Spiced pumpkin and quinoa empanadas

This recipe came about when a little bit of left over pumpkin sat on it's own in the bottom of the fridge drawer. After going out for dinner too many night's in a row, the body was craving something home cooked yet something that required next to no effort at all. In this household, that means something that wraps all it's ingredients up in one tight package with the only additional thing needed being a quick salad. A little bit of inspiration from Pinterest and I was good to go with a mission to create some pastry-filled deliciousness with what I had in the kitchen. The first batch was made with filo pastry, a low-fuss option for those on the time-poor side. The second time around they went a little high-end with a wholemeal spelt and olive oil dough (as pictured). Both worked. I even saved some of the filling to have as a simple side dish throughout the week. How versatile. 

If you're going the pre-made dough way, this recipe is so simple. You roast everything on one tray, cook up the quinoa, mix it all together, wrap it all up and pop it back onto the same tray to cook. You only need one bowl, one baking tray and zero fancy tools. If you're making your own dough you still only need one bowl and one baking tray but you do need a little more time and a mixer never hurts (but is definitely not necessary). 

These hand-pies can also be made FODMAP-friendly and vegan for those who require it. The homemade dough is FODMAP free and vegan but if you want to buy pre-packaged pastry, make sure it's vegan and/or gluten-free. The filling calls for both onion and feta but this is easily interchangeable. If you are looking to lose the feta, add some toasted pine nuts or some vegan feta such as almond feta. If you need to cut the onion, I would suggest adding some extra spices to your pumpkin when roasting it and consider adding some toasted nuts as well (within the FODMAP friendly range). 

The thing I like most about this empanadas is that they aren't just full of potato and run-of-the-mill vegetables. They also aren't loaded with saturated fat like some store bought options. They indulge a guilty pleasure whilst retaining all the good you can get from a good old pastry parcel. Making the filling out of quinoa provides you with a higher protein content than your average pastry treat and if you're vegan or vegetarian, quinoa provides you with a complete protein - a rare thing with plant-based protein sources. 

The homemade pastry version uses spelt flour. A wheat-free option which is why it is suitable for people on a low FODMAP diet. Spelt is also lower in gluten making it a good alternative to wheat flour for people looking to provide themselves with more variety in their diet. You can read more about why this is important over on the 'health + wellbeing' page

makes 6 or so empanadas  


2 cups wholemeal spelt flour 

3 tbsp olive oil 

1/4 cup water + 2 tbsp 


500g pumpkin, thinly sliced (5mm thick)

2 tbsp coconut oil 

1 tspn cumin

1 tspn corinader

1/2 tspn hot paprika

1 red onion, cut into quarters 

1 cup quinoa, rinsed 

2 cups vegetable stock or water

1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

100g feta 

1/2 cup currants (optional) 

Olive oil, to brush 



1. Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a tray with baking paper 

2. Place the pumpkin, spices and oil into a mixing bowl and toss until it is evenly coated. Spread out onto the baking tray and place the chunks of onion on too. Place in the oven to cook for around 25 minutes. 

3. Quickly rinse your quinoa then place it in a saucepan with the vegetable stock or water and place it on the stove on a high heat. Bring the water to a boil, stir once then reduce the heat to a simmer, place a lid on the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid until then. 

4. To make your dough, add the flour to a bowl with the salt and quickly combine. Slowly add one tablespoon of olive oil at a time, combining as you go. Once well mixed, start adding the water one tablespoon at a time. Once you can knead the dough into a ball, you are done. Wrap it up in cling wrap and place it in the fridge to chill. 

5. After 15 minutes of the quinoa cooking, turn the stovetop off and leave the quinoa to continue steaming itself. 

6. Once your pumpkin and onion are done, remove them from the oven and place them in the mixing bowl. Roughly mash them up to begin forming the filling to your empanadas.

7. Add the coriander, feta and currants to the mixing bowl (or other ingredients if using) and combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. 

8. Remove the lid of the quinoa and fluff it up to ensure that there is no moisture left then add it to the rest of the ingredients. Combine everything well, taste for season and adjust accordingly. 

9. To assemble the pies, roll out the dough on a floured surface. Aim for it to be able to make 6 pies. Cut out 6 circles (I used a small saucepan lid to do this) and remove the excess dough. Place a small amount of mixture on each circle only filling half of it and ensuring you leave space around the edge to close the pie up. Fold the dough over the mixture and press the edges together (use a bit of water to make it stick) firmly then roll the edge in on itself and push it down with a fork (see picture for a better explanation!). 

10. Place your pies on the baking tray, lightly brush with olive oil and bake for around 30 minutes or until lightly golden and crispy. Allow to cool slightly then enjoy! 


  • If you do not have any spelt flour in your pantry, wholemeal flour is suitable to substitute in to the recipe 
  • If you don't have 6 mouths to feed, make the complete batch and freeze some before cooking. On a rainy day when cooking is not looking likely, just switch your oven on to 180 degrees and cook for an extra 15 minutes or so to allow for defrosting. 
  • If you're using a ready-made pastry, the most efficient way to wrap up your parcels is to cut the pastry into long rectangles and fold them up into triangles. To see how it's done, watch this You Tube clip. 

Did you make this recipe? Be sure to take a photo and tag @naturomedico to show me your creations


Roberta is trained in clinical nutritional medicine and has a strong belief that food is the most powerful form of medicine and should be used first and foremost where possible. If you would like more information on nutrition and how you can get the most out of your diet, contact Roberta at roberta@naturomedico.com