Moroccan Spiced Squash and Feta Empanadas with Pine Nuts and Raisins

8 Feb

Squash & Feta Empanadas

Empanadas are little Spanish or Portuguese pasties depending who you speak to. Around here they are most commonly filled with a tuna, tomato and onion mixture. Legend has it that they were bought to Medieval Spain by the Moorish invaders. This is my way of interpreting that and bringing back some of the Moorish flavours.

Moroccan Squash & Feta Empanadas

Here the pastry is traditionally made with Manteca which is a kind of pig fat or lard. Not really my cup of tea but tasty I’m sure.

I used the same spelt flour olive oil pastry that I used for this Fresh Fig & Goat’s Cheese Quiche and this Italian Courgette & Basil Crostata .  It’s so good and much healthier and easier than using butter or lard. The Washer Up has, as you may have read in a previous post, become intolerant to wheat quite recently so will not be taking sandwiches to work as often as he did.

Spelt Squash & Feta Empanadas

Thankfully he has no reaction to spelt flour so these empanadas are the perfect replacement. You can change the filling to whatever you have or whatever is in season to keep it interesting but this is a lovely mix of sweet, spicy Moroccan flavours with some nice texture from the toasted pine nuts and juicy moscatel raisins. I cook them the day before and they are just as good at room temperature as they are hot. This makes them ideal for packed lunches or picnics.

Makling Empanadas

Moroccan Spiced Squash & Feta Empanadas Recipe

For the pastry:

Makes about 8 empanadas depending on the size. Vegan, Wheat-free

  • 250 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • up to 120 ml cold water

Mix together the flour, salt and herbs in a large bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and use a fork to mash it into the flour so it is evenly distributed.

Slowly add the water bit by bit (you may not need it all) and use the fork to combine it with the flour. When it starts coming together use your hands to bring it together into a ball and knead gently for a few seconds only. If it is too dry add a bit of water, too wet add a bit of flour. Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge while you make the filling.

For the filling:

Makes a lot of filling. Vegetarian

  • 1 small-medium squash/pumpkin unpeeled, cut into chunky wedges
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander

Preheat the oven to 200C and put the squash wedges on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & pepper and sprinkle over the ground spices. Toss the wedges in the oil & spices and roast until the squash is very tender. This could take 25 -50 minutes depending on the size of you squash pieces.

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • the zest of half an orange and the juice
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp harissa paste or chilli flakes (optional)
  • a handful of Moscatel raisins or sultanas
  • a handful of pine nuts (toasted in a dry pan until browned)
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • about 100 g Greek feta
  • olive oil

Sweat the onion, celery and garlic in some olive oil over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until softened. add in the turmeric, orange zest, orange juice, raisins and pine nuts and cook the liquid out.

Scrape the squash flesh out of its skin (or peel off the skin) and mash it into the pan with the onions etc. Cook this together until there is very little moisture, add the chopped fresh coriander.

Leave to cool then stir through the crumbled feta until evenly combined. Taste and season with salt & pepper to taste.

To assemble:

Roll the pastry out with a floured rolling-pin on a floured surface, turning it quarters turns as you go to stop it sticking, to a thickness of about 2-3 mm. I used a saucer to cut out most circles but I also used cutters to make smaller ones too. You will need to reroll the off cuts a few times to get the most circles out of the pastry.

Preheat oven to 190C and line a baking tray. Take a good heaped tablespoon of the mixture and put it in the bottom half of one of the pastry circles leaving about a centimetre border clear. Fold the top half of the circle over the filling, and seal the edges together with your fingers. Then use a fork to seal it again. Place on the baking tray and repeat with the rest of the circles. You may have some filling leftover, I did.

Make a few little slits in the top of each then brush the tops all over with olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes depending on the size.

Spelt Squash Empanadas

Serve warm or at room temperature. The original Cornish pasties were apparently taken hot out of the oven and put into coat pockets to keep the hands warm on the chilly walk to work or school. Sounds like some people could probably do with that at the moment in some areas. It’s not that bad here and he has heating in the car….

Moroccan Squash & Feta Empanadas

Have a lovely weekend!


14 Responses to “Moroccan Spiced Squash and Feta Empanadas with Pine Nuts and Raisins”

  1. chocolategirl64 February 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    wow those look delicious!
    I have pinned it onto my pinterest board ~ definitely one I’ll try:
    thank you x

  2. Alison February 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    These look so good!!

  3. frugalfeeding February 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Those look great and sound so, so delicious 😀 – really hearty looking.

  4. musingmar February 8, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    These look delicious, and so handily portable too!

  5. kellie@foodtoglow February 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    These sound a beautiful balance of sweet and savoury, and the fact that they taste good the next day is a huge bonus (and keeps one from feeling obligated to eat the whole batch in a one-er!). Lovely interpretation of a classic Portuguese/Spanish/Mexican mainstay. And thanks for the absence of lard 😀

  6. Eha February 9, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    Yes, yes, yes! I simply cannot wait for the time to try these!! Love to use spelt flour and tho’ it is not pumpkin season here, it is available or one has to be patient a few weeks! What a superb recipe!

  7. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide February 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    We made empanadas for the first time recently and we went veggie with ours too. These look amazing!

  8. tony ward February 11, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    , que memorias guapa. These sound great and I’m sure eevn I can manage them. Do you think a sweet filling would work well too ? xx OMW these take me back a bit. I remember when I lived in Coin, grabbing a few of the empanadas filled with the tuna mix from the ‘deli’ counter in Supersol

    • tony ward February 11, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      dont know what happened there, my laptop has obviously got some kind of Mondayitus !!

  9. Harriet February 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    These looks absolutely delicious Natalie, as do all your recipes. I just thought I’d let you know that Mumsnet are having a webchat with Yotam Ottolenghi tomorrow night — you can ask him anything you want. This isn’t a plug I promise, I just thought that since you, like me, are clearly inspired by his recipes you might be interested.

  10. peasepudding February 19, 2013 at 4:41 am #

    I have been busy making Cornish pasties for the market but have also been thinking introducing a vegetarian filling. This looks good and I will have a look at other of your posts for more great ideas.


  1. Moroccan Stew Recipe – Vegetarian | WHOLE LIVING WEB MAGAZINE - February 20, 2013

    […] Moroccan Spiced Squash and Feta Empanadas with Pine Nuts and Raisins […]

  2. Caramelised Baby Leek Spelt Flour Tarte Tatin | Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - February 26, 2013

    […] I used my olive oil spelt flour pastry (recipe here) for this tarte but you could use shop bought puff or shortcrust pastry if you like. I used about half of the pastry for this 8 inch tarte. Use the rest to make a quiche or empanadas. […]

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