Pupusas are an extremely cost effective meal! Fill them with your favorites and you've got a perfect dish!

There have been many times I’ve seen people shy away from an international dish solely based on it’s name. I totally get that it can be intimidating to order something you know nothing about in hopes that you, or dare I utter, your kids would enjoy it. Just the other day we went to a Mexican restaurant while on vacation in upstate New York and when I named off dishes to the kids that included sopes, huaraches and flautas there was silence in the air for several seconds until Kenya said “do they have tacos or enchiladas?”

It can feel intimidating trying new foods with exotic names, but once you try and enjoy them there’s no going back. This is exactly what happened when we had pupusas for the first time at our farmers market years ago. I remembered all of our friends ordering them for breakfast with their kids, but for some reason it took some time before we made the leap. 

One bite, though, and Kenya was hooked! Years later our family has had every variation of this Salvadorian dish including cheese, bean, chicken, vegetable and more. They’re generally topped with a vinegary slaw, a side of guacamole and crema to add to the simple flavor of the masa that makes these traditional pupusas.

The best part is they only take minutes to make and cost so little per serving which is great if you’re feeding a group or looking to stretching your weekly menu planning budget. I even show you how to make Pupusas here. If you make them please let me know in the comments below what you added inside (if anything) to make them your own!

Here in Los Angeles there are pupusa stands all over, but until I moved here I had no idea what they were. In El Salvador, where this dish hails from, vendors everywhere sell this delicious street food which looks like a thick tortilla. Hidden inside each one is a savory filling, usually made up of cheese, chicken, beans or a combination of the three and it is served with curtido (a vinegary coleslaw, generally too spicy for most kids), guacamole and/or crema (similar to sour cream).

I decided to make my own pupusas for lunch yesterday to see how I compared to Kenya's favorite vendor at the market. There was actually shock in his voice (as if he thought they only came from the Salvadorian lady at the farmer's market). You'll be shocked too when you see how easy these are to make in no time flat and each one costs mere pennies compared to the $2 I spend on the ones at our market.

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Pupusas (6 Pupusas)

Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 10 mins

nut free

gluten free

Ingredients

  • 2 cups masa harina (corn flour)*
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup cheese, shredded (I used a mexican blend of cheeses)
  • oil

Preparation

1. Combine the masa, water and salt in a bowl and stir to combine into a dough.

2. Divide the mixture into 6 balls and flatten each one into a 3 inch disk.

3. Place 1 tbsp of shredded cheese in the center of the disk and carefully fold in the edges to enclose the cheese.

4. Flatten the disk, covering the cheese and form into 1/4 inch thick disks (about 5-6 inches across).

5. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large saute pan. Add 2-3 pupusas at a time and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side for a total of 8-10 minutes.

6. Serve.



*Make sure to buy masa harina (sold at most groceries) which is different from cornmeal



To Freeze: After step 4, place on sheet tray and freeze for 30 minutes or until frozen then transfer to a ziploc bag label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours and follow steps 5-6.

Accompaniments

guacamole, sour cream, salsa, vinegary coleslaw

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.