Nopales & Mushroom Empenadas


Empenadas are Spanish food that are flaky, buttery, pastries and traditionally stuffed with beef. My take on it, however, uses some fresh produce and some spicy ingredients to bring you a tangy, citrus



So what are morales? Nopales are cactus paddles, but don’t worry – you don’t have to eat the spikes on the sides. In fact, you can usually buy them with them already removed.


Nopales are rich in fiber, manganese, protein, and vitamin C, too! If you cook them on their own, they have a tangy & juicy flavor, plus their texture is one-of-a-kind.



The wonderful thing about this empanada filling is that is the flavors blend and mesh so well together – not to mention the texture of all of these slow-cooked vegetables is so savory. The first time I made it to test it out, I told my husband that this was the best thing I’d ever tasted in my life – YEAH, it’s that good.



Not going to lie, though, this recipe is A L O T of work, it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, and you’ll be working the whole time. Want to make it easier? Find a buddy! This is a great recipe to make with friends & I can guarantee you’ve never tried anything like it.


So read it through, figure out what you need to grab from the store, and phone a friend! This will surely impress, too!

By the way, you can pick up nopales at mexican grocery stores & markets. I recommend calling around, first.


Nopales & Mushroom Empenadas

Serving: 14
Time: 1 hr 15 min

The Dough

dough recipe is adapted from the New York Times Beef Empenada recipe


  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 oz vegan buter
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. In a large bowl, pour 1 cup boiling water over salt & butter. Mix until it has all melted together.
  2. In smal batches, add flour and mix continuously with a wooden spoon until it is no longer sticky & a warm dough has formed.
  3. Knead a few times on a floured surface (with floured hands!) and form into a ball. Wrap or cover and refrigerate for 1 hour

The Filling


  • 1 peeled potato, cubed
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (seeded if you can’t handle the heat)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 3 oz mushroom (oyster variety is best)
  • 2 nopales (cactus paddles) with spikes removed, diced
  • 1 tsp each:
    • chili powder
    • tajin (chili lime seasoning)
    • cumin
  • 1 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced


  1. Heat about 1 tbsp of water in a large pot at medium heat. Once heated, add potato, onion, garlic, jalapeño, & bell pepper.
  2. Saute for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add 1 cup water & bouillon cube – cover & simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fully cooked.
  4. In a frying pan, heat at medium-low with a tbsp of water or a bit of oil. Once heated, add mushroom & cactus.
  5. Saute for about 10 minutes – until the cactus is no longer crunchy – stirring frequently.
  6. After 10 minutes are up, add cactus & mushroom to the other pot of vegetables. Add chili, tajin, and cumin, as well.
  7. Cover until the 20 minute mark is up (you want potatoes cooked well).
  8. Once the potatoes are easily washable, remove lid and crank up the heat to medium. Mix up a bit and begin to smash the potatoes with a fork (roughly, doesn’t have to be perfect).
  9. Leave at medium heat without the lid for 15-20 minutes (until all liquid is gone). You want the filling to be thick, moist, but not watery.
  10. Remove from heat and add cilantro and the lime juice.
  11. While that is finishing up, the dough should be ready.

Putting it all Together

Have these items on hand:

  • a cup with some water in it
  • a small bowl with a bit of flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Separate the dough into golf ball sized sections (should make about 12-14).
  3. On a floured surface, roll a ball into a 6 inch wide circle.
  4. Add about 1 tbsp of filling to the center.
  5. Dip finger in water & run along edges of empanada dough (like a glue to seal it shut). Fold dough over into semi-circle.
  6. Seal by pressing down edges with a fork (see image above).
  7. Continue filling & folding with the remainder of dough and filling.
  8. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
  9. Brush a bit of oil on the top of each empenada and broil for 1 minute on top rack, or until they are golden brown.
  10. Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, or try out my easy no-soak cashew sour cream!

Tell Me:

Have you ever had an empenada before? What was in it?

Did you try the recipe? How did it work out? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Don’t forget to like, share, and pin the recipe for later!


cactus & mushroom




Baked Sweet Potatoes

I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. I get the giant ones regularly and bake them whole, cube them up & sauté, and make lots of baked fries.

Nothing beats a classically baked sweet potato, though. I’ve figure out a quick way to cut the cook time in half – all while introducing crispy and caramelized textures on the edges. I love pairing my sweet potato with savory & spicy foods – like cayenne, salsa, beans, and veggies.

You can also take this baking method and use it for sweet, sweet potatoes! Add brown sugar, coconut whipped cream, cinnamon, bananas and blueberries would be so delicious with the crispy and creamy potato.

I have included recipes for both the sweet potato & tex-mex toppings. Enjoy!


Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 35 min


  • 2 large (very large) sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp oil (coconut or olive)
  • parchment paper


  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Cut potatoes in half lengthwise
  • drizzle oil onto one of the potato halves and rub together with other potatoes – ensuring they all have an even, smooth coating
  • Place face down on parchment-lined baking sheet
  • Bake for 30 mins (may be more / less depending on your potato size)
    • I’d say check at 20 minutes for small potatoes
    • use a fork to check – potato should seem soft and deflated under it’s skin
  • to serve, fork through potato to fluff and garnish with toppings!

Tex Mex Baked Sweet Potato Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tomato, diced and/or sliced
  • 1 tbsp vegan mayo substitute
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 cup fresh spinach chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups cooked beans
  • salt / pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrot shreds



  1. While sweet potato is baking – prepare rice / beans if necessary. I recommend mixing them together and adding little lemon juice or salt to bring out flavor.
  2. Mash avocado and mix in diced tomato & ground pepper.
  3. In a small bowl or cup, mix together mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice, paprika, hot sauce, 1-2 teaspoons of water. This is a crema and it should be runny.
  4. Use avocado, rice/beans, crema, cilantro, and other toppings to garnish and dress up your sweet potato half.


Easy Refried Black Beans

Black beans are one of our favorite foods. We always have a huge bowl of them ready in the fridge whenever we need it.


We usually cook up a big batch of them – see how here – and we use it up throughout the course of a week.

Lately, Todd’s been using them up to make refried beans – and his recipe is SO good! He made them up this morning for us and we took some pictures along the way.




  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  1. Heat oil in a medium sized pan over medium-low.
  2. Add the beans and add the almond milk.
  3. Continuously, mix & mash the beans with a fork until you get a creamy consistency. This should take about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in salt & garlic powder.
  5. Serve w/ something yummy!

We ate our refried beans with scrambled tofu with turmeric, salsa, crispy tortillas, and avocado. It made a great breakfast tostada that was wholesome, nutritious, and filling.