Prep time: About 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 30 minutes, including the pan grilling
Calories per serving: 181 (based on 8 bite-sized servings)
Arepas is a popular Southern American staple (Venezuelan and Colombian in origin). These are actually corn cakes in English. The best way I can describe them is that they are like savory pancakes.
The typical filling is called Reina Pepiada, the Venezuelan equivalent of chicken salad, which is rich and flavorful. In true Ella Bella fashion, I had to think about keeping the richness of it without calorie overload.
I first had arepas at a friend’s house recently, and this just proves how much I really enjoyed it 🙂
For the filling:
1 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1/2 lb.)
1 to 1.5 cups coleslaw mix
16 oz (two 8 oz containers) plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
½ small yellow onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
1 tsp. Goya cilantro cooking base (or fresh cilantro)
2 stalks green onion, chopped
Sea salt, about 1 teaspoon (adjust according to taste)
1/ teaspoon ground black pepper (adjust according to taste)
½ teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
For the Arepa:
1 cup White Cornmeal Masarepa (I used Goya brand)
¾ to 1 cup warm water
¼ cup 2% low moisture grated mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil or baking spray
- Cook the chicken breast in salted water on medium high heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and let cool.
- While the chicken is cooling, prepare the filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coleslaw mix with Greek yogurt, onion, green onion, cilantro, sea salt and black pepper. Mix well. Mix in the mayonnaise until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Once the chicken breast are cool enough to shred, shred it into thin strips and gradually add in to the yogurt mixture. Mix well. Add in a bit more salt and pepper if needed. Since Greek yogurt is a bit sour, I thought of adding a little bit of sugar and that did the trick for me. Make sure all ingredients are mixed well and balanced. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate.
- To make the arepas, prep a small bowl where you can mix the corn flour with the salt and warm water. I suggest not pouring the water into the flour mixture, but to gradually do so. Once you add in the grated cheese, you might also need to add in a bit more water. The mixture will feel coarse but you’ll be able to form it into a ball. That’s your indicator the consistency is right. Divide dough into 8 equal portions.
- Heat olive oil or baking spray in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Flatten each dough ball and add them into the hot skillet. Leave at least two inches of space between dough portions. I was able to fit 4 dough balls on my pan since I chose to make them small. They were about 2 inches in width each.
- Cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, about 7 minutes total. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer onto plate, top with the skinny Reina Pepiada (chicken salad) and top with cheese if preferred.
I had these for dinner last night, then for lunch today, then for dinner again this evening. Good thing they’re low cal, and certainly satisfying! Enjoy yours!
Eat well and be well. – Ella Bella