Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Set out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. And to a large mixing bowl, add water and salt. Stir to combine and dissolve salt.
A little at a time, add the areparina and stir with a whisk or your hands (our preferred method). You may work your way all the way up to two cups, although we typically have 1-2 Tbsp leftover. You’re looking for a dough that doesn’t easily stick to your hands, is moldable and moist, and can be rolled into a ball. Once you have that consistency, cover with a towel for 5 minutes. We did mix both white and yellow areparina as inspired by Teote (optional).
Uncover, grab a large handful of dough, and roll into a ball (as the recipe is written, our batch made 6 large arepas, but it could also make 8-10 smaller arepas).
Carefully press the ball between the palms of your hands to form into a roughly 1/2-inch thick disc (for thinner, crispier arepas, press closer to 1/4 inch). If it cracks a lot on the sides, your dough may need 1-2 (15-30 ml) more water. A little cracking is OK - just use your hands to close the cracks by gently patting along the edges (see photo).
Once the arepas are formed, heat a large cast-iron or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a little 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 or until deep golden brown (a few blackened spots are OK). You're looking to form a crust. Then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes more or until the underside is also browned.
Transfer to your parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly puffed up and a little more golden brown in color. Some people like to slice into them immediately, but I find they can be a little doughy in the middle at that stage, so I prefer to let them cool for 5-10 minutes and serve while they're warm but not piping hot.
To enjoy, slice in half and enjoy as is, spread both sides with vegan butter and a little maple syrup (YUM), or cut the arepa 3/4 of the way around, leaving a seam on the edge so you can “stuff” it like a pita. Fillings could include everything from black beans to rice to guacamole or even our Vegan Barbacoa!
Best when fresh. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month (cooked or uncooked). Reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until warmed through. If reheating frozen uncooked arepas, I'd recommend letting them thaw first and cooking them as instructed.
*If you don't have masarepa, Simply sub the full amount of masarepa (2 cups as the original recipe is written) for 1 1/2 cups masa harina (works far better than cornmeal, but cornmeal can also work), 1/4 cup coconut flour (almond flour may also work), and 1/4 cup gluten-free flour or arrowroot starch (potato starch may also work). I also like adding ~1 tsp baking powder when I add in the flours for some rise. Add more gluten-free flour or arrowroot starch as needed until the dough is moldable and not tacky or crumbly. Proceed with the recipe as instructed. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate based on 1/6 of the recipe (as written) calculated with 1 Tbsp avocado oil for cooking.