Empanada Gallega de Atun: Galician Tuna Empanada

My mother was born in Uruguay but her family is originally from Northern Spain, specifically Galicia. Did you know that Empanadas are originally from Spain? I remember my mother making Pascualina (Spanish Spinach pie) when I was a child. Pascualina, spaghetti, lasagna, Many of the recipes in Uruguay come from Spain and Italy because of the very large Spanish and Italian population.

Today I made Empanada Gallega de Atun, this can be made as a pie for a larger group but for just myself and my husband, an empanada is more than enough served with a salad.

I made the dough from scratch but you can easily used a pre-made pie shell. Just let it thaw on the counter for 15 minutes fill 1/2 of it and fold the other 1/2 over top like a pocket.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 240 grams
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 3 grams
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 60 ml
  • 1/2 cup water 125 ml


  • 5 cans of flaked tuna (for a larger pie – I made this recipe and froze 1/2 of the filling for another meal)
  • 1/2 onion finely diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika & spices of your choice. I used garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and some Old Bay seasoning.
  • 1 cup sliced green Olives
  • sea salt & black pepper

*Note: Original Tuna Empanada has sliced boiled egg. I left them out because my husband can’t eat eggs


  • 1 whisked egg, olive oil or melted butter to brush overtop.


  1. To make the dough, add 2 cups of all-purpose flour into a large bowl, along with 1/2 tsp of sea salt, mix the dry ingredients together and then make a well, add in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and a generous 1/2 cup water, mix together until you form a dough, then using your hands, knead for just 1 to 2 minutes or until the dough is well combined, shape into a ball, place in the bowl and cover with a dishcloth and set aside.
  2. If adding eggs: While the dough is resting, add 3 eggs into a sauce pan, fill with cold water to 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the eggs and heat it with a high heat, once it comes to a boil, place a lid on the pan and turn off the heat, let the eggs sit for 11 to 12 minutes, then drain and add the eggs into a bowl with ice cold water
  3. Meanwhile, drain 5 cans tuna into a sieve and remove any excess oil or water.
  4. Heat a fry pan with a medium-high heat and add in 3 tbsp olive oil. After 1 minute add in 1/2 onion, 1/2 red & 1/2 green bell pepper, the olives and mix with the olive oil. After 5 minutes and when the vegetables are lightly sauteed, add in a generous 1/2 tsp of sweet smoked paprika and quickly mix together, then add in 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and season with sea salt & black pepper. Mix together and simmer for 2 minutes or until the tomato sauce has thickened up then turn off the stove add the drained tuna and mix together until well mixed, set aside
  5. Sprinkle a clean flat surface with some all-purpose flour, add the ball of dough on top, cut into 2 evenly sized pieces and shape each one into a ball
  6. Roll out one of the doughs, you want a rectangular shape about 1/8″
  7. Add the rolled out piece of dough into a baking tray lined with parchment paper, add the tuna mixture over the dough, in a single flat layer, leaving a border of 1 inch on the outer edges. Now add in the hardboiled eggs (optional) over the tuna mixture
  8. Roll out the other ball of dough, again you want a rectangular shape about 1/8 ” thickness, once it´s rolled out cut off a little bit from one side and reserve, as you want this top dough to be smaller, add over the tuna mixture and roll the bottom dough over the top one, pinching the outer edges to seal the empanada
  9. Grab the left over dough and cut into strips, twist and add over the empanada in a X design, this is optional, but it gives the empanada a beautiful design. Lightly pierce the top dough with a fork and brush one whisked egg, oil or butter all over the empanada
  10. Add into a preheated oven, bake at 375 F and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top dough is golden then remove from the oven and serve, enjoy!

My mother tells me this is a traditional dish served at Easter when red meat is usually not eaten.

Buen Provecho!



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