories.

Traditionally, the empanada filling is made with onions, garlic, ground beef, carrots, potatoes, peas and raisins. Since Autumn is upon us, I switched it up a bit and used shallots, ground turkey, butternut squash, baby potatoes, fava beans and cranberries. I didn’t follow my dad’s method of rolling and cutting the dough. Instead I cut rounds off the log-shaped dough and rolled each piece individually so that there is no waste. makingitsweet_favabeans The key to making the filling is chopping the vegetables small. You’re trying to fit them into a small “hand-pie” and bulky ingredients won’t allow you to have all the flavors in one bite. With this The empanada is very satisfying, taking a cue from the Filipino way of cooking by juxtaposing the savory meat and potatoes with the sweet butternut squash then pleasantly surprising you with a bite of tartness from the cranberries. My kids loved them — and they were surprised that it was so good. So what else can you do with the items in the “mystery box” that Melissa’s Produce provided? Check out the links below to see what other food bloggers made.

Butternut Squash, Potato and Turkey Empanada

A savory/sweet and satisfying empanada made Filipino-style.
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Author Melissa Hiatt - Making it Sweet


Pastry Dough/Crust

  • 4.5 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup 2 sticks Butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp vinegar


  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large Shallots minced
  • 1/2 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup Butternut Squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes or smaller
  • 1 cup Baby Yellow Potatoes with skin on cut into 1/2 inch cubes or smaller
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Fava Beans Peeled and Steamed
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water


For the Pastry Dough

  1. Place flour, salt, sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse until you get pea-size chunks of butter.
  2. Mix together water, eggs and vinegar
  3. Add liquid mixture to the food processor and pulse until it comes together
  4. Turn mixture out onto a floured board and knead until it's no longer crumbly
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour
  6. Alternately, you can use a pastry cutter to mix the flour and butter and use your hands to bring the liquid mixture and flour together.
  7. While the dough is resting, make the filling.

For the filling

  1. Coat sauté pan with extra virgin olive oil and sauté shallots until translucent.
  2. Add ground turkey and sauté until brown.
  3. Add squash, potatoes and sauté for about 2 minutes
  4. Add tomato paste and water and mix until the tomato is incorporated
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Cook until squash and potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes
  7. Add fava beans and dried cranberries
  8. Stir to combine and allow to slightly cool.


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. On a floured surface roll dough into a log and cut 24 - 32 pieces (32 pieces will make about 4-inch wide empanadas).
  3. Flatten a dough piece into a 1/8th inch thick disc using a floured rolling pin.
  4. Lightly brush egg wash on the edge of 1/2 the disc.
  5. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of the disc.
  6. Fold dough over so that the egg wash seals the edges.
  7. Crimp edges with fork tines to seal.
  8. Place raw empanada on a greased or lined baking sheet.
  9. Continue with the rest of the dough.
  10. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Disclosure: The produce used in this recipe was provided by Melissa’s Produce. This post contains affiliate links where I will be compensated for any purchases (not that you would be inclined to order canned processed cheese online — but I thought you’d like to see a picture and perhaps would like to taste it). I do my best to be honest with my opinions in my posts. Otherwise, my Catholic guilt would get the best of me and I’d have to add it to my list when I go confession.

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