Empanadas are satisfying pockets of dough filled with a variety of tasty ingredients, both savory and sweet. Many Latin American countries have their own versions of this treat, and they’re easy to find in many cities across the U.S., especially those with a large Latine population. While some empanada doughs are made using eggs stolen from chickens and bovine mammary secretions (i.e., cow’s milk), vegan options only use animal-free ingredients. To celebrate this iconic appetizer, we’ve found some of the best vegan empanadas you can try in the U.S.:
Toluca Bakery and Cafe
You can find both sweet and savory empanadas at this all-vegan bakery based in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Flavors include spinach and mushroom as well as potato and jalapeño (all with vegan cheese to help spare friendly, playful cows) on the savory side and guava, apple, pineapple, and others on the sweet side.
This pop-up won the popular vote for the best vegan empanada in Los Angeles in PETA Latino’s “Food Fight: Empanadas Edition,” so you know its pockets of goodness are the real deal. Now, you can find them at farmer’s markets around the Tampa Bay area in Florida. KOMEME has four savory empanadas (samosa, black beans and mole, potato and leek, and spinach, almond, and kale) as well as a rotating menu of sweet flavors.
With locations in Chicago and New York City, Fons offers 12 flavors of fun, naturally colored empanadas representing cultures from around the world, including the Italian-inspired Margherita (San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and vegan “fonsheeze” mozzarella), the Cuban-inspired Ropa Vieja (Cuban-style shredded jackfruit beef in a chia dough), and the Mexican-inspired Tinga (simmered onions and jackfruit in a chipotle garlic sauce). It also offers nationwide shipping.
At Mis Tacones in Portland, Oregon, you can find gluten-free and vegan empanadas, with rotating flavors like Soyrizo con Papa, Elote, Three Hermanas (corn, beans, and squash), and “Huevos” con Papa (a tofu scramble–stuffed delight). Mis Tacones owners Carlos Reynoso and Polo Abram Bañuelos were inspired by Los Angeles’ street-food scene and opened the restaurant partly in an effort to offer a space where queer people of color could come together and enjoy delicious vegan food.
VSPOT offers several flavors of crispy wheat empanadas stuffed with various vegan fillings, from Philly Mushroom & Cheese to Jamaican Jerk. It even has an Italian Empanada that’s stuffed with a vegan meat and cheese pasta and served with a side of marinara sauce. But Latine flavors are at the core of VSPOT’s menu, so you can also find Colombian-seasoned potato, rice, and beans empanadas alongside the less traditional options. The restaurant has two locations, in Brooklyn, New York, and Hoboken, New Jersey.
Happy Vegan Bakers
Happy Vegan Bakers in Hialeah, Florida, is using animal-friendly ingredients to reinterpret classic Latine flavors. Its empanada flavors include hearty “Meat” & Potato, Spinach & “Cheeze,” and Chik’n and Potato. It also sells sweet pastelitos and other Latine favorites, like churros, tostadas, and Cuban croquetas.
It’s easy to find your favorite Latin American foods made with animal-friendly ingredients. Find your new favorite restaurant with PETA Latino’s guide to the best Latine-owned vegan spots. You can also find some mouthwatering vegan postres and learn about how Latine-owned brands are making a splash in the vegan meat world. Going vegan is the best way to protect animals, the environment, and your own health. Make the change today by ordering our free vegan starter kit: