Kid-friendly Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas" + Blender Whizzed Garden Salsa + Zesty Fresco de Lime Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
over 1,000 kid-approved recipes coming soon! save your flavorites
Recipes
/
Family Meal Plan: Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas" + Blender Whizzed Garden Salsa + Zesty Fresco de Lime

Family Meal Plan: Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas" + Blender Whizzed Garden Salsa + Zesty Fresco de Lime

Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas" + Blender Whizzed Garden Salsa + Zesty Fresco de Lime

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Guajillo studio/Shutterstock.com
prep time
30 minutes
cook time
10 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

Skip to recipe

Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas"

Pupusas (poo-POO-sahs) are skillet-fried corn cakes. They're crispy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside, and filled with savory ingredients like beans and cheese. No wonder they're a national treasure!  

In El Salvador, you can find pupusas everywhere—from street corners to home kitchens to dedicated "pupuserías." They're such a beloved dish that the country has deemed the second Sunday of November National Pupusas Day! 

But why wait until November to enjoy this delicious dish? You can make pupusas in your own kitchen with just two ingredients—masa harina (corn masa flour) and water, plus whatever you have on hand for a filling. It's an affordable and totally hands-on activity for kids, who will love mixing the dough, rolling it into balls, stuffing them, and then squashing them flat. It's as fun and as easy as "uno," "dos," "tres" (1, 2, 3)! 

After pan-frying your own batch of pupusas, tear off a piece, dip into our mild Blender Whizzed Garden Salsa, and wash it all down with Zesty Fresco de Lime. There's no silverware required, and that's my kind of meal!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
scale
1X
2X
3X
4X
5X
6X
7X

Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 6 limes
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • PANTRY
  • 2 C corn masa flour (not cornmeal—we like Maseca Gluten-Free Instant Yellow Corn Masa Flour)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches cumin
  • 1 to 3 T vegetable oil, for cooking the "Pupusas"
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • Choose 1 or more of the following "Pupusa" fillings:
  • 1 zucchini
  • 12 button mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 15-oz can black beans **(Omit for LEGUME ALLERGY)**
  • 1 15-oz can corn
  • 1 C queso fresco, optional **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY)**
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 5 C water

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • juice :

    to extract or squeeze out the juice of a fruit or vegetable, like a lemon, orange, or carrot, often cutting open or peeling the fruit or veggie first to access its flesh.

  • knead :

    to work dough by pushing, pulling, and folding it by hand or with a stand mixer.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • soak :

    to immerse a hard food for a certain amount of time in a liquid to soften it.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Pitcher
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Large skillet
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Pancake turner or heat-resistant spatula
scale
1X
2X
3X
4X
5X
6X
7X

Ingredients

Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas"

  • 2 C corn masa flour (not cornmeal—we like Maseca Gluten-Free Instant Yellow Corn Masa Flour)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch cumin
  • 1 to 3 T vegetable oil, for cooking the "Pupusas"
  • Choose 1 or more of the following ingredients:
  • 1 zucchini
  • 12 button mushrooms
  • 1 15-oz can black beans **(Omit for LEGUME ALLERGY)**
  • 1 15-oz can corn
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 C queso fresco, optional **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY)**

Blender Whizzed Garden Salsa

  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 3 limes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch cumin

Zesty Fresco de Lime

  • 3 limes
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • 4 C water
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar

Food Allergen Substitutions

Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas"

  • Dairy: Omit queso fresco for optional filling.
  • Legume: Omit canned black beans for optional filling.

Instructions

Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas"

1.
intro

The "pupusa" (poo-POO-sah) is a classic Salvadoran dish. Pupusas remind me of a tortilla, but thicker and stuffed with all sorts of treats like meats, vegetables, or cheese. So get your mixing bowls out and clean those hands because it's time to make some handmade "Pupusas" of your own!

2.
measure + mix + knead

Start by making the pupusa dough. Measure and combine 2 cups corn masa flour, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 pinch of cumin. Then, mix with a wooden spoon until a ball of dough starts to form. At this point, switch from stirring with the spoon to kneading with your clean hands. Knead the dough for roughly 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for a few minutes after kneading.

3.
chop + stuff + shape

While the dough is resting, chop all of the vegetable fillings you chose. The vegetables will need to be small enough to spread evenly throughout the pupusa. Roll a few tablespoons of the dough into flattened disc shapes. Then, add in a few teaspoons of the chopped vegetables to each disc of dough. Press the vegetables into the pupusa. Take your time making sure all the vegetables are all firmly stuffed into the pupusa.

