Savory Tuna Empanadas

It tastes of Spain, deep and flavorful, simple yet beautiful. An empanada is a great dish to serve a crowd, sweet or savory. Try this simple dough recipe without yeast.
By Diana Bauman


Empanada’s are sweet or savory turnovers that are made throughout Spain and Latin America. In Spain, the savory empanada de atún is quite popular as a tapa or served at family gatherings, parties, or festivals. They can be fried or baked as hand pies or made into larger pies using the same turn over dough.



I decided to make a savory empanada for supper. We tried something a little bit different this time. Instead of making a yeast dough, we decided to simplify things. We made a dough using four simple ingredients including Jovial’s einkorn flour, beer, olive oil, and salt. Big Brother mixed everything together and in about 5 minutes we kneaded our way to a beautiful, supple ball of dough.

While the dough was resting for an hour, I took over and made the empanada filling. As many recipes in Spain go, this recipe starts with a sofrito, a combination of onions sauteed with peppers and tomato until each flavor lends of its own to fry to a flavor full of depth. Tuna and boiled eggs are then mixed into the sofrito to give of their own.

When the filling was everything that it could be, I went away to cutting the dough in half and rolling it out thinly. Carefully, rolling the dough onto the rolling pin and transferring it onto parchment paper on a baking sheet, I smoothed out the filling on top of the dough.

Taking the second half of the dough, I cut off a small chunk to use for later and then rolled the larger piece until thin. Using the same technique of rolling the thin dough back onto the rolling pin, I transferred it to the top of the empanada by unrolling it off the pin and then sealed the edges. Then, using that extra small chunk of dough, I rolled it out and cut out some decorations to place on top before adding an egg wash. Once the empanada was put together, it just needed to be baked for 35-45 minutes in a 350F oven.

It tastes of Spain … deep and flavorful, simple yet beautiful. An empanada is a great dish to serve a crowd. At home, I served it with a side of potatoes fried in chicken fat and a green salad tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.


Savory Tuna Empanadas
It tastes of Spain, deep, flavorful, and simple. An empanada is a great dish to serve a crowd, sweet or savory. Try this simple dough recipe without yeast.
Recipe Type: Baking, Side
Cuisine: Spanish, Latin
Serves: 8-10
  • 3 cups einkorn flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup beer
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1½ tsp large granule sea salt (kosher), divided
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans tuna
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, diced
  • 1 egg, whisked
  1. To make the dough, mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the beer and olive oil and mix through with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough.
  2. Empty the contents of the bowl onto a floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes, adding a bit more flour as needed, until shiny and supple. Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl to rest for 1 hour.
  1. In a skillet or cast iron pan, gently heat 2 tbls of olive oil. Add the onions, peppers, and 1 tsp salt and saute until softened; 8-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a ½ tsp salt and mix through.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens and can be pulled away from the bottom of the pan. Once the sauce is done, turn off the heat, and mix in the tuna and eggs. Set aside.
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the dough in half. Roll one half out onto a floured surface until thin. Carefully, roll the dough onto the rolling pin and gently unroll onto the parchment paper on the baking sheet.
  3. Place the empanada filling into the center of the dough and spread out leaving an inch or more border along the edge. Cut off a small piece of the dough for decorations from the second half and reserve for later.
  4. Roll out the remaining dough thinly, and again, roll back onto the rolling pin and transfer to the top of the empanada filling by gently rolling it off the pin. Once rolled off, seal the edges of the empanada. Roll out the remaining dough and cut out any decorations you'd like to cover the top of the empanada.
  5. To finish, brush the egg onto the top of the empanada to form a nice browned crust in the oven. Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.


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Diana Bauman

As a first generation American, Diana shares her family’s traditional Spanish and Mexican recipes at her successful blog Spain In Iowa. She also writes about faith, family, organic gardening, raising backyard chickens and preserving the harvest.

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