Hispanic Heritage Month Feature: Venezuelan Arepa

September 28, 2023

Angel Carrillo is passionate about his roots and sharing the vibrant flavors from his Venezuelan culture with others.

In 2016, he opened his own Venezuelan Arepas shop in Medellin, Colombia, sharing his love for Arepas with his community. Venezuela and Colombia each have their own take on the arepa. Venezuelan arepas are sliced in half, typically stuffed with various fillings and tend to be more savory. Colombian arepas are usually topped with queso or egg and tend to be on the sweeter side.

He then took his expertise to Santiago, Chile, where he worked in a restaurant, gaining valuable experience that has contributed to the success he has today.

Angel and his family moved to the United States in 2021. He is continuing to pursue his passion for the culinary industry in his current role with Eurest as a Catering Attendant in Charlotte, NC.

Angel is bringing some of his culture to us by sharing one of his favorite Arepas recipes for you to try at home!



2 lb flank steak
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 qt beef stock/broth
3 each bay leaves
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion julienne sliced
2 red bell peppers, julienne sliced
3 garlic cloves
8 oz of crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp cumin
2 cups reserved beef cooking broth

Method of Prep:
1. Trim the flank steak of any large pieces of fat and cut into 4 pieces, once vertical and once horizontal. Place the steak in a medium pot and cover with beef stock. Add quartered onion and bay leaves and simmer for 2 hours.
2. Once cooked, remove the beef from the water and let it cool slightly. Also, reserve 2 cups of the cooking broth for later step.
3. Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat with two forks. Set aside.
4. in a large sauté pan on medium heat, and olive oil and heat for 20 seconds, then add the onion, peppers, and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 min until the onions are fragrant and just starting to caramelize/brown.
5. Add the crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano and cumin. Mix well and bring to a simmer.
6. Add the shredded meat from step 3 and 2 cups of the reserved beef’s cooking liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Hold hot until it’s time to stuff arepas.


3 cups pre-cooked white corn meal
4 ½ cups water
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Method of Prep:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the water, salt and olive oil and stir/mix with gloved hand.
2. Add masa corn meal a third at a time stirring in between.
3. Once it forms a dough, cover with a wet paper towel and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
4. On a clean work top surface transfer dough out of mixing bowl and roll masa dough into a large log about 4 inches in diameter. Then slice into 1-inch discs.
5. Carefully press each disc between the palms of your hands to form into a roughly 1/2-inch-thick disc.
6. Once the arepas are formed, heat a large cast-iron or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a little amount of canola oil and swirl to coat. Then add arepas, giving them a little room in between so they don’t touch. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until deep golden brown. You’re looking to form a crust, a few black spots is ok on outer layer is ok.
7. Remove from pan and transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the center puffs up. Remove from oven and
8. cut the arepa 3/4 of the way around the top, leaving a seam on the edge so you can stuff with carne mechada (it like a pita). Also great with chicken salad


2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white vinegar
½ cup canola oil
¼ small diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup chopped cilantro
3 oz diced red bell pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup cold water

Method of Prep:
1. Add all items into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.