Holiday Vegan Gardein Beefy Argentine Empanadas

As a child, one of my favorite appetizers to eat during the holidays were Argentine empanadas. Sometimes, my mother would make them from scratch, and at other times, we would buy them from the Argentine deli. Either way, they were delicious!

As an ethical vegan, I have missed them because they are meat-filled. Over the last few years, I have attempted to duplicate the taste that I remember from my childhood but was not able to… until now!  I have created a fantastic recipe using Gardein Beefless Ground. (A very special thank you to Gardein for making this possible!)

If you are wondering what Argentine empanadas are, here is a rundown:



Okay, well maybe that is not all of it. Some Argentine empanadas are filled with spinach or potatoes or a combo of both. Sausage is sometimes added. Most of them are filled with meat, however.

I made these on Christmas Eve for my family this year. I just might do it again for New Year’s Day!

Behold my recipe below:

vegan / nut-free


Baking sheets

Parchment paper (optional)


1 large onion, chopped

8-10 Spanish green olives, chopped

½ cup small raisins

3 cups white flour

1/3 cup vegan butter

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

1 Tbsp. paprika

½ tsp. thyme

1 tsp. curry powder

1/8 tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. salt

2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil

¾-1 cup Water (depending on how dry your climate is)


Making the Dough: (can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 24 hours)

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add flour and salt.
  2. Add vegan butter in small pieces and some of the water.
  3. Mix with a mixing spoon until the dough forms into a ball, adding water.
  4. Knead dough for about 10 minutes until it turns into a smooth ball.
  5. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour.

Empanada Ball

Cooking the Empanada Filling: (can be made in advance and refrigerated or put in freezer)

  1. In a large frying pan, cook chopped onions in olive oil until yellow on medium heat.
  2. Add the beefless ground, all spices, and cook according to Gardein’s instructions.
  3. Add the green olives and raisins and toss.
  4. Set aside.

Empanada Meat

Making the Empanadas:

  1. Cut dough into pieces lengthwise.
  2. Roll out each cut piece with a roller into circles. (I suggest using a plate or something round as a circle tracer). You can make the pieces as small or as large as you want. If you want a lot of empanadas, then make the circles smaller. If you want only a few, make the circles bigger.
  3. Coat the circle with a small amount of olive oil.
  4. Add meat alternative into each round piece of dough. How much meat you add depends on how many empanadas you want and how large or small you want them.
  5. Cover the meat alternative with one of the sides of the dough to make a half moon. Moisten the ends with a bit of water. Then crimp the ends with a fork (see image below).
  6. Baste the top of the empanadas with olive oil.
  7. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet on top of parchment paper (optional) and bake for 15 min at 400 degrees.
  8. Broil for 1 min and serve right out of the oven.

Empanadas 1

Empanadas 3

Empanadas 2


  • You might have some leftover beefless ground. You can freeze for later use or refrigerate it for 48 hours.
  • You can reuse the leftover dough when making your circles; just knead the pieces again to create another empanada.
  • They are best eaten hot right out if the oven.
  • You can reheat them however they will taste a bit dry if you do.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

©2019, Vilma Reynoso,, VEG out: go Vegan. save Earth. be Good to animals

Vegan Baked Chicken, Potato, and Green Bean Casserole

Vegan Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

I am a garlic fanatic.

Being Italian and Spanish, I grew up eating many non-vegan dishes with garlic – meat sauce with spaghetti, pizza, meat stew, and garlic chicken, for example. Back then, I watched my mother create delicious garlic meals. I did not appreciate Mom’s cooking as much as I could have as a child, but now she is the inspiration behind most of my cooking – vegan style!

I also remember on a particular trip to Spain before I decided to live vegan, I discovered garlic chicken while visiting my cousins. I vowed to try that recipe once I had returned to the States, but somehow that never happened. Now, as a vegan, I have finally created my own version.

So, if you are a garlic lover like I am, and if you want a vegan version of garlic chicken and vegetables, look no further! Here is the recipe:

vegan / gluten-free / peanut-free / soy free


2-3 potatoes, chopped

2-3 carrots, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

1 small onion, sliced

1 small green pepper, sliced

2 cups frozen green beans

5-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 package Beyond Meat Chicken Strips (9 oz.)

1 Tbsp. sea salt

1 Tbsp. Jamaican Jerk chicken seasoning (you can substitute any other spicy vegan chicken seasoning)

I Tbsp. Italian herb seasoning (oregano, parsley, thyme)

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil


  1. Prepare all vegetables. Mix all together with garlic, oil, and spices.
  2. Place in large cooking pot and bake covered for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. At 45 minutes, remove cover, stir, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.
  3. During the last 15 minutes of baking, cook the chicken according to instructions on the package. Set aside.
  4. Once chicken and vegetables are done, add the chicken strips to the vegetable mix and stir them in. Serve over rice or noodles.


© 2018, Vilma Reynoso,, VEG out: go Vegan. save Earth. be Good to animals

Creamy Walnut Vegan Cheese

Vegan Walnut Cheese

I recently concocted an amazing vegan cheese using walnuts and vegetables!

