Fried. Baked. Stuffed. Topped. I bring you the arepa… vehicle of endless flavor combinations. Always delicious. AND they happen to be gluten free. My arepa recipe is a blend of 3 beautiful cultures and one I know you’ll love as much as I do!
I grew up in South Florida surrounded by a literal sea of culture. From the Cuban lechon asado, to Puerto Rican and Dominican mofongo stuffed with shrimp, Colombian tamales, Venezuelan arepas, Jamaican style oxtail, to a good ol basket of Miami Subs French fries… you have to work HARD to find a meal that isn’t great in 305 – 786 – 954 area codes.
But the arepa. Made with just cooked cornmeal, water, and salt forms something heavenly, called- maize dough. It’s the perfect crossing of tortillas and pancakes. Is there anything more humble yet so delicious? I think not. And so I decided to stop just eating them and learned how to make them.
12 servings per container
- Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
- Total Fat 7.6g 12%
- Saturated Fat 2.7g 14%
- Cholesterol 10mg 4%
- Sodium 254mg 11%
- Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
- Total Carbohydrate 21.8g 8%
- Dietary Fiber 2.1g 9%
- Sugars .1g
- Protein 5.5g 11%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Colombian Arepa Recipe
First up was my Colombian Father in Law, which was going to be a challenge. He’s NOT the type to enjoy company in the kitchen. The man enjoys his space and a cold Corona with salt, hot sauce and lime. I knew it was a gamble asking him to teach me… I had nothing to lose so I went for it! Reluctantly he said yes, but only if I could keep up and didn’t make too many mistakes HAHAHA.
He taught me his arepa recipe. I learned how to mix, press, and grill large, very thin, white corn arepas that were then immediately slathered in butter and topped with farmers cheese. Served, of course, with a hot cup of cafe con leche. I did well enough to earn my own cold Corona AND the promise of learning how to make empanadas next. Which is another story for another time! I did almost get banished from the kitchen during that lesson…
Venezuelan Arepa Recipe
Next, I asked my best friend, who is Colombian American married to a Venezuelan, to show me how they make arepas. A similar arepa recipe, but also, quite a bit different. She got to mixing the maize (cooked cornmeal) the same way my Father in Law had… but then added shredded cheese. Pressed into a much smaller and thicker pancake shape and pan fried with nothing more than a spray of oil. Her family often bakes them as well.
She whipped a whole basket full of those bad boys up and we got to stuffing with butter, cream cheese, ham and avocado. Just a little incision at the top of the arepa and those guys pop right open when they’re warm. We enjoyed with cafe con leche and orange juice and chatted about childhood memories until it was time for lunch. Which we decided should be- more arepas! I mean why work harder when you can work smarter?
My Arepa Recipe
Eventually, I decided it was my turn. And for years now this is how I make my arepa recipe- as a Gringa, married to a Colombian American, taught by a Colombian, a Colombian American, and a Venezuelan. And I’m proud of it.
I made the decision to stick with yellow cornmeal, to keep them thicker for stuffing, to mix shredded sharp cheese straight into the batter, and to fry in oil. There’s a whole new level of crispy-crunchy-glee that happens when you add cheese and oil. A joy that can’t compare to stuffing more cheese into an arepa while it’s piping hot. Making these corn cakes the perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime meal. Consumed solo or enjoyed as a side!
My favorite way to enjoy this arepa recipe is on a cool morning, windows wide open, with a cup of spiced hot chocolate in hand. Followed by a French press, some fried eggs, and a random conversation about space travel with my husband. I’m not sure a moment in time gets more perfect than that.
Let Me Know
I had eaten my fair share of arepas since childhood, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I made a point to learn how to make them for myself. I’m so glad I did! To share food is to share family is to share culture is to share history.
Are there any foods that you’ve enjoyed for years but never attempted to make? I’d encourage you to pick one and get to it! See if there’s anyone in your family or friend group who might be able to show you how. I can guarantee you’ll learn more than a recipe. You’ll discover a deeper sense of your own history OR a better understanding of theirs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed and been inspired. Let me know down below if you’ll be giving this recipe a try!
While you’re at the sharing and commenting, please Save to Pinterest or Share on Facebook. I need all the support I can get to keep on growing this dream of mine. A place where practical beats perfect- and simple, delicious food is a lifestyle. A place where together, we can begin filling homes and tables with joy.
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~