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Vegan Picadillo Empanadas

Time 1 hour
Yields Makes about 12
Vegan Picadillo Empanadas
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
1

Combine the oil, onion and garlic in a large skillet and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden around the edges and almost translucent, about 5 minutes.

2

Reduce the heat to medium and add the pecans and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring often, until the nuts smell toasty and are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the spice mix and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil, then stir in the raisins and olives. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

3

Stir in the jalapeños, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a shallow dish and spread in a thin, even layer to cool. Put in the freezer, uncovered, to quickly chill.

4

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven, then heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 6 dough rounds on each prepared sheet, spaced evenly apart.

5

Scoop a tablespoon of filling in a football shape using a spoon, then place it on one side of a dough round, ¾ inch away from the rim. Fold the other side of the dough over the filling to form a half moon, then pinch the edges together. Use the tines of a fork to seal the rim shut or fold and twist the rim closed. Repeat with the remaining filling and dough rounds.

6

Bake, rotating the positions of the sheets halfway through, until empanadas are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. While the empanadas bake, purée the avocado, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season to taste with more lime juice and salt. Transfer to a serving bowl.

7

Cool the empanadas on the sheets for at least a few minutes before serving hot or warm with the avocado dip.

Dough Alternative
If substituting frozen puff pastry sheets, roll each into 12-inch squares, then cut into 4-inch rounds. Reserve the scraps for another use.