Yukka Empanadas With Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa

Paleo Yukka Empanadas

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Paleo Yukka Empanadas

Empanadas – there are just so many kinds that it will take a long time to work your way through the infinite styles and various combinations of doughs and fillings. Some have a yeasted dough, some are flaky pastry style, some made with corn and some with yukka or plantains. Some have a meaty filling, some are vegetarian and some sweet . No matter the style of starchy crispy exterior  and the choice of filling inside, empanadas are a perfect two bite size food. Ok may be four bites if you are a lady and eat like one too. I simply wolf them down.

Paleo Yukka Empanadas

I love these Paleo Yukka Empanadas because it is one comfort food I can eat without guilt. I love the fact that there is a simple guilty pleasure that doesn’t mess up with my diet plan and also lets me feel like I really cheated. Most of you lovely folks probably don’t know that I personally don’t eat wheat. I have been gluten free for quite some time and now have started on eating Paleo since January this year for getting myself back on track with my health. My doctor handed me a checklist of reasons why I should not be eating any grains, lentils and other inflammatory stuff and after reading through the information she provided me, I decided to give it a try.  I have continued on the Paleo path for 8 months now and I am super thrilled with how I am feeling. I can’t say I am 100% paleo because if there is cheese, I nibble. If there is yogurt or kefir I eat. But I am predominantly paleo and it’s helping.

Paleo Yukka Empanadas

What I did miss on this diet was guilty pleasure stuff. I am not into desserts made of almond flour and coconut sugar or dates. For me a guilty pleasure is a deep fried anything. So here I am, with my indulgent Paleo Yukka Empanadas filled with ground lamb. It’s like  eating a Samosa  with Green chutney  . The non paleo diet people in my house ate them all without complaining. So that’s saying something.

Paleo Yukka Empanadas

Paleo Yukka Empanadas

Empanadas made with Yukka and Ground lamb

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Latin American
Keyword Empanadas
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 14 Empanadas


Empanada Filling

  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 C Chopped Oinion
  • 1/2 C Diced Bell pepper
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1 /2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp tomato powder or 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked mild paprika
  • Salt to taste

Empanada dough

  • 1.5 pound Frozen Yukka Root
  • 1/4 tsp Hungarian paprika ( or ground red pepper of any kind)
  • salt to taste

If needed

  • 2 Tbs Tapioca starch / Cassava flour


  • Avocado or coconut oil

Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa

  • 1 Medium hot Jalapeno
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 shallot
  • small piece of ginger
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • salt to taste


Empanada Dough

  1. Cover Yukka with water and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until fork tender.

    Make sure to check at 15 minute mark. You don't want to overcook these.

  2. When yukka is fork tender, drain and mash to a smooth consistency. I used a potato ricer and it worked well. You don't want any tough fibers in this dough.

  3. Allow to cool and then Add salt and paprika and knead to a smooth dough like consistency. 

Make the filling

  1. Heat a saute pan, add the oil. Then add the onions and cook until they soften. 

  2. Add the peppers, cumin, coriander and stir to mix.

  3. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the ground lamb. Stir to combine and cook until lamb is done - about 5 to 7 minutes. 

  4. Add the tomato power or paste and mix to combine. Add in the smoked paprika. 

  5. Switch off the heat. Allow this mixture to cool

Make Empanadas

  1. Make 12 to 15 small dough balls from the yukka dough

  2. If the dough is sticky, apply a little tapioca flour to your hands so the dough won't stick. Or chill the dough in the refrigerator for a bit. 

  3. Working with one dough ball at a time, flatten the dough into a 3 to 4 inch circle. These circles will be somewhat thick. Don't make them thin.

  4. Place about 2 tsp of lamb mix into the center of this circle, fold one edge of the circle onto the other, encasing the filling in the middle.

  5. Take a fork and press it on the edges to seal them - making the empanadas into a  half moon shape.

  6. Repeat for the rest of the dough and filling

  7. Heat the oil for frying to a nice 375 F. Add in the empanadas a couple at a time and fry until golden.

  8. Remove to a cooling rack to let the oil drip out. Serve with Jalapeno Cilantro salsa.

Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa

  1. Pulse together the lemon juice, shallot, ginger, jalapeno, salt and cilantro until it reaches a consistency you like. I like to keep some texture in it so i don't blend it  too much.

Recipe Notes

These Empanadas were inspired by the Dominican  style yucca empanadas. These are non traditional by design!

Progressive Eats

Flavors of Latin America!




Main Courses

Side Dishes


Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. Each recipe in our menu this month features the flavors of Latin America and our host this month is Karen who blogs at Karen’s Kitchen Stories.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the delicious summer dishes!

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