Arepas are the iconic food and daily staple of Venezuelans. For my daughter Erika, making and eating them is a spiritual practice that connects her to our heritage. She’s learned to make them intuitively by feeling the masa between her fingers to determine when it has the perfect texture. For her, there is no recipe – just a measure of her pride and identity. These sliceable griddle cakes are intended to be filled with various types of savory foods. I love mixing different farm-fresh veggies into the dough to create a multicolored arepa experience.
Arepas Multicolor with Queso Fresco and Tomato
Yields | 12 arepas |
Plain Arepa Dough
- 2 cups P.A.N. pre-cooked white cornmeal
- 2½ cups water
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
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- 1½ cups beets, cooked and puréed
- 1½ cups spinach, blanched and puréed
- 1½ cups orange carrots, cooked and puréed
| Preparation | Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, water and salt; knead by hand until a smooth dough is formed. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Place three dough balls into separate bowls and add one veggie purée to each, leaving one bowl plain. Resume kneading each dough ball to combine colors evenly. Roll each dough ball into three small balls and flatten between your palms to a disk, about ½-inch thick.
Add olive oil to a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Place as many arepas as you can fit in skillet and cook, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown. Transfer arepas to baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest a few minutes and gently slice in half horizontally. Top with queso fresco, tomatoes, salt and olive oil to taste. Serve and enjoy.