Empanadas with greens, green olives and pistachios

empanadas with greens

I bought these beautiful little green olives. I can’t remember what they’re called, but I think they might have been castelvetrano olives. They were small and round and serpent green. Lovely! They were so pretty that it might have been a shame to stuff them inside of empandas – if the empanadas hadn’t been so mother-flippin delicious!

They have three kinds of greens – chard, kale and spinach, they have very green olives, and they have pistachios, which are green nuts! They also have ricotta, mozzarella and lots of herbs. I’m especially pleased with the texture of these. You never know how it’s going to go with greens and ricotta. Will they be watery and runny? Or mushy? This was perfect, though. Juicy, almost, but not soggy. It occurred to me that these were like large, baked, crispy ravioli, and in that spirit, I added a little semolina flour to the dough. (If you don’t have semolina flour, just leave it out. Or add 1/4 cup regular flour to replace it. Either way. )I made a sauce to go with these with roasted red peppers, almonds, tomatoes, paprika and chipotle. It turned out very spicy!

Here’s REM’s Green Grow the Rushes, because I’ve had it going round in my head lately.


2 cups flour
1 cup semolina flour
1/2 t. salt
lots of ground black pepper
1 t. basil
1 stick of butter – frozen
about 1 cup of ice water

Mix the flours, salt, pepper and basil in a large bowl. Grate the butter in, mixing it as you go along. You should have a crumb like state of affairs. Add ice water until you have enough to bring everything together in a stiff dough. Knead it for a minute or two, then wrap in plastic of foil and stick it in the fridge till you’re good and ready to use it.

2 cups kale – washed and stems removed
2 cups spinach – washed and stems removed
2 cups chard – washed and stems removed
2 cloves garlic
1 T olive oil
1 t. basil
1 t. rosemary
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. oregano
pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup green olives, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta
1 – 1 1/2 cups mozarella, cut into tiny cubes (about 1/4 inch)
salt and plenty of pepper
2 eggs, beaten.

Boil a large pot of salted water. Put the kale in. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then put the chard in. Then the spinach. Cook for 2 minutes more. Drain and rinse in ice water. Squeeze fairly dry and chop till quite fine.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil, the garlic and the herbs. Add the greens and saute till they’re dry and the everything is heated through. Dump them in a big bowl. Add the cheeses, olives, pistachios, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir to mix.

Reserve about 1 T of beaten egg, and stir the rest into the greens & cheese mixture.

Take the dough out of the fridge. Break off an egg-sized amount and roll it into a circle about 6 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. Put an egg-sized amount of filling just off center. Fold the dough over to make a half moon, seal with the tines of a fork, and prick it in two places. Repeat till all the dough and filling is gone. If you have leftover dough, make some Isaac crackers. (They turn out nice and crispy with the semolina in them!)

Put on a lightly buttered baking sheet (or 2!). Brush each empanada with egg wash.

Cook at (preheated) 425 for about 1/2 an hour, till they’re nice and brown and crispy.

For the sauce…

1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
2 medium-sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 t. paprika
1 t. chipotle puree
1 T olive oil
1 T balsamic
salt & pepper
1 clove garlic
1 t. basil

Process the almonds, red pepper and tomatoes until smooth.

In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and basil. Pour in the pepper/almond mixture. Add the paprika and chipotle. Stir till everything is warmed through. Add balsamic, salt and pepper. If you want it smoother, you can return it to the processor.


5 thoughts on “Empanadas with greens, green olives and pistachios

  1. Pingback: Roasted butternut & tomato bisque | Out of the Ordinary

  2. Pingback: Recipe ideas for greens | Montclair Food Co-op & CSA

  3. Dear Claire,
    i would love to present this recipe in one of ouf our magazines. It would be great if you can contact me.

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