Savory Autumn Harvest Turnovers with Cilantro Pesto

Savory Autumn Harvest Turnover with Sausages

Autumn is a tricky time of year. It is a time we say good-bye to all that has sprouted in the gardens and the fields around us. At the same time, we are faced with how to best enjoy and keep the bounty of fresh vegetables that fill our gardens, our CSA baskets or our shelves when we come home from the market.

I confess I often get a bit sad this time of year as I turn inward and reflect on the winter to come. I will confess, too, that this is a particularly dark October for my family. Our beloved Labrador Retriever, Clementine, died a few days ago. She was elderly, had some troubles, but the end came suddenly. We are still in the process of accepting this loss.

Strange as it may seem to people outside our family, I associate making bread dough with Clementine. When she was a younger dog, rising bread dough was something she loved to steal from the counter. Even more so, one of her favorite treats was a chunk of stale bread a few days later.

To comfort my family, I made these Savory Autumn Harvest Turnovers both so I could think of Clementine in the process, and so that we could nurture ourselves with the warm bread filled with recently harvested potatoes, corn and peas. They were delicious.

Don't let the time it takes to make a yeast dough steer you away from making these turnovers. If time is short, there are perfectly wonderful prepared doughs you can buy at your local grocery store. I filled ours with the veggies I love, but there is plenty of room for creativity. Fill them with equal amounts of vegetables that you enjoy. This is an immensely adaptable recipe. The turnovers also freeze well, to save a bit of the flavors of the season for later in the year. I served them with Cilantro Pesto (recipe included hereand some spicy Spanish chorizo. They are equally good with a ready basil or sun-dried tomato pesto and a light green salad.

Make them your own comfort food.




Yield: 12 Servings


To make the turnover dough:

  • 1 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. warm water (about 110 degrees F.)
  • 1 envelope (¼ ounce active dry yeast
  • 3 ¼ cups flour ( bread, semolina, unbleached all-purpose or a combination), plus a bit more
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cups olive oil, plus a bit more
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir gently until it dissolves, about one minute. Let stand in a warm spot until a thin later of foam covers the surface, about 5 minutes, indicating the yeast is effective
  2. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast/water mixture and the olive oil.
  3. Mix and knead the dough to combine the ingredients, adding more warm water as needed. You can do this by hand or in an electric mixer. Shape the dough into a ball.
  4. Oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl.
  5. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel.
  6. Set it in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until it is about double in bulk, about one hour.

To make the filling:

  • 2 cups cooked potatoes, skins removed, cut large dice
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels
  • ½ cup cooked green peas
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted and chopped finely
  • ½ cup hard cheese, such as cheddar or Gruyère, cut large dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • ½ cup cilantro or Italian parsley, rinsed, stems removed, chopped gently
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Mix all the  filling ingredients together in a large bowl.

To make the pesto:

  • 1 ½ cups cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 t. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to serve. (If you do not plan to use the pesto right away, refrigerate. It will last about 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Take it out of the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before serving.)

To assemble the turnovers:

  1. Punch down the prepared dough and divide it into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.
  2. On a well floured surface, roll each ball into a 3 to 4 inch circle.
  3. Divide the filling between each of the circles of dough, placing the filling the on the lower half of each dough circle. Fold the dough over the filling, forming a half-moon shaped turnover. Seal the edges.
  4. Place the turnovers on one or two cookie sheets. Cover with a clean tea towel.
  5. Let sit about one hour.

To bake the turnovers:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prick each turnover several times with a fork.
  3. Place them in to oven and bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro pesto.
  5. Enjoy.


  1. The dough portion of this recipe is adapted from Pizza by James McNair.  
  2. As shown in the photo to this post, the turnovers are served with cooked sausages. 
Clementine (right) with her BFF Rose