Puerto Rican Pastelillos de lentejas al Horno (Baked Lentil Turnovers)

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Pastelillos de lentejas al Horno sounds better than Baked Lentil turnovers, to me! Sometimes when things are translated into English, it loses it meaning. These are more than just Lentil turnovers. The flavor inside is so abundant! Inside the turnovers, or empanadas (or pastelillos!), are more than just lentils. The filling is a play on Picadillo, which is like seasoned ground meat (translated to  hash [huh?]), and is really tasty! Also inside are olives and potatoes seasoned with sazon and sofrito!! I don’t usually eat vegan meats. Therefore I did not use vegan “beef” crumbles. Feel free to use vegan “beef” crumbles if that is what you like instead of the lentils.

In 2014, I took a trip to Puerto Rico. At that time, I was a vegetarian. When we visit Old San Juan, there was a small shop that sold vegetarian Pastelillos and Acai Bowls! I was so happy because my options were so limited while I was there.  Most Puerto Rican dishes are meat based. I’ve been making it my mission to recreate traditional Puerto Rican dishes. Plant based with traditional flavors. I am hoping to impress my family at the next event! This one was pretty darn good. I hope you try and like these!

Note: I made my own dough but there are store bought options that sell dough pre-made. This will save you time. I just prefer to make mine from scratch.

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Filling

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Filling Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Sofrito
  • 1 small potato, diced small (½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp sazon
  • 1 Cup cooked lentils
  • 10 olives, cut into thirds
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp water
  • Sea salt, to taste

Filling Instructions

  1. In a pan over medium-low heat, add the oil, Sofrito and pototatoes. Saute for a minute then add the lentils. Cook until well combined- about 2 minutes.
  2. Now add in the tomato paste and water. Lower the heat. Cook for a minute, taste for salt then set aside.

Dough

Dough Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp sazon + ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water

NOTE: If you decide to use store bought dough, skip this step and scroll down to Step 4 under Assembly Instructions.

Dough Instructions

  1. First, mix all dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
  2. Now add the olive oil and add half of the water. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes.
  3. Next, add the rest of the water, knead the dough for another few minutes.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and set aside.

Assembly Instructions

  1. Coat a clean counter top, or flat surface, with flour.
  2. With your hands, cut in half with your hands. Then keep cutting in half until you have 8 pieces in front of you.
  3. Next, roll out each ball into a thin disk with a rolling pin.
  4. On half of the disk, fill with the lentil mixture.
  5. Close the top half of the dough over the filling and close the ends shut.
  6. Note: If you decide to use a bowl to shape you pastelillos (like the video shows), you can roll the scraps of dough into a ball and repeat the process!
  7. Lay the pastelillos on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or non-stick aluminum foil).
  8. Brush the tops with almond milk, melted butter or olive oil- so they do not dry out. Then poke the tops with a fork so that they don’t bust open in the oven!
  9. Bake on 375 degrees for 15-30 minutes, depending on the size.
  10. Let cool then serve with rice and beans

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Watch the video below!

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