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Classic Bean And Cheese Pupusas

There are many ways to stuff this delicious El Salvadoran flatbread, but our version is made with refried black beans and mozzarella cheese. Serve the pupusas alongside some curtido, a pickled cabbage slaw made with onions, carrot and some sliced jalapenos for a little spice. It's all tossed together with white vinegar and oregano. Pro tip: cook the blackbeans in bacon fat for even more flavor!

Tasty Team
Total Time

1 hr

1 hr

Prep Time

10 minutes

10 min

Cook Time

25 minutes

25 min

Total Time

1 hr

1 hr

Prep Time

10 minutes

10 min

Cook Time

25 minutes

25 min

Ingredients

for 12 pupusas

Curtido

  • green cabbage, small head, cored and finely shredded
  • white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 jalapeño, or serrano pepper, sliced
  • 8 cups boiling water (1.8 L)
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar (480 mL)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt

Refried Black Beans

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white onion (75 g), chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pupusa Dough

  • 4 cups masa harina (425 g)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups cold water (710 mL)

Assembly

  • 3 cups grated mozzarella cheese (300 g)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Nutrition Info

  • Calories 369
  • Fat 12g
  • Carbs 48g
  • Fiber 10g
  • Sugar 5g
  • Protein 16g

Estimated values based on one serving size.

Preparation

  1. Make the curtido: In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, onion, carrots, and serrano, if using. Pour the boiling water over the vegetables and toss to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, oregano, and salt.
  3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the slaw and toss to coat. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer the curtido and any leftover liquid in the bowl to an airtight jar or container. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, but ideally overnight. The curtido will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  4. Make the refried black beans: Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the oil to the pan. Once hot, add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant and softened.
  5. Add the black beans, along with their liquid, to the pan and increase the heat to medium. Add the salt. Mash the beans with a potato or bean masher, ensuring no beans are left whole. Cook for 7–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beans don’t immediately flood the pan when you drag a spatula across the bottom. If you prefer a perfectly smooth consistency, use an immersion blender to purée the beans in the pan, or transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Season with more salt to taste, then set aside to cool completely before making the pupusa dough.
  6. Make the pupusa dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt, then add the water. Use your hands to mix until the dough comes together with a clay-like texture; it should be elastic and not sticky. You may need to knead it for a few minutes.
  7. Assemble the pupusas: Once the beans have cooled completely, fold in the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Fill a small bowl with water and set it near your work station. Wet your hands as you work to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  9. Heat a large pan or griddle over medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes.
  10. While the pan heats, form the pupusas: Take a large, golf ball-sized portion (about 3½ ounces) of dough and roll into a ball, then flatten into an even round, using the fingers of your dominant hand to press the dough against the palm of your non-dominant hand (rather than smashing your palms together), about 5 inches in diameter.
  11. Fill the dough round with about 3 tablespoons of the bean mixture, or slightly less than the amount of masa used to make the disc. Gently fold 2 sides of the dough over the filling, then rotate and fold up the other 2 sides until the filling is completely encased. Pinch off any excess dough overlapping at the top and return to the remaining masa. Then, carefully pat out the ball between your hands into a roughly 4-inch disc. If the filling breaks through, patch it with a tiny bit of dough. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  12. Lightly brush the hot pan with the vegetable oil, then place 4–5 pupusas (or as many as will fit without touching) in the pan and cook for 3–5 minutes, depending on thickness, until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side for 3–5 minutes more, until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining pupusas.
  13. Serve the pupusas with the curtido.
  14. Enjoy!

Ingredients

for 12 pupusas

Curtido

  • green cabbage, small head, cored and finely shredded
  • white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 jalapeño, or serrano pepper, sliced
  • 8 cups boiling water (1.8 L)
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar (480 mL)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt

Refried Black Beans

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white onion (75 g), chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pupusa Dough

  • 4 cups masa harina (425 g)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups cold water (710 mL)

Assembly

  • 3 cups grated mozzarella cheese (300 g)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Nutrition Info

  • Calories 369
  • Fat 12g
  • Carbs 48g
  • Fiber 10g
  • Sugar 5g
  • Protein 16g

Estimated values based on one serving size.

Preparation

  1. Make the curtido: In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, onion, carrots, and serrano, if using. Pour the boiling water over the vegetables and toss to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, oregano, and salt.
  3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the slaw and toss to coat. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer the curtido and any leftover liquid in the bowl to an airtight jar or container. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, but ideally overnight. The curtido will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  4. Make the refried black beans: Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the oil to the pan. Once hot, add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant and softened.
  5. Add the black beans, along with their liquid, to the pan and increase the heat to medium. Add the salt. Mash the beans with a potato or bean masher, ensuring no beans are left whole. Cook for 7–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beans don’t immediately flood the pan when you drag a spatula across the bottom. If you prefer a perfectly smooth consistency, use an immersion blender to purée the beans in the pan, or transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Season with more salt to taste, then set aside to cool completely before making the pupusa dough.
  6. Make the pupusa dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt, then add the water. Use your hands to mix until the dough comes together with a clay-like texture; it should be elastic and not sticky. You may need to knead it for a few minutes.
  7. Assemble the pupusas: Once the beans have cooled completely, fold in the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Fill a small bowl with water and set it near your work station. Wet your hands as you work to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  9. Heat a large pan or griddle over medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes.
  10. While the pan heats, form the pupusas: Take a large, golf ball-sized portion (about 3½ ounces) of dough and roll into a ball, then flatten into an even round, using the fingers of your dominant hand to press the dough against the palm of your non-dominant hand (rather than smashing your palms together), about 5 inches in diameter.
  11. Fill the dough round with about 3 tablespoons of the bean mixture, or slightly less than the amount of masa used to make the disc. Gently fold 2 sides of the dough over the filling, then rotate and fold up the other 2 sides until the filling is completely encased. Pinch off any excess dough overlapping at the top and return to the remaining masa. Then, carefully pat out the ball between your hands into a roughly 4-inch disc. If the filling breaks through, patch it with a tiny bit of dough. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  12. Lightly brush the hot pan with the vegetable oil, then place 4–5 pupusas (or as many as will fit without touching) in the pan and cook for 3–5 minutes, depending on thickness, until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side for 3–5 minutes more, until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining pupusas.
  13. Serve the pupusas with the curtido.
  14. Enjoy!

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