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.
Enjoy!!

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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