sprouted kitchen

My overarching theme for this year is about being brave. I realized at the end of last year, that fear motivates a lot of things I do or decisions I make. The fear of failing, of people not liking me, a fear of being misunderstood or undervalued, fear of pain or conflict or not having enough money. It's wasted time really, and I recognize that. There is a Donald Miller quote, "fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life," and I sure don't want that. The most rewarding moments I can remember have been those when I pushed myself a little. I don't have much to say on the topic besides that it's on my mind. To take risks, to make decisions prior to over thinking them, to stop worrying so much. No tiny violins at all, I just hope that in my writing, my food and my time here, I can trust myself a bit more. 

I haven't had the greatest luck with pastry dough but Hugh has an affinity for empanadas so they've been on my "to make" list for quite some time. Americans call them hand-pies, Italians call them calzones, the Argentinians call them empanadas and they're each some version of a stuffed dough. I love the spiced squash and goat pairing here, but you could play around and fill them with whatever you like. The small ones would make cute appetizers or the larger ones would be easy to pack for a picnic or a road trip. I will make these again, hopefully with a bit more patience on the dough side of things.

Hope you enjoy them. Happy weekend.

sprouted kitchen sprouted kitchen

SQUASH + GOAT CHEESE EMPANADAS // Makes about 20 minis or 10 larger

Recipe adapated from Give Me Flour

I suppose you could use any winter squash you'd like here. I tried to give options for spice and herbs, so you can alter the filling to your preference. I used chipotle powder for a bit of heat, but smoked paprika will work well too.

// dough //


  • to spare repeating, see here
  • (the only change I made was sub in 3/4 cup whole wheat flour for some of the unbleached flour)


// filling //


  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika or chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green herbs (some combination of sage, parsley, cilantro, thyme)
  • 5 oz. goat cheese (her choice) or jack cheese (his choice)
  • egg wash (1 egg and a splash of water, well whisked)
  • sesame seeds


sprouted kitchen sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 425'.

Follow the dough recipe according the link provided. Wrap it up and keep chilled in the fridge. This cane be done a day in advance.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Drizzle it with the olive oil and rub it into the flesh and a bit on the skin. Sprinkle it with salt and cinnamon and roast for about 45-50 minutes, or until the flesh is very soft. Remove and let it cool completely.

While the squash is cooking, saute the garlic and shallot in a bit of olive oil until just browned. About 8-10 minutes.

Once the squash is cool to the touch, scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add another pinch of salt, the paprika or chipotle powder, nutmeg, the sauteed garlic and shallots and the green herbs. Use the back of a fork and mash everything together well. Taste the mix and add as you wish, maybe a bit more salt, heat, etc.

Turn the oven down the 350'. Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet. Roll out the dough to about 1/8'' thickness on a floured work surface and press out the circles for your empanadas. You can use 4'' cutters for small ones, or 6-8'' for a larger size. Leaving plenty of space around the edge, put a dollop of the squash in the center, followed by a dollop of cheese, and fold the circle over. Press the edge with your finger to seal and then press along the edge with the tins of a fork. This got a bit messy for me, stay calm. Lay the empanadas on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and some thyme leaves and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until just golden. Enjoy warm.

sprouted kitchen

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Reader Comments (83)

Yum! These look amazing!! Love the quote. It's hard to trust yourself sometimes, but so important!

My husband is British and therefore loves meat pies. I make a curry hand pie that is delish. I will have to try this filling. The pastry is coming along for me as well. A tutorial on joy the baker and smitten kitchen really helped.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersara

I knew I recognized this! I've made the give me flour version (twice!) and, like you, had a difficult time with the dough (...both times). Her dough recipe really seems like one where you have to "feel it out" and master at age 57. Oh well, all troubles were forgotten as soon as deliciousness entered the mouth. Yummmmm. Love, love, love this combo.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLana

I have empanadas on my "to make" list too! I've been putting it off because I was sure my first go at the dough would be a fail (and I don't always have the patience for epic fails :). I could stand to become more brave about things too!

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeanine

i love the pic of you rolling out the dough

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I couldn't agree more with everything you said about fear! It felt as if you were standing right behind me whispering the story of my life :)
Fear is awful thing to live with! And I really want to get rid of it. As soon as possible...

