I have found Portuguese culture to be beautifully snack-centric. Every grocery store, market, bakery and café offers their own version of this Tuna Hand Pie. They are a protein-packed, delicious pescatarian treat!
This is an easy recipe that's also the perfect snack on the go. We've packed this savory tuna pie for hikes, beach days, and even a long train ride to Porto.
A great picnic option!
The simple ingredients you'll need to make this recipe:
Before we get to the step by step directions, a few notes about the ingredients:
Pizza crust: store bought pizza crust is the perfect short-cut crust for our tuna pies. Substitute ready-made empanada wrappers for another quick wrap option. Ready made pie crust could also work, although it will be a richer, more flaky crust than the chewy pizza crust.
Veggies: red and green peppers, onion and tomatoes are my favorite vegetable combo, but feel free to use your favorite veggies. Carrots, scallions, celery or a bag of mixed diced veggies all work.
Wine: the recipe calls for a small amount of white wine. If you don't have it or prefer not to cook with alcohol, substitute vegetable stock or chicken broth (if cooking for meat-eaters).
Egg (not shown): I use a beaten egg to brush the dough before baking. Substitute egg white or melted butter.
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions:
1. Make empanada filling
Begin by preheating your oven to 425℉. Heat a large skillet over medium. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil along with your diced vegetables - onions, tomatoes, red and green peppers. Add the bay leaf to the pan.
Sauté until vegetables are very tender, around 8 minutes. Add garlic, smoked and regular paprika, salt and pepper, and cook another 2 minutes.
Drain tuna of any excess oil (I usually save the tuna oil in a small bowl to make salad dressings or fry chickpeas). Add wine and drained tuna to the pan of sautéed vegetables and spices. Gently mix to combine.
Cook on medium low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove bay leaf. Transfer tuna vegetable mixture to a medium bowl to cool a bit.
2. Form pastry
While filling is cooling, divide pizza dough into 4 pieces. Shape each quarter into a 5-6 inch round. I found that it was easier to use a small plate to measure out circles in the dough, rather than cutting the round into quarters and shaping each into a circle. But you've got to do what makes you happy here. Use all purpose flour to dust your countertop and cutting tools to prevent the dough from sticking or tearing. Place pie circles on parchment paper over a baking sheet.
Fill each dough round with ⅓ cup of tuna vegetable filling, leaving a border around the edges for sealing.
Fold over dough and seal by pressing closed firmly with the tines of a fork.
3. Bake tuna pie
Brush tops of empanadas with beaten egg mixture and sprinkle coarse salt over the tuna pies.
Bake on center rack of oven until light brown, about 12-15 minutes. Once golden brown and cooked through, remove from oven.
4. Serve and enjoy
Transfer baked tuna pies to a wire rack. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Looking for more canned fish recipes?
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
In Portugal, tinned tuna in extra virgin olive oil is easy to access. But if you can't find it in your local grocery store, go with the tuna in water. Just adjust the seasoning to your liking, as tuna in water has less flavor and salt than tuna in olive oil.
Absolutely. Just heat oven and adjust the bake time according to the package instructions on the pastry crust. Pie crust has lots of cold butter or shortening in the dough, so you will get a flaky crusty instead of the chewy, pretzel-like crust. Both delicious and easy recipes. Something the whole family will enjoy!
I haven't tested it with cheese, but I'd love to hear how it turns out! I would recommend starting with a half cup cheese in the filling. A melty white cheese like gouda or Monterey jack sounds delicious. A sharp cheddar cheese would also hit the spot. A sprinkle of parmesan cheese over the egg washed crust would bake up nicely, as well.
To store, wrap each tuna pie tightly in plastic wrap or transfer them all to an airtight container. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 weeks.