4.
sauté + serve

Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a skillet and turn the heat to medium. Place the "Pupusas" in the skillet and cook them on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Add an additional tablespoon of vegetable oil to the skillet any time you add another batch of "Pupusas" to the skillet. Serve these crispy Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas" alongside Blender Whizzed Garden Salsa (see recipe)! Enjoy!

Blender Whizzed Garden Salsa

1.
chop + measure + blend

This salsa could not be simpler! Roughly chop 4 roma tomatoes, 2 green onions, and 1/2 bunch of cilantro. The size doesn’t matter because it will all be blended together. Add all the chopped ingredients to a blender. Measure and add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 pinch of cumin. Then, blend the ingredients until smooth. (Add a small splash of water if the salsa is chunky.)

2.
slice + juice + stir

Slice 3 limes into wedges and squeeze the juices into the blended salsa. Stir a few times to incorporate the lime juice. Taste the salsa and decide if it needs any more salt or lime juice before serving this tasty salsa with tortilla chips or alongside Hand-Stuffed Puffy Veggie "Pupusas" (see recipe)!

Zesty Fresco de Lime

1.
measure + soak

In a pitcher, measure and combine 3 tablespoons chia seeds and 4 cups of water. Let the chia seeds soak for 10 minutes. The seeds will start to puff and float.

2.
juice + measure

Cut 3 limes in half and squeeze all the juice into the pitcher. Then, add 1/2 cup of sugar and stir the drink until all the sugar is dissolved.

3.
taste + pour + cheers

Take a sip of the drink to decide if it needs any more sugar or lime juice. Pour this refreshing Salvadoran drink into all of your cups and say a big "Salud!" Enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Corn Masa Flour!

back to recipe
Photo by Charlotte Lake/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I'm Corn Masa Flour!

"I'm also called Masa Harina. You can use me to make gorditas, pupusas, sopes, tamales, and tortillas! You can even add corn masa flour to soups, cakes, and cookies! Did you know "masa" means "dough" or "mass" and "harina" means "flour" in Spanish?"

  • Corn masa flour is dehydrated (dried) corn masa, a dough made from finely ground corn kernels cooked and soaked in limewater (calcium hydroxide), an alkaline solution. This process, called "nixtamalization," was developed in Mesoamerica about 3,000 years ago and gives the masa a distinctive flavor. Let's say it together: nis-TUH-mal-uh-zay-shun. You got it!  
  • When you add water back into the flour, it becomes masa, or dough, again. Of course, you can use fresh masa, but it can take a few hours to simmer and soak the dried corn kernels and then grind them in a food processor. It is much quicker to get a bag of masa harina at the market and just add water!
  • Corn masa flour has protein, fiber, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

What is a Pupusa?

Photo by Guayo Fuentes/Shutterstock.com
  • A "pupusa" is a grilled flatbread made of corn masa flour filled with beans, cheese, fish, meat, and vegetables. It is like a thick corn tortilla. It comes from El Salvador and is their national dish. The name "pupusa" comes from a word in the Pipil language, an indigenous language of Mesoamerica.
  • Pupusas are often served with a tomato purée or salsa and "curtido," a lightly fermented cabbage slaw. 
  • Pupusas were declared the national dish of El Salvador in 2005, and every second Sunday of November is National Pupusas Day. A fair is held to celebrate in the capital, San Salvador, and other cities around the country.
  • The Guinness World Record for the largest pupusa is 15 feet in diameter, created in Olocuilta, El Salvador, 8 November 8, 2015, for the city's sixth annual pupusa festival. It was made with rice flour instead of corn flour, which is typical for that region of the country.

Let's Learn About El Salvador!

