Pupusas and Curtido Bowls

This Bean and Cheese Pupusas with Curtido recipe is part of a sponsored collaboration with Vive Mejor and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Have you tried making the traditional Salvadorean Pupusas with Curtido at home for a feast-like meal? Wait, did I lose you at the Salvadorean dish? Or maybe at the word pupusas?

healthy pupusas and curtido bowls

Let’s back up a little. A couple of years ago, I had no idea what pupusas were either -much less, did I think about making them at home. But, my friend Anna changed that in a quick conversation over Facebook messenger about her grandmother’s pupusas and how delicious they were.

healthy pupusas and curtido bowls

Pupusas are stuffed masa cakes, corn flour cakes, and typically enjoyed with a side of salsa and coleslaw known as curtido. The recipe adds a little Knorr Chicken Bouillon, definitely a must-add to enhance that home-cooked flavor we all love from our Abuelas to the recipe.

healthy pupusas and curtido bowls

While these pupusas are stuffed with beans and cheese, you can also stuff them with chicken or ground beef. If you visit a traditional “Pupuseria” or pupusas store/restaurant, you’ll find them stuffed with a variety of things.

The curtido in this recipe combines a little Hellmann’s or Best Food Mayonnaise with freshly grated vegetables and apple cider vinegar for a light and tangy side that pairs perfectly with the stuffed pupusas. I’ve also cut down on the dressing for the curtido to make it a bit lighter (instead of adding more oil) and yet the texture remains creamy thanks to the mayonnaise.

healthy pupusas and curtido bowls

So, you get the deliciously toasty and cheesy masa cakes with a side of crunch. Which, that in my world alone is a winning recipe.

For dinner, I make the pupusas and serve them with the curtido (slaw) on the side for my family along with some Spanish rice. But for me? I love everything in a bowl and often choose to eat a lot of my food that way. Because if it’s ok to make a burrito bowl, you can totally make a pupusas bowl, you know?

healthy pupusas and curtido bowls

This pupusas bowl has become one of my favorite ways of enjoying the classic dish –and I’m calling it pupusas with Laura’s twist. The recipe below will show you how to make the traditional dish but whether you serve it family style or in a bowl, that’s up to you!

healthy pupusas and curtido bowls

Healthy Pupusas and Curtido Bowls

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x


  • 1/3 cup Hellmann’s®, or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup PLUS 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 small white onion, divided
  • 4 roma tomatoes, (about 12 oz.)
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 4 finely chopped serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired
  • 5 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked no salt added red kidney beans
  • 1 teaspoon Knorr Chicken flavor Bouillon
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 medium poblano pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cups masa harina (fine corn meal)
  • 1 box Spanish rice (yellow rice) cooked
  • Guacamole for serving
  • Finely chopped romaine lettuce, optional for bowls


For Curtido (slaw):

  1. Combine mayonnaise, 1/3 cup cider vinegar, salt, sugar and red pepper flakes in large bowl.
  2. Add cabbage and carrots.
  3. Finely slice 1/2 of the white onion and stir into cabbage and carrots; refrigerate until ready to use.

For Salsa:

  1. Process remaining 1/2 of the white onion, roughly chopped, plum tomatoes, garlic, chilis, 1/2 cup water and remaining 1 teaspoon of vinegar in a blender until smooth.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Carefully pour contents of blender into the skillet and bring to a boil.
  4. Cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.

For refried beans:

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in medium skillet and cook yellow onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender, reserve skillet.
  2. Add beans, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon Bouillon to blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a reserved skillet and fry bean mixture, stirring, until very thick and darkened slightly; reserve.

For cheese filling:

  1. Process cheese and poblano pepper in food processor until paste-like consistency; reserve.

For pupusas:

  1. Combine masa flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon Bouillon and 3-1/2 cups water in large bowl to form a slightly sticky dough, adding more water, little at a time, if needed. Cover and let rest 10 minutes before forming pupusas.
  2. Divide dough into 20 egg-size balls, cover with a damp towel. Form each ball into a deep bowl shape, fill with 1 scant Tbsp. cheese mixture, pressing into the side of the dough, then top with 1/2 Tbsp. bean mixture. Bring edges together to seal. Gently pat and squeeze ball to form a flat disk, about 4-in.; repeat.
  3. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brush with 1 to 2 tsp. oil. Cook pupusas in batches, until golden, with slightly darker spots, about 6 minutes, turning once.

To serve as a bowl:

  1. Create a bed of finely chopped romaine lettuce.
  2. Top with curtido, guacamole, serving of rice, salsa, and pupusas.


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 391
  • Fat: 14.8
  • Carbohydrates: 53.9
  • Protein: 12.4
August 24, 2018

2 thoughts on “Pupusas and Curtido Bowls”

  1. Sandra says:

    I LOVE pupusas! Growing up in NJ we had a Pupuseria around the block. I now live in Oregon… FAR from my beloved pupusas. Gracias for the inspiration to make them at home.

  2. Maria Inés says:

    Made yesterday. deliciosos. Gracias Laura!

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