Banana-Black Bean Empañadas

Diane Brown Savahge of Los Angeles, California, writes: “I’m a part-time restaurant manager and food writer, and occasionally I teach cooking classes. One piece of advice I always share with my students is to keep the ingredients list short — you don’t need to empty out your refrigerator to make a great meal. You just need a few quality ingredients with bold flavors.”

These Latin American turnovers work as appetizers or as a vegetarian main course when served several to a person.


Makes 12

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 firm medium-size banana, diced

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed

1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese

1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

  1. Step 1

    Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over high heat. Add banana and sauté until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer banana to paper towels to drain. Add onion to skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add beans, cilantro, cumin, and cayenne; cook until mixture is hot, about 3 minutes. Using back of fork, mash bean filling to coarse paste; season with salt and cool.

    Step 2

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out each puff pastry sheet on floured surfaceto 14-inch square. Cut each into 9 squares. Place 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of 12 squares (reserve remaining squares for another use). Sprinkle each mound of filling with cheese, then top with bananas, dividing equally. Brush edges of squares with glaze. Fold 1 corner over filling to opposite corner, forming triangle. Using fork, seal crust edges. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet; brush with glaze. Bake empanadas until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.

How would you rate Banana-Black Bean Empañadas?

  • Made these as part of a nibbles menu for New Year’s Eve, with some adjustment, and my husband and I both enjoyed them. Rather than the puff pastry, I used the empanada dough recipe from elsewhere on this site. Minced a large clove of garlic and sautéed it with the onion, doubled the cilantro, and added a splash of banana vinegar ( at the end. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to use a ripe plantain rather than a banana.

  • I have been looking vegetarian empanada options, and this one is a keeper. I cooked the filling exactly as the recipe described and it turned out great. The banana flavor is subtle but I think is what makes this dish special. Meat eaters loved it too. I used the epicurious recipe for empanada dough. Highly recommend.

  • We love bananas (and platanos) and black beans and empanadas, but did not love these. My kids liked them (go figure!), but my husband and I did not. The banana was odd and puff pastry just doesn’t work for an empanada.

  • I made this for a wine and appetizer fundraiser. We made 108!! they we a huge hit!! A favourite of the 5 countries that we did. We had our very own wine sommelier pair this with an Agentinian Malbec called Kaiken. Argentina makes 75% of the worlds Malbec. It is a great pairing. I read the comments here and decided to take the time to carmelize the bananas. it was the right thing to do. Guests commented on the balance it created. I also reduced the onions to 1/2 cup and added 2 cloves of garlic. The mixture seemed a bit dry in my test run so I added 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice and finally I doubled the cilantro. I used the previous suggestion of sour cream and fresh lime juice and topped with lime shavings. Amazing!!

  • I thought these were delicious. Added two cloves garlic. The seasonings were perfect, but we don’t like overly hot. Easy, fun food

  • Happened to have a brand-new nonstick pan so I fried a diced green banana in that with just a wipe of oil. The final mix seemed to need more sweetness so I added a second banana – wouldn’t have objected to one more, but I think that was cause it wasn’t ripe. Guests loved them & they were even better reheated in the toaster oven a couple of days later. Thanks for the lime/sour cream dip suggestion, that made them perfect.

  • Very easy and filling. Instead of the mini phyllo creations, I used 1 whole sheet and made a turn over. I doubled the cilantro and used a skim cheese (Jarlsberg) for a little spark, but only 1/2 the banana called for. Might use 3/4 next time but otherwise seemed too sweet. Like others, I didn’t bother frying bananas beforehand. Turned out great. FrancisHaydee is correct, the spelling is wrong, it’s spelled and pronounced ’empanada.’

  • Made for a Latin themed birthday party. Love them!

  • Wonderful recipe and
    pretty easy. I used
    yellow plantains
    instead of bananas,
    added lime juice and
    garlic cloves
    instead of onions.

  • this seems like a delicious dish but please revise your title-correct Spanish spelling for your dish is “empanada”, not empañada, eliminate the “Ñ”. thanks.

  • I made this for a potluck, and these
    were a hit. I bought some frozen
    empanada discs (small size) instead
    of the puff pastry, and was suprised
    at how easy it was to make this.
    The tops of the empanada crescents
    were brushed with egg wash to give
    it color. Also, I had to use
    shredded mozzarella at the time, but
    I didn’t think there was a
    difference. I had to make a second
    batch on the fly, and didn’t get to
    saute-ing the bananas, but don’t
    think there was much of a difference
    when I subbed with just plain mashed
    bananas. Definitely a fast and easy
    dish to make. Great for prepping
    ahead and popping in the oven as well

  • I’ve made these many times and they’re a great addition to a cocktail party or dinner. I’ve made them different ways (being crunched for time) and don’t think the extra step of cooking the bananas separately is necessary. I add very hot jerk spice instead of the cayenne and add nutmeg, too, about 1/2 tsp. Lots of cilantro and a sour cream/lime dip, as someone else mentioned, make them super. Prepare for extra filling – I use it in place of refrieds in burritos. yum.

  • Not my favorite of the night, but pretty popular amongst our guests. It is a bit bland. The addition of sour cream does improve things

  • I’ve made these for
    a summer outdoor
    party and a winter
    holiday party and they’ve been a big hit. The bananas
    add such a wonderful
    element of surprise
    and complexity to
    this recipe. A
    little goes along
    way for the bananas,
    since they are
    carmelized, making
    them sweeter than
    they would be when
    not sauteed. The
    spice is just enough
    to counter the
    sweetness. I’ve also
    tried serving with a
    salsa verde dip which is a
    nice fresh contrast
    to the richness of
    the recipe.

  • This was a fantastic
    recipe! I added a
    chopped, un-seeded
    Jalapeno pepper to
    the filling and
    served with low-fat
    sour cream that had
    lime zest and lime

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