Many people who are trying to move to a fully plant-based diet have trouble with eliminating cheese. Did you know that non-vegan cheese is addicting? It contains casein, a substance that is known to be addicting, which is why people find it difficult to let cheese go. Well, here is a recipe that is delicious, cruelty-free, healthy, and does not contain any casein!

This cheese can be used for a macaroni and cheese meal, or it can be served with crackers or vegetables as a creamy appetizer. I served it over noodles and added some veggies on the side. Below is the recipe that will serve 4 people. You can double it (like I did) or freeze it, so you will have some for another time.

vegan / gluten-free

Equipment: high-speed blender


2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small pieces

½ cup walnuts

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. tamari

Paprika to taste


  1. Add vegetables to a large pot of boiling water. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Remove vegetables from water and set aside. Save 2 cups of the boiled water.
  3. Add vegetables and all other ingredients except the paprika in a blender. Blend until desired consistency, adding the boiled water a bit at a time. Pour into a bowl and stir.
  4. Serve over noodles, vegetables, or with crackers as an appetizer and sprinkle with a dash of paprika.


© 2017, Vilma Reynoso,, VEG out: go Vegan. save Earth. be Good to animals

Easy Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Broccoli

Vegan Cheesy Pasta

I recently bought one of the tastiest vegan cheeses on the market: The Honest Stand Nacho Cheesy Sauce! It is absolutely delicious, is gluten-free and soy-free and can be used as a dip with chips or over chili fries, on vegan pizza, or in many other yummy dishes. Tonight, I used this cheese to make a sauce over pasta and broccoli. Below is the very easy recipe!

vegan / peanut-free


½ cup Honest Stand Nacho Cheese Flavor vegan cheese

½ cup almond or soy milk

1 small onion, chopped

Any type of gluten-free or regular noodles

2 cups frozen broccoli

Salt to taste

Olive oil


  1. Prepare the pasta and the broccoli according to directions.
  2. Cook the onion in a dab of olive oil on medium heat for one minute.
  3. Add the milk and the cheese. Stir and cook on low heat for two minutes. Taste and add salt if desired. For a thinker sauce, add more cheese. For a thinner sauce, add more milk.
  4. Place cheese sauce in blender and blend for 30 seconds or until the onion is dissolved.
  5. Mix sauce with broccoli and pasta. Serve immediately.


© 2017, Vilma Reynoso,, VEG out: go Vegan. save Earth. be Good to animals.



Ultimate Healing “Green” Broth

I love to give my body what it needs to heal when I am ill, so as usual, I experimented and recently created a very nutritious soup that helped me tremendously, so I am sharing! This is a very “green” and nourishing broth that is easy to digest, and your body will thank you for it.  This recipe is for a large pot of soup that will feed 8-10 people. I suggest freezing the left overs.


vegan / gluten-free / soy free


1 large zucchini, chopped

8-10 brussels sprouts, stemmed and cut in half

1 large leek, chopped

1 handful of fresh parsley

1 handful of baby spinach

3-4 kale leaves, chopped

3 Tbsp vegan broth powder

5-6 garlic cloves, chopped

¼ tsp coriander

1 Tbsp turmeric

1 Tbsp ground sage

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

12 cups water


  1. In a large pot, add a ½ cup water and cook the zucchini and leeks on medium high for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the brussels sprouts and another ½ cup water (or more if it is becoming dry). Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining water – about 11 cups and all the remaining ingredients, except the kale and spinach. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 40 minutes.
  4. Add kale and spinach and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from stove. Carefully add soup mixture into blender to puree. Make sure not to fill the blender or the mixture will spill out when you blend. You will not be able to blend all of the mixture at once. Blend for about 10 seconds until it becomes a puree. Set aside in a large pot or bowl. Continue this process until all the soup is pureed.
  6. The broth will be green. Serve immediately.


© 2017, Vilma Reynoso,, VEG out: go Vegan. save Earth. be Good to animals



Easy Holiday Vegan Nut Balls

The holidays can be a very stressful time for many people.  Recently, I created a simple recipe that helped ease the anxiety of trying to determine what to bring to a holiday party or potluck. These nut balls are very easy to make, and it takes only about 10 minutes. They can be served as an appetizer or a dessert. They are delicious!

Christmas Nut Balls vegan

For a raw vegan version of this recipe, soak the walnuts for 8 hours and then dry them in a dehydrator overnight.


2 cups walnuts (soaked and dried for a raw vegan version)

¼ cup dates, pitted and soaked

¼ cup shredded coconut or coconut flakes

2 Tbsp. agave nectar

1 tsp. cinnamon


  1. Optional: Soak walnuts overnight (about 8 hours) for a raw vegan version. Dry in dehydrator.
  2. Grind walnuts in a food processor until fine.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut and blend until creamy.
  4. Form mixture into small balls.
  5. Place coconut into a large jar. Add one or two balls at a time into jar and shake until the coconut sticks to the nut balls.
  6. Refrigerate until serving.


Happy Holidays!

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso,, VEG out: go Vegan. save Earth. be Good to animals