Recipe for Pastéis from Cantine Toca

Chef Evy Mendes from Cantine Toca shared with us this delicious Pastéis recipe, a Cape Verdean take on the empanada. Cantine Toca is an online cantine based in Montreal offering West African vegan meals. This particular iteration of the empanada is special because it has a crust made of sweet potato and cornmeal. A perfect dish to serve and share with friends!

Recipe for Pastéis


Prepping time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
Serves: 15 people


For the Massa (Dough)

● 250g of sweet potato
● 180g of yellow cornmeal (add more if needed)
● water (if needed)
● salt
● oil for frying

For the Filling

● 240g of shredded tempeh
● 100g of tomato paste
● parsley
● 2 carrots (diced)
● 150g of diced onions
● 1 green bell pepper
● (diced)
● 2 tbsp of oil
● 2 tbsp of paprika
● 1 tbsp of cumin
● 1 tbsp of netetou (fermented locust beans)
● 2 tbsp of garlic & ginger paste
● scotch bonnet pepper
● 500mL of water
● salt
● pepper


For the Massa (Dough):

1. Bake sweet potatoes for 45-50min at 350F Peel off sweet potatoes

2. Mash sweet potatoes in a bowl and add salt and pepper

3. Add cornmeal to mashed sweet potato and knead the dough. If the dough is too wet, add a little bit of cornmeal. If it’s too dry, add water.

4. Separate the dough into balls of about 25g

For the Filling

1. Add 2 tbsp of oil in a pan

2. Add onions, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic paste and bell pepper to the pan

3. Stir well until the onions have softened slightly Add shredded tempeh, salt, pepper, spices and chopped parsley and stir well

4. Add tomato paste and stir well

5. Add water and stir well

6. Wait until the filling reaches a boiling point to add carrots and cover the pot

7. When carrots are cooked, uncover the pot to let the filling reduce

Folding and Cooking

1. Use two Ziplocs and a tortilla press to flatten dough balls

2. Add 1 tbsp of filling to the flattened dough

3. Fold the dough in half over the filling and press the edges with your fingers (start with the centre, right and left and then go all around the edges)

4. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling

5. Put some oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat

6. Fry the pastéis for about 5 min (until it reaches a golden colour)