Spinach and cheese empanada with rocoto sauce Recipe

This vegetarian version of a South American favourite will be a crowd pleaser. The rocoto sauce is a fiery chilli sauce that can be used as a dip or as a marinade.

  • Preparation
  • Cooking time
  • Rest time
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Les ingrédients

Pour people
  • For the pastry
  • Plain flour : 300 g
  • Unsalted butter : 150 g
  • Water : 75 ml
  • Maldon salt : 2 pinch(es)
  • For the filling
  • Baby spinach leave(s) : 250 g
  • Onion(s) : 1 whole
  • Red pepper(s) : 1 whole
  • Green pepper(s) : 1 whole
  • Halloumi cheese : 200 g
  • Ground cumin : 1 Tsp
  • Garlic clove(s) : 3 whole
  • Dried oregano : 1 Tsp
  • Olive oil : 30 ml
  • Maldon salt : 3 pinch(es)
  • Coarse ground black pepper : 2 g
  • For the sauce
  • Red chilli(s) : 6 whole
  • Cumin seed(s) : 1 Tsp
  • Lime(s) : 1 whole
  • Maldon salt : 3 pinch(es)



    Make sure the butter and water you are using is cold.

    Finely dice the butter, add to the flour and rub with your fingertips until you have a fine breadcrumb texture. Make a well in the center and add most of the water and a pinch of salt.

    Mix the dough without overworking it. You just want to bring the ingredients together: if the dough is a little dry, add a few more drops of water.

    Roll into a ball, flatten slightly and cover with cling film. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The pastry can last for approximately four days in the fridge or you can freeze it for use at a later date.

    Pre-heat the oven to 200'C.

    Once the dough has rested sufficiently, roll out to about5mm thick, and cut out into circles. Fill the pastry with a chilled filling, wet the perimeter of the pastry with water. Fold the pastry in half and pinch the edges to seal.

    If the dough has softened significantly during the shaping of the empanadas, return to the refrigerator to firm up the dough, otherwise the butter will ooze out while baking. Otherwise, place the shaped empanadas in the oven, and bake until golden


    Peel and dice the onion.

    Peel and crush the garlic.

    Core the pepper and finely dice.

    Dice the halloumi cheese.

    In a pan, heat the olive oil, and fry the onion and peppers until the onions are translucent.

    Add the garlic, and spice. Cook out for about 2 minutes before adding the baby spinach to the pan.

    When everything is thoroughly combined, add the diced halloumi and transfer the filling to a shallow dish and chill until needed.


    Tail the chillis, and de-seed if desired.

    Zest and juice the limes.

    Place all the ingredients in a jug and blend until smooth.

    Set aside until needed. serve as a dipping sauce for the empanadas.

    Rocoto sauce will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Chef's tip

«Rocoto are a type of fiery chilli that may be a little difficult to source, however, Scotch bonnets and habaneros are close cousins. Otherwise, use a combination of bird's eye with larger red chillies. »

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