Well, and your empanadas are amazing! But, I guess, you that yourself ;)

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMigle

I also hesitated making these cuties but eventually tried out this recipe: With great success!!

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnouk

Yum! These look fantastic!

I think it's great to constantly push yourself in ways that make you feel a little uncomfortable or a little fearful. The learning potential is huge!

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I'm so borrowing Donald Miller's quote; it's so true that we need to be a bit more bravery in life. We shouldn't be feared of failing, we should always try no matter the outcomes!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I cannot wait to try these - I just moved to Buenos Aires for 3 months (after quitting my job - I am trying to take Miller's quote to heart i guess) and there is a little shop in the building that makes homemade empanadas and pastas. Yum. BTW Hugh's french press coffee method is getting me through the days here. Love the blog and the book.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDale

Yes, lady! This is something I'm working on lately too. If you want to see progression, mega achievement, unicorns + rainbows, all that--a little bravery is needed. It's so important for creative people too, just trying something even if you're worried or don't think it will work at all. Tasty empanadas = best start. Big hugs.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I agree - Fear motivates so many decisions. I'm such an over-thinker that sometimes it paralyzes me and my heart. I love that your theme this year is to be brave. To trust yourself a bit more and take some risks. It motivates me!

These look delicious. Love the goat cheese and squash combo. I say, embrace the messy and imperfect :)

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen O.

This is FABULOUS. I want my face to empy right. now.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

Pastry has always been tough for me too, but these look great! The filling sounds perfect, I love the mini ones for an appetizer or snack. For what it's worth, you seem very brave to me!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermegan

Sara I know this feeling - fear and overthinking are so exhausting. And they impede every action we want to take.Insecurity kills all that is beautiful inside us. I decided to fight with it some time ago and think positive - it's difficult but it works. And now I know that I don't have to be always perfect and that it is impossible to be liked by everybody and please everybody. I try to think less and act more:) I found it recently on Internet, I think this words are beautiful: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Could these be frozen and then reheated later one or two at a time? Would I want to par-bake first or just freeze raw and then add some cooking time when I take them out again?

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Wow, these look delicious! I love step by step, process oriented recipes. Of course they have to be reserved for moments when there is enough time, but when there is enough time they can be very meditative to make!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjaime @ sweet road

Holy! Deliciousness! Dinner Club is Spanish-themed this month...these are perfect.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

Oh my this sounds delicious!

xo Jennifer

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Wowza! I see these making an appearance in our house very soon. Thanks for the inspiration!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna @ Garnish with Lemon

Gorgeous. These photos! So stunning.
And yes, trust yourself! I struggle with it everyday, but slowly I am making some progress. Thanks for that quote.
These empanadas look incredible.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarah

Thanks for using the recipe and making it looks even better! Gotta try whole wheat flour and the butternut squash/smoked paprika filling!! Feeling super honored, I've been always a huge fan of yours.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Areias

these look incredible. great pair to my juice fast. i'm just going to sit here and drool a while..

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwendy

love the pretty colors! looks and sounds amazing. i love making empanadas... but i know what you mean about pastry dough. awesome quote!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Love, love, love the photos and the empanadas look delicious!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMervi

Yay - I just so happen to have a squash on the counter, so I am totally making these...they look so delicious!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersara

This is when MY heart fist pumps you and screams "yeah!" back to you, love. Goodbye fear, it's been real.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkelsey

Oh so tempted to try these!!! Looks amazing!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh

your wish for 2013 is very similar to mine. i often find fear to be an overarching theme in my life which i hope to rid in the present and upcoming future. and the handpies, oh my! they look heavenly.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

I have to apologize in advance for this but I cannot help myself...This looks and sounds so freaking amazing! I grew up eating emapnadas, and I love them dearly. I love your recipes dearly as well, so this will be made this weekend. No joke.
On a side note, I can relate so much on the fear factor. And the quote is scary true. I have been working on realizing what my fears are and making sure they do not paralyze me into not doing something. And the irony of it all, and always perfect timing. An old friend from high school in Sacramento just wrote a book about fear, and the science behind it all. He now lives in San Francisco and just swam across the bay to his book signing. Truly inspiring, his book is called, The Fear Project, by Jaimal Yogis. If this is your focus you may enjoy it, so far I have. It just released this week.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfabiola@notjustbaked

How did I just find you? THESE ARE AMAZING! You took some of my favorite things and made something I want RIGHT NOW. And the pictures are lovely. Just started following you on FB/pinterest/twitter. If this is the kind of food you make, I don't want to miss a thing!!!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

beautiful pix (as always), the recipe sounds so good! so in sync with your words about fear - I have a similiar intention for this year. To act, speak, express, live from a real place, to be present to the truth. To stop wasting time on things that do not matter - such as the approval of others, and much more in the same pattern. Reality cannot be postposed, only missed.

