I have mentioned arepas before, but honestly I just love them. If you aren't familiar with arepas, they are a staple food in Venezuela and Columbia. An arepa is basically a corn patty made out of precooked corn flour,P.A.N . I learned how to make arepas from my dear friend Angie who is from Venezuela.
I am always looking for different filling options for arepas since I find myself making arepas about once a month. Once you make them a few times, you'll want to make them often because they are easy and very delicious. You can find P.A.N. flour is most Latin Supermarkets and even in some major grocery stores. P.A.N isn't the same things as the Mexican Masa Harina and cannot be substitute. You also order it online.
I was looking for a lighter filling version for the new year. I love chickpea salads and was inspired to create a filling that was similar to a classic vegan chickpea salad. I added in avocado because they are so good for you, and I really just love adding avocados to anything that I am able to!
The avocado + chickpea filling is creamy, rich, and a healthier arepa filling option. The avocado is creamy and the chickpeas add a nice texture. The filling can be made a few hours ahead of time. It actually tastes better when it has been chilled for a few hours. If you like a lot of filling like I do, I recommend doubling the filling recipe.
For the Chickpeas + Avocado
- 2 Large Avocado, roughly diced
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoons Lime Juice
- 1 15 Once Can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced small
- ½ Japapeno, seeded and finely minced
- 2-3 Tablespoons Red Onion, finely diced
- 1 Small Garlic Clove, finely minced
- 3 Tablespoons Cilantro, finely chopped
- ½ Tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 2 Cups P.A.N. Corn Flour
- ½ Cup additional warm water, if needed
- Vegetable Oil
For the filling:
- In a mixing bowl add the diced avocado, vegan mayonnaise, and lime juice. Mix with a fork until the avocado is nice and creamy. Add in the drained chickpeas and mash with a fork. You just want to break the chickpeas apart; it is ok to leave some of the chickpea whole.
- Add the rest of the filling ingredients. Gently combine the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more salt or lime juice if needed.
- Place in the fridge. Chill until ready to use. I recommend at least 1 hour of chill time. A few hours is even better.
For the arepas:
- In a large mixing bowl, add the warm water and salt. Gradually start to add the P.A.N. corn flour. Knead the dough with your hands until it comes together. You want the dough to be really moist. If it starts to crack, add in a little of the additional water as needed. Squeeze out any lumps that might have formed in the dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
- Divided the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each dough portion into a ball. Then form the dough ball into a patty that is apart 3 to 4 inches in diameter by using the palms of your hands. If the dough is drying out and cracking when you roll it, add a little warm water to your hands before forming the disks.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly oil a large skillet over medium heat. Let the skillet get hot before adding the arepa dough. In batches, add the formed arepas disks to the skillet. Cook each arepa about 4-6 minutes on each side, or until they start to get light brown spots. Transfer to the baking sheet.
- Once all the arepas have been browned in the skillet and transfered to the baking sheet, place in the oven and cook for 14-18 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. They will finishing cooking in the oven. When they are done, the outer part will sound hard and hallow when tapped with your hand. They should also be a nice golden brown color. Remove from the oven.
- Let cool a few minutes before handling. Carefully slice the arepas in half and fill them with the avocado + chickpea filling. Serve right away!