This cheesy one pot empanada rice takes all of my favorite components from classic Puerto Rican empanadas and makes them gluten free!

A pot of empanada rice with a wooden spoon

If you like this dish, you will love this classic Puerto Rican rice recipe as it has similar flavors and ingredients. 

Love in Puerto Rico

When I first visited my mom’s old neighborhood in Puerto Rico, I fell in love with the food first.

There were little bakeries and food stands on almost every street selling the most amazing treats. These bites 100% inspired this one pot empanada rice.

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so what I really fell for were the fried savory bites. Alcapurrias, tostones, murrados, pastels! And of course, the empanadas. I was obsessed (as I usually am with any new cuisine).

Luckily, my mom and I found an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant here in Beaverton, Oregon that does a pretty amazing job replicating these classic bites. Most of the menu items are naturally gluten free as they use lots of plantains and root veggies as opposed to flour.

The only problem?  Empanadas are a dish classically made with flour. So after finding out about my allergies, I could no longer enjoy these in their true form. But the truth is, I always liked the filling more than the pastry on the outside anyway.

The obvious solution for me was to hack this dish into a super simple one pot empanada rice.

Ingredients to make empanada rice

A pot of empanada filling with a wooden spoon

One Pot Empanada Rice

This dish has all the best components of an empanada: rice slow cooked with tomato sauce, ground beef, Spanish olives, heat from real peppers, fresh garlic, and of course some cheese for good measure.

The cheese is optional, not traditional, but totally worth it. Some might argue that the pastry is the best part of an empanada but this cheesy one pot empanada rice will have you asking: “who needs gluten?”

A pot of empanada rice with a wooden spoon

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A pot of empanada rice with a wooden spoon

One Pot Empanada Rice

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 servings 1x
  • Category: Meal Prep
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican

Description

This cheesy one pot empanada rice takes all of my favorite components from classic Puerto Rican empanadas and makes them gluten free!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp minced hot pepper (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 810 sliced pimento olives
  • 1 cup white rice

Optional Garnish:

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • chopped cilantro


Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef with the diced onion, breaking up the meat with a spatula. Once the beef is browned, add minced garlic cloves and hot pepper.
  2. Add oregano, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, broth, olives, and rice. Bring to a boil, then cover, and lower to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Garnish with cheese (optional) and cilantro!