I normally love empanadas; I mean, how can you go wrong with pie crust and cream cheese?

You can go gluten-free wrong, that’s how.

Despite this quick favorite going “wrong” however, the family still enjoyed them, so I’ll share anyhow.

I define an empanada as anything that stuffs cream cheese into a pie shell. Pretty open slate, and if you use pre-cooked chicken pieces and pre-made pie shells, hey – easy peasy, 1-2-3. Since our family has mostly gone gluten-free (“mostly” meaning gluten-minimal), I thought I’d try to incorporate a sans wheat version of one of my faves into the family recipe Rolodex.

First stop was the grocery store, totally naive and certain there would be a GF pie crust mix for the taking. No luck. I searched the shelves and found something that I thought would be a comprable alternative: GF pizza crust. Crust is crust, right? Only if it actually acts like crust.

Which this did not. Nice try, Hodgson Mill.

Granted, it says right on the box that the dough will be sticky – but I dare say there’s a big difference between “sticky” and completely unworkable. I floured my hands as instructed, but alas, the dough and I could not come to friendly terms. My reasonable solution was to add more GF flour from another bag I had, which enabled some shaping until the dough had sucked it up into its greedy stickiness, but the enabling stopped short of letting me use my empanada pie shaper tool thingy.

So I opted for pizza bread stuffed with cream cheese and chicken instead of a shell-with-filling relationship. Then I wasn’t crazy about the presentation, so I added pasta sauce and shredded cheese as a topping.


Pizza Style Chicken Empanadas!


Everything tasted good except for the crust (in my opinion), so here are the filling ingredients:

Chicken Empanada Filling

  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 package of pre-cooked chicken strips, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  1. Saute the onions in the olive oil until the start to soften and become slightly translucent.
  2. Toss the rest of ingredients into the pan until the cheese has melted and the chicken and onions are distributed evenly.
  3. Fill your pie shells!

As I’ve hinted at, to actually complete the recipe, you just need pre-made pie crust cut into large-ish circles, spoon the filling in, fold over the pie crust into a half-moon shape, crimp the edges, and bake according to the pie shell directions. Simple! And yummy…

That’s all for now!

– Verbena


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