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Arepas with Cheese

These South American savory bites are stuffed with cheese and pan-fried. Serve them for a hearty breakfast alongside a frothy hot chocolate or as a light dinner.

Serves 8
Ready in 30 mins
Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
252 calories per serving


> 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
> 1 tsp kosher salt
> 2 cups precooked white cornmeal (masarepa)
> 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more to serve if desired
> Canola oil, as needed
> Butter, to serve (optional)
> 1 avocado, halved and sliced (optional)
> 1 cup canned pinto or black beans (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, combine the water and salt. Gradually add the cornmeal while mixing with your hands. Using your hands, stir to combine, until a soft dough forms.
Divide the dough into 8 equal-size balls. Form each ball into a patty about ¼ inch thick. Place 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese in the center of each patty. Fold the dough over the cheese to completely cover and seal. Form into 3-inch-wide, ½-inch-thick rounds.
In a 12-inch skillet, heat ¼ cup canola oil on medium. Working in batches, add more oil, if needed, and arepas to skillet and cook 5 min. per side, until golden brown. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake 10 min., until edges are crisp and golden. Eat the arepas whole, or slice in half and fill with the butter, mozzarella, avocado, and beans, if desired.

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