Thank you for your sincerity and honesty - its so inspiring.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermelanie

I love the quote! We have a framed quote in our kitchen from Star Wars - 'Do or do not, there is no try'
Butternut squash and goat cheese, combination made in heaven. I am definitely trying this next week.
Great photos...., as usual.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

You ARE brave, lady! Taking the leap from a steady job, taking on the challenge of writing a book, blogging on a consistent and quality basis - you are amazing! But I, too, struggle with fear and lack of bravery - so I understand with my whole heart. It is so comforting to hear that other rockin' women are out there, doing their best and working towards fearlessness and courage each day. Big squeeze to you!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

YES! You have answered my wishlist. I love to make empanadas, but I have a veggie in my family. I've been looking for a meat free alternative. This is wonderful. Thank you!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie Anne

I love me some Donald Miller. And your writing. And this space in general. I always feel like I get a little piece of you when I stop by. Excited to see what 2013 brings. Cheers to being brave although I think you are quite brave already. xo

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa // thefauxmartha

I'm so in love with your photography. The food looks so delicious.


January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I love this post! Partly because I love anything with goat cheese but mostly because it was so personal and I feel so motivated by your thoughts on being brave. Thank you :)

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

A great goal, indeed. I, too, fear too often and too much but agree that the best experiences in life have come as a result of taking greater risks and being more confident about who I am and what I can do. Three cheers to that! Have a lovely weekend, friend. Good luck with that catering job :)

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

These look absolutely incredible! I love the combination of flavors here. Beauty!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Kitchie

These empanadas sound great! I love the combination of earthy squash and rich goat cheese. :)

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

these look charming and delicious! i will definitely make them.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjudith scott

you are amazing. i have your braised white beans and leeks recipe baking in my oven right this moment!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

Well said Sara. I can totally relate! 2013 = Year of Bravery :) These empanadas look so delish!!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYumi

I love base recipes like these empanadas so you can fill them wth any good combination of flavours that you have in your fridge. I also love healthy and filling.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne Perazzini

Very important post that so resonated with me. And the recipe looks great too! Martha

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMartha Perry

Strong words, great quote. So true that it almost hurts. The empanadas look amazing. Hopefully I find time to make them next week!

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSini

Beautiful Sara, and delicious. I made these last night with pureed acorn squash and crumbled feta enhanced with minced olives and scallions. Great on all fronts. The only thing I almost had a panic attack over was the dough. It was still very crumbly when I gathered into a ball and chilled so when I took it out I took a gamble. Despite the fact that it was not an all butter crust I did Chez Pim's technique of rolling and folding like a letter several times in order to get it into a smooth pliable mass to form. Mind you I was deeply worried that as I was doing this I was "overworking" the dough, but I could simply not roll out that crumbly ball without that technique. So I got it into a smooth disc and chilled again (not really long enough), rolled it out and cut. The result was great layered flakiness!! I'm still worried this technique is only to be used in accordance to butter/flour/salt short pastry though. Next time I may adjust the dough to be just that because I am in love with that rolling technique and love layered flakiness. Thank you for this!

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

Love this post!!! I've been wanting to start my creative healthy food blog for over a year now, but like you mentioned, the same fears keep coming around to haunt me. I appreciate your honest sharing from your heart. It encourages me that I'm not alone in that and to not sit back and let the fear take over! Thank you girl!!
BTW...I LOVE your recipes!!! I've tried several and have had good success:) Your flavor profiles and combinations always inspire me!!! Thanks again! Looking forward to more of your posts in 2013...:)

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAuntieJo

Oh delish! And I will add a dash of cayenne, yum!

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGoddess of the Jewels

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