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Fall Mexican Butternut Squash Empanadas

The flavors of the fresh produce make their way into this slightly spicy, and smoky empanada.  The flaky crust holds the delicious stuffed filling so nicely. Topped with the Mexican crema and crisp/slightly-tart green tomato salsa, this dish is a pleaser.



  • 6 Empanada Wrappers (store bought or can sometimes be purchased at Mexican restaurants)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 Green Tomato
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 2 Ounces Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 Jalapeño Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Mexican Crema
  • 1 Tablespoon Mexican Spice blend (Ancho Chile Powder, Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder, Ground Cumin & Dried Mexican Oregano. Note: Make your own or use a store bought blend of your choosing
  • 3 Ounces Monterey Jack Cheese
  • ¼ Cup Crema



  1. Prepare the ingredients: Brown the squash: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the squash ends. Peel the squash; separate the neck and bulb. Halve the bulb lengthwise; scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds, then small dice the squash. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and small dice the onion. Grate the cheese. Core and small dice the tomato. Using a peeler, remove the lime rind, avoiding the pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter the lime. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stems. Cut out and discard the stem, ribs and seeds of the pepper; small dice. Immediately wash your hands and cutting board afterwards.
  2. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the squash and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened.
  3. To the pan, add the onion, garlic, spice blend and as much of the pepper as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the water has cooked off. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Fill a small bowl with water. Place the empanada wrappers on a work surface. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each wrapper (you may have extra filling); top with some of the cheese. Using your fingers, working 1 at a time, lightly moisten the edges of the wrappers with water; fold in half over the filling. Firmly press down on the edges with a fork to crimp and seal completely. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan.
  5. Place the empanadas in the oven and bake, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, 16 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed up. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 2 minutes before serving.
  6. While the empanadas bake, in a bowl, combine the crema, lime zest and the juice of 2 lime wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. To make the salsa, in a separate bowl, combine the tomato, cilantro and the juice of the remaining lime wedges; toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the baked empanadas between 2 dishes; top with the salsa. Serve with the lime crema. Enjoy!


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