Spicy Butternut Squash Empanadas with Green Tomato Salsa & Lime Crema

Spicy Butternut Squash Empanadas

with Green Tomato Salsa & Lime Crema

Group Created with Sketch. 55 min
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  • icon-servings Created with Sketch.
    2 Servings
  • icon-nutrition Created with Sketch. Est. 785 Cals/serving

A Mexican street-food favorite turns into an autumnal delight with these tasty butternut squash-filled empanadas. We’re sautéing the sweet squash with hot jalapeño and smoky spices, then baking the filling with Monterey Jack cheese inside irresistibly flaky pastry. The empanadas get bright, tart counterpoints from a fresh salsa of cilantro, lime and green tomato—a culinary favorite, picked just before the fruit begins to ripen—and tangy lime crema for dipping.

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Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

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.

Start the filling:
2 Start the filling:

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.

Finish the filling:
3 Finish the filling:

To the pan, add the garlic, onion, 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.

Assemble the empanadas:
4 Assemble the empanadas:

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 each 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.

Bake the empanadas:
5 Bake the empanadas:

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.

Finish & plate your dish:
6 Finish & plate your dish:

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 and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the baked empanadas between 2 dishes; top with the salsa. Serve with the lime crema on the side. Enjoy!

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1 Prepare the ingredients:

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 Start the filling:

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.

Start the filling:
Finish the filling:
3 Finish the filling:

To the pan, add the garlic, onion, 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 Assemble the empanadas:

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 each 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.

Assemble the empanadas:
Bake the empanadas:
5 Bake the empanadas:

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 Finish & plate your dish:

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 and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the baked empanadas between 2 dishes; top with the salsa. Serve with the lime crema on the side. Enjoy!

Finish & plate your dish: