South American Arepas

Have you ever tried arepas? Arepas are a classic South American dish which are gaining in popularity in North America. These beautiful little corn pockets are filled with adobo pork, guacamole crema, roasted adobo plantain and topped with cilantro. Plantains are a staple of South American cuisine. These adobo roasted plantain are a delicious introduction to this exotic vegetable. Plantains look like bananas but eaten unripe they are starchy like a potato.  This easy and exotic dish provides a balance of creamy avocado creama, spicy adobo pork, crunchy red cabbage and savoury adobo plantain. You will fall in love with this dish 🙂

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Prepare the plantain: Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel and slice the plantain into ½-inch rounds. Place the plantain slices on a lined baking sheet. Coat with oil (1/2 tsp, 1 tsp) and sprinkle half the adobo spice on the plantain. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the plantain are golden.


Prepare the Arepas and garnish: Preheat oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl, add warm water (1 1/2 cup, 3 cups), and salt(1/2 tsp, 1 tsp). Slowly add and combine maserepa. You’re looking for a dough that doesn’t easily stick to your hands, is moldable and moist, and can be rolled into a ball. Once you have that consistency, cover with a towel for 5 minutes. 

Open the red cabbage under running cold water to reduce the cabbage smell.  Separate the cilantro leaves from the stem. Set the garnishes aside.


Pan fry the arepas: Separate the dough in balls (6, 12).  Carefully press the ball between the palms of your hands to form into a roughly 1/2-inch thick disc. If it cracks a lot on the sides, your dough may need 1 to 2 tsp more water. A little cracking is normal. You can close the cracks by patting the edge with your hands. 

Heat the oil (1 tbsp, 2 tbsp) to a large pan. Heat on medium heat. Depending on the size of the pan you may have room for 6 or 4 arepas at a time.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until deep golden brown, flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side.  


Bake the Arepas: Lower the oven to 350F to finish baking the plantain and bake the arepas. Transfer the arepas to a lined baking sheet and  bake for 20 minutes or until slightly puffed up and a little more golden brown in color. Let the arepas cool about 5 minutes and slice the arepa in half to build ”sandwiches”.

Note: the middle of the arepas will be sticky, we recommend using a bread knife and wiping it with a moist towel as required.  


Make the filling:  While the arepas are baking, cut the onion in small 1/2 cm dice. In a large pan, add the oil (1/2 tsp, 1 tsp). Turn on the heat to medium and add the ground pork and onion diced. Cook about 8 minutes.  Add the second half adobo spice and combine. 

Note: Ensure ground pork is cooked to at least 165°F


Fill, Garnish and Serve: Fill each aerepas with the pork filling, the guacamole crema, red cabbage and roasted plantain. Garnish each aerepa with cilantro. Serve 3 arepas per person.

Note: These may appear small but they are very filling.



2 portions

4 portions




adobo spice

1 1/2 tsp

3 tsp


1 1/2 cup

3 cups


3 gr

6 gr

red cabbage

75 gr

150 gr


1 small

1 medium

ground pork

200 gr

400 gr

guacamole crema

3 tbsp

1/3 cup


1/2 tsp + 1 tbsp

1 tsp + 2 tbsp


1/2 tsp

1 tsp

warm water*

1 1/2 cup

3 cups

Recommended Wine Pairing

Deep ruby colour; red cherry, earthy and vanilla aromas; light to medium bodied, dry; raspberry and cherry flavours with a nice touch of spice on the finish
Region: California
Alcohol: 13.5%
(SLGA): $14.62

sterling vintner;s pinot noir

Pale straw/yellow colour; floral, ripe peach, honey and lychee fruit aromas; off-dry, light to medium bodied, softly structured with balanced acidity, flavours of honeysuckle, rose water, pear, citrus and lychee; hints of spice on the finish.
Region: Canada
Colour: White
Price (SLGA): $12.99

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Health Fact

Regina Naturopathic

Dr Craig Herrington, Naturopath

Cabbage is a great source of several powerful antioxidants including, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbionole. 1 serving of cabbage contains 85% of the body’s daily requirement for vitamin K, and over half of our vitamin C requirements.

Cooking with Kids

Beyond Baby Nutrition

Lacey Engel, Registred Dietician

Yum foods 
Serve “yum” foods with new food. When your child sees food they recognize it may entice them to explore other, new foods too.

Cooking for kids?
Go easy on the adobo spice blend as kids may not like it’s spicy flavour.

Making this recipe with kids?
Ask the child to help by completing step 6:

  • Fill, Garnish & Serve


Note: We cannot guarantee any dish is allergen free. 

Weight Watchers Smart Points

Nutritional Information