The Best Empanada Side Dishes

What sides pair best with Empanada? Pair Empanadas with filling, hearty sides like black beans and rice, Mexican sweet corn cakes, and twice-baked potatoes. Alternatively, opt for lighter, refreshing sides like fried plantains, strawberry salad, Mexican street corn salad, potato salad, arugula salad, or cucumber and chickpea salad.

We want to warn each reader one bite of a hearty Empanada, and you’ll eat the whole lot; they are impossible to resist! So, for the sake of your guests, consider serving Empanadas with two or more side dishes to control yourselves.

Here are ideas side dish ideas to compliment Empanadas.

Black Beans & Rice

Black beans and rice are a hearty, filling side dish that you can quickly throw together to serve with your Empanadas as the main course.

We recommend keeping it quick and simple in our recipe using canned beans instead of soaking dry black beans overnight.

Sauté garlic and onion until fragrant, then add a teaspoon of ground cumin. Fry the dry rice in the fragrant oil to fully set off those delicious flavors before adding your chicken broth or stock.

Now, add your black beans, bring them to a boil, and then simmer until the rice is tender. Lastly, flavor your dish with a drizzle of olive oil, lime juice, and fresh chopped cilantro.

Mexican Sweet Corn Cakes

Mexican sweet corn cake is a delicious, moist, and sweet side dish perfect for all Mexican meals, including Empanadas.

These yummy corn cakes utilize corn in three ways:

  • Masa harina or cornflour
  • Cornmeal
  • Whole corn kernels

In a large bowl, beat ½ cup butter until creamy. Add ⅓ cup masa and ¼ cup water, and beat until incorporated. Then, pulse 1½ cups of corn kernels in the food processor, leaving chunky! Next, stir the corn into the butter mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup cornmeal, ⅓ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder, two tablespoons milk, and a pinch of salt. Now, combine the cornmeal and butter-corn mixture and pour into a baking pan.

Place the baking pan into a baking dish filled ⅓ of the way with water and covered the corn cake with foil. Lastly, bake the corn cake in the oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees and serve with an ice-cream scoop.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are a simple yet genius side dish for Empanadas. However, twice-baked potatoes take it up a notch.

First, roast whole potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Then, cut the large potatoes in half and scoop out most of the flesh.

Mash the flesh with other filling ingredients like cheese, sour cream, scallions, bacon, and so on. Then, stuff the filling back into the potato skins and bake until piping hot.

Fried Plantains

When your rich and savory Empanadas meet sweetly fried plantains, you’ll know it’s a match made in heaven.

The key to successfully frying plantains is choosing ripe plantains with almost black skins.

Fry the fully ripe plantains in oil until golden brown to coax all the sugar to the surface to achieve a mildly sweet, delicious crisp chip with contrasting caramelized edges. You can season them with sea salt or enjoy them as is.

Note: The plantain slices can burn quickly if the oil becomes too hot, so watch carefully.

Strawberry Salad

Strawberry salad is a delightful side to serve with Empanadas. The tart, tangy flavor and stark color contrast make it a refreshing and mesmerizing side dish.

Our strawberry salad still offers an incredible mix of flavors and textures with under ten ingredients. First, add roughly sliced strawberries, diced avocado, crunchy pecans, fresh mozzarella, and a handful of soft summer basil. Then, use a drizzle of tangy balsamic reduction and olive oil to tie the salad together.

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

Mexican street corn salad is a famous salad that bursts with an explosion of savory, spicy, smoky, and tangy flavors perfect for matching with Empanadas.

Sauté your corn in butter and flavor it with onions, garlic, chilies, and salt according to your taste. Then, top the corn with hot sauce, mayonnaise, and a spritz of lime juice.

You can also add colorful veggies, avocado, and feta to stretch the side dish.

It’s pure madness, but you’ll love it!

Mexican Potato Salad

Mexican potato salad is another side dish that bursts with flavors and vibrant colors. The element combination and the hot, creamy Mexican sauce create a perfect harmony to match Empanada.

You’ll want to start by quartering baby boomer potatoes and mixing them with olive oil and cumin. Then, pop them into the oven.

Once the potatoes are fully cooked, it’s a matter of throwing additional ingredients into a bowl and waiting for it to chill until ready to eat. Consider adding corn, black beans, red onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, hot sauce, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Arugula Salad

Choosing a side to round out your Empanadas cannot be any easier than an arugula salad thrown together in under 10 minutes.

First, add your arugula to a bowl and toss in some slivered apple slices to sweeten the arugula’s peppery flavor. Next, introduce a salty bite of Parmesan cheese flakes with thinly sliced red onion.

Lastly, dress your salad with a simplistic vinaigrette dressing of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, honey, kosher salt, and ground black pepper.

Cucumber & Chickpea Salad

Cucumber and chickpea salad is a fresh and fast salad mix for Empanadas.

Use canned chickpeas, thinly sliced cucumber, diced seeded tomato, red onion, fresh parsley, and bell peppers. Then, consider enhancing the taste with olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and pepper dressing.

Note: If you don’t like chickpeas, swap them for white beans.

Best Wine Pairing For Empanada

The best wine pairing for Empanadas include:

Beaujolais is a red, medium-bodied wine light on tannins with a bright, juicy freshness. In addition, Beaujolais has a slightly earthy, refreshing taste of minerality, making it an ideal wine for pairing with various foods, including Empanadas. 

Red Bourgueil is an aromatic wine with intense cherry, strawberry, and violet notes. It also has a light fruity flavor.

Rosé Tavel is a deep salmon wine with strawberry, cherry, watermelon, and rose aroma. Its fruity and floral notes complement chicken and pork Empanadas perfectly.

Red Bardolino is a delicious wine with an intense, vinous aroma and flavors of strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and ripe grapes. The dry, non-acidulous taste makes it an ideal pairing for Empanadas.

Best Sauces For Empanada

The three best Empananda sauces are Gruyere cheese sauce, roasted red pepper sauce, and cilantro lime sauce.

Gruyere Cheese Sauce

To make Gruyere cheese sauce, start by making a roux with butter and flour. Then, add dry mustard, a pinch of salt, and white pepper.

Stir in the milk and whisk the mixture until thickened. Lastly, add shredded Gruyere cheese, and enjoy.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Start by roasting red peppers in the oven. Then blend the peppers and cream cheese in a food processor.

Finish off the sauce by adding salt, garlic, and smoked paprika and process until smooth.

Cilantro Lime Sauce

To make your cilantro lime sauce base, use Greek yogurt, ripe avocado, olive oil, lime juice, and water. Then you’ll need spices like garlic, cilantro, onions, and salt.

Add all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse on high until combined.