Pupusas with Pickled Vegetables

Several years ago I was traveling in Central America and was introduced to pupusas.  I think it’s a traditional El Salvadoran food, but i had it in a couple other countries.  I had it served different ways; plain, with beans one time, and pickled vegetables most of the time.  It was so simple and very satisfying.

I stumbled on a photo of myself eating one, which is what reminded me to try them out.  After looking up a basic Recipe, I realized they were easy, quick, and could be served so many ways.  I chose to fill mine beans and corn, but you could do cheese, meat, vegetables, a combination of those; really anything as long as it’s not very liquidy (not a word??).  You get the idea 😉

For the dough  you need:

  • 3 cups Masa Harina
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the filling I used:
  • 1 can of organic black beans drained combined with 1/2 can organic corn, drained.  I also diced up some vegan almond cheese.  Fill with whatever you like, this was what I had on hand.
For the pickled vegetable you need:
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded,
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
For the pickled vegetables:  Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl, set aside.  In a saucepan, pour in vinegar, water, and spices.  Bring to a boil.  Pour over vegetables.  Store in a large glass container (I used a couple mason jars).  Let stand for at least 24 hours.
For the dough:  Combine the water, masa harina, salt, and water.  Set aside and let sit for about 20 minutes.  Prepare fillings.  Back to the dough. Start with a couple of tablespoons of cold water and combine until dough is soft, but not sticky.
To prepare Pupusas:  pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl.  Dab some oil onto your palms (re-oil to keep hand well greased).  Roll a few tablespoons of dough into a ball.  Flatten in your palms to about 1/4 inch.  Spoon filling into center.  Fold sides of disk up and pinch at top (doesn’t have to be tightly sealed).  Flatten again in palms.  Repeat with remainder.  Oil and warm a large skillet to medium heat.  Cook pupusas for about 4 minutes on each side.  serve with pickled vegetables on top.

Filling in disk

Folded back up

Flattened again

Topped with leftover filling

If filled with the right things, should be a pretty healthy meal.  Masa is ground corn, nothing super processed; it’s natural.  It is a healthier alternative to processed flour tortillas and other similar foods.   This is also a good meal to load up with veggies.  Oh and make sure your masa harina is from non GMO corn 😉
P.s. I would have included the inspirational picture >>me eating a pupusa<< but it’s pretty scary.  My natural wavy hair and the Central American humidity were having a pretty epic battle.  Should have rocked the top bun.  Lesson learned…

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