A Vegan Lunch Box reader named Melissa emailed me a few months ago suggesting that this recipe for pupusas would make a tasty vegan lunch. Pupusas are traditional El Salvadorian corn masa "cakes" filled with meat, cheese, or beans that are patted flat and fried. They are often sold by street vendors in El Salvador and Honduras.
My lumpy little pupusas are filled with refried black beans and cilantro. I must admit I have not yet achieved Masa Mastery; my dough kept tearing and sticking, leaving bits of refried bean poking out as I tried to round the dough balls and pat them flat. Eventually I came out with a few decent-looking pupusas, but even the really ugly ones still tasted good. I packed them with a small container of salsa.
Melissa serves her pupusas with a simple pickled radish slaw, so I followed her lead. This slaw is filled with green and purple cabbage, radishes, vinegar, and cilantro (I'm on a real slaw kick lately, now that I know I like it).
I also made my recipe for Calabacita con Elote (Mexican zucchini and corn) from Vegan Lunch Box. As I revisit some of my recipes with the nutritional knowledge I now have, I'm finding ways to make them healthier. In this case, I steam-fried the veggies with a bit of water instead of oil, then stirred in the marjoram with a tablespoon of Late Harvest Riesling Vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt. We actually preferred the lighter taste of the white grape vinegar over the original recipe.
To finish the meal on a sweet note I tucked in an organic baby banana and a tangelo. (After taking the picture, shmoo requested that I score the tangelo for easier peeling and wrap it in plastic.)
Verdict: Sadly, this wasn't one of shmoo's favorites, although I thought it made a nice-looking, healthy, well-balanced lunch. He liked the fruit and pupusas and ate them all, but just picked some of the radishes and corn out of the veggie dishes. 3 stars.
Thanks so much, Melissa, for introducing us to pupusas!