New locally-owned food brand Leila’s Empanadas has arrived, providing North Valley residents the opportunity to savor the authentic flavors of Brazil.
So, what is an empanada? It’s a half-moon-shaped baked pastry stuffed with a variety of fillings. These hand-sized turnovers start as a soft pocket of dough that is filled with scrumptious ingredients, then folded over itself to seal before cooking to have a rich, flaky coating. These delicious, wrapped bundles are a very versatile cuisine and can be eaten as a satisfying meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. The name of this handheld food comes from the Galician verb “empanar,” and translates as “embreaded,” that is, wrapped in bread.
Owner and chef Leila Beltrame’s passion for making artisan empanadas was born from her grandma ‘Nona’ inspiring her love of cooking. Growing up in southern Brazil in a farming family, she knows first-hand the benefits of cooking with fresh ingredients and the challenges for when that is no longer an option. Her family’s farm encountered devastation from losing crops to frosts on multiple occasions, and it was thanks to Nona’s knowledge of preserving and preparing food that they were able to survive the destruction and rebuild.
With her upbringing, Leila has graciously committed to having a portion of proceeds from every order go to battle child hunger locally. She has chosen to partner with North Valley-based nonprofit Homeless Engagement Lift Partnership to benefit their H.E.L.P. Snackz Program that fills the hunger gap by providing meals to local students through daily afternoon nutritional snack bags.
“I know how hard it is to try to learn with an empty stomach,” Beltrame says. “I believe in feeding and treating kids well so that they will be able to create a better future for themselves and others.” This cause is very close to Leila’s heart and tied to her company’s vision: “We believe that everyone should have access to healthy, delicious and convenient food.”
Leila’s Empanadas are available now at leilasempanadas.com by the dozen for local pre-order and pick-up at Sam’s Frozen Yogurt in Anthem or regional delivery through DoorDash. Convenient options include three flavors of empanadas, including savory beef, succulent chicken and olive, and delectable apple with crème brûlée as well as their appetizing gluten-free Brazilian cheese rolls with a scrumptious cheese filling. All four handheld food products are made with quality, wholesome ingredients and are quick to heat and serve, providing delicious, healthy, and easy meal options in opposition to settling for fast food.
As Anthem residents, Leila and her family are elated to bring this traditional Latin-American flavorful cuisine to the North Phoenix community and give back to others in need, living by the mantra “Let’s eat well, together!”