These Valentine’s day breakfast cheese arepas are incredibly easy to make and loaded with delicious savory, rich, and uber-cheesy flavors. And you can even make them in advance and reheat them on the day!
Give them a try, and let me know what you think! And don’t forget to check out the hundreds of other recipes on my blog for more inspiration!
What Are Valentine’s Day Breakfast Cheese Arepas?
If you’ve never heard of arepas, be prepared to have your life changed! These are extremely popular South American snacks made from pan-fried dough. They are most known for their Colombian, Panamanian, and Venezuelan origin, where they are still extremely popular today.
They are very similar to Salvadorian Pupusas and Mexican Gorditas.
Usually, the maize bread is stuffed with a variety of fillings, including cheese, cured meats, and fresh ingredients, like avocado or tomato. However, there really is no limit to what you can fill these tiny breads with.
Today, we are taking these traditional treats, and turning them into the ultimate unique Valentine’s day breakfast snacks! They are still as easy to make as the original recipe, but we will be making an arepa recipe with cheese!
It is really simple! The dough usually consists of lukewarm water, arepa flour (masarepa), salt, and butter. Today, we will be adding a little bit of shredded mozzarella cheese as well. It will enrich the dough and give it a cheesy, tender texture.
How To Make Arepas With Cheese For Valentine’s Day
To make the dough, mix together lukewarm water, arepa flour, salt, and butter in a large bowl.
Next, shape the dough into flat discs and cut out heart shapes using a cookie cutter.
Fry the hearts in butter until golden brown on both sides.
For the filling, add beaten and seasoned eggs to the same cookie cutter used for shaping the arepas. Cook them until they have set before removing them from the molds.
Slice open your fried hearts and fill them with cooked eggs, ham, and cheese slices. Melt the cheese over medium heat before serving warm with your favorite smoothie or drink.
What Kind of Cheese Can I Use For Arepas
Now, while I use shredded mozzarella cheese in today’s recipe, there are also other options you can use. I wouldn’t say there is a “best cheese for arepas,” but there is definitely a kind you should stick to.
Any stretchy cheese will work great in any cheese arepa recipe. The cheese should also be easy-melting like most stretch cheeses are.
So, some of your other options can include queso fresco or Colombian cheese. And, if you really have to, even white cheddar will work fine.
What Can You Serve With Today’s Valentine’s Day Breakfast Cheese Arepas?
Many people LOVE serving hot chocolate or any warm chocolate drink with these breakfast cheese arepas.
However, I would also recommend trying one of my Valentine’s day smoothies. If you don’t like any of them, you can try one of the many alternatives I have on my site. Sticking with Valentine’s day pink and red theme, you can also try my Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe.
And, if you are planning on serving these for lunch, Pasteles En Hoja (Chicken or Beef) and a Crispy Chicken Salad would be my top choices.
Arepa con queso is directly translated to “cornbread with cheese.” Basically, it’s the Spanish name for cheese arepas. It’s the delicious toasty treat we are making today.
You can substitute the arepa flour with masa harina or cornmeal. The amounts you use will be slightly less than what the recipe calls for. Usually, you can use 1 1/2 cups of the substitute for every 2 cups of arepa flour. But you may need to experiment with these quantities.
The dough itself has quite a neutral flavor. You will definitely pick up some corn-like flavors and depending on which type of cheese you are using, a cheesy undertone as well. The filling is what adds the most flavor to these mini sandwiches.
Valentine’s Day Breakfast Cheese Arepas
For the arepas
- 1 3/4 – 2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 cups (348g) arepa flour
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the arepa dough
- Add the lukewarm water to a large mixing bowl.
- Then, add about 1/4 cup of arepa flour inside. Stir it well with a wooden spoon.
- Next, add in all of the salt. Again, mix it well with the spoon.
- Now you can add the remaining arepa flour in small batches, mixing the ingredients well between each addition.
- Keep mixing the arepa base until the dough become dry and chunky.
- Next, add the unsalted butter and rub it into the dough using your hands. You will see that the dough will start to get a thicker, almost mash-like consistency.
- Finally, add the shredded mozzarella cheese and mix it in the dough using your hands again. All the ingredients should be well distributed and evenly mixed.
Shape the arepas
- Take a handful of dough and shape it into a flat disc. The disc should be roughly 1/3-inch thick and be larger than the cookie cutter you are using.
- Place the disc on a flat working surface. Then, cut out the heart shape with a cookie cutter (or any other shape of your choice).
- Set the heart arepa aside and repeat the shaping process with the remaining dough.
Cook and fill the arepas
- You can start by cooking the arepa pieces first. Heat some butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
- Then, add the arepas. Leave them to fry until they become golden brown. Flip them over and continue cooking them on the other side until they become golden as well.
- Once cooked, remove them from the heat and set them aside. You can now continue making the fillings.
- For the egg filling, add the same heart-shaped cookie cutter to a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan. You can use medium heat again.
- Add some beaten and seasoned eggs (anyway that you like) to the cutter.
- Leave the eggs to cook until they have set. Then, remove it from the mold, flip it over, and allow it to briefly cook on the other side.
- To assemble your arepas, slice them open using a sharp serrated knife.
- Add the cooked heart-shaped eggs, ham, and cheese slices. You can mix and match the fillings to your liking.
- Add the filled arepas back into the frying pan over medium heat so the cheese can melt a little.
- Serve them immediately with your favorite smoothie or drink.
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