Photo by Matyas Rehak/Adobe Stock (Izalco volcano)
  • El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is a country in Central America. Honduras borders it on the northwest, Guatemala borders it on the northeast, and the Pacific Ocean is on its southern border. It is the only country in Central America that does not touch the Caribbean Sea.
  • This region was part of Mesoamerica, where the indigenous people from the Mayan, Lencan, and Cuzcatlecs nations lived and governed long before the Spanish invaded in 1524. There is archaeological evidence of monuments from the earliest people in Mesoamerica, the Olmec, in the 1000s BCE.  
  • El Salvador became independent from Spain in 1821. It then gained independence from the First Mexican Empire in 1823 and, finally, from the Federal Republic of Central America in 1824. International recognition came in 1841. 
  • San Salvador is the capital and largest city of El Salvador. Spanish is the official language. Most Salvadorans have both Spanish and Indigenous ancestors. There are a few thousand descendants of the Mesoamerican Pipil people who live in parts of El Salvador and speak the Pipil language.
  • The country's population is over 6.5 million, and the total land is 8,124 square miles, the smallest country in Central America. It is smaller than the US state of Massachusetts in land area. Almost half of the population lives in rural areas. 
  • El Salvador's government is a unitary presidential republic with a president, a vice president, and a legislative assembly. As of 2001, their currency is the US dollar. Before that, it was the colón. 
  • El Salvador is known as the Land of Volcanoes because it has more than 20 volcanoes! It often experiences volcanic activity and frequent earthquakes. The highest volcano is Santa Ana Volcano, which has another volcano on its side, named Izalco!
  • El Salvador is also known as the Land of the Hammocks, which are very popular in the country. Not only are Salvadoran woven hammocks known worldwide for their quality, but hammocks are also associated with the country due to their ability to rock back and forth during an earthquake!
  • Anteaters, jaguars, and spider monkeys are just some of the wildlife in El Salvador. The national bird is the colorful "torogoz," or turquoise-browed motmot. 
  • El Salvador has lost about 85 percent of its forests since the 1960s. Efforts are now being taken to protect the remaining forests. 
  • Rice, beans, and tortillas are staples in Central America. Popular dishes include "pollo encebollado" (chicken with onions), "yuca frita" (deep-fried cassava root), "pan con pollo" (marinated chicken sandwich), and "empanadas de leche o frijol" (plantain pastry stuffed with milk custard or fried beans). 
  • The "papusa," a thick corn tortilla filled with cheese, beans, squash, or meat and fried on a griddle, is considered the national dish of El Salvador. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in El Salvador?

  • In El Salvador, family life is very important. Children are taught respect for their elders and are often in the care of their grandparents if both parents work.
  • Kids must attend school from ages 7 to 15, although they can attend pre-primary school from ages 4 to 6. 
  • Life can be different for kids who live in the city compared to the countryside. In rural areas, some children work on farms to help support their families. 
  • Kids participate in sports after school, like football (soccer), basketball, baseball, tennis, or swimming.
  • Families might go hiking in Parque Nacional El Boquerón, where they can hike up to see inside the crater of the San Salvador Volcano or "Boquerón" (Big Mouth). Inside the main hole is a smaller crater called "Boqueroncito," or little Boquerón. 
  • Kids may also enjoy visiting the Tin Marin Children's Museum in the capital, San Salvador.
  • "Pupusas" are popular for breakfast or a snack. Kids may also enjoy having a "quesadilla Salvadoreña," a sweet bread ("pan dulce") made with rice flour, sugar, and a Salvadoran white cheese, called "queso duro blanco."
  • "Dulce de nance" is a Salvadoran candy of "nance" fruit cooked in sugar and water. Nance fruit is a golden or yellow-orange tropical berry that resembles cherries but does not taste anything like a cherry. It has been described as tasting like a "banana, lychee, and pear, with a hint of cheese!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a lime that opens doors? 

A Key Lime!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do citrus fruits like to eat? 

Lime-a-beans!

That's Berry Funny

What kinds of beans can’t grow in a garden? 

Jelly Beans!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the Fungi leave the party? 

There wasn't mushroom to dance!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you get when you cross a brontosaurus with a lime? 

A dino-sour!

That's Berry Funny

What do corn cobs call their fathers?

Pop corn.

Lettuce Joke Around

Why didn't anyone laugh at the gardener's jokes?

Because they were too corny!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you get when a corn cob is run over by a truck? 

"Creamed" corn.

That's Berry Funny

Did you hear the joke about the fungus? 

I could tell it to you, but it might need time to grow on you.

Shop Our Cookbooks

Now available on Amazon! Our cookbooks feature kid-tested recipes that build confidence in the kitchen. Expand your child's palate and spark a love of healthy foods with a Sticky Fingers Cooking cookbook.
SHOP NOW

Subscribe to the Sticky Fingers Cooking mailing list

Subscribe to our newsletter, The Turnip, to receive exclusive discounts and updates, insider tips + tricks from our awesome team, and instant access to the Sticky Fingers Cooking Starter Kit for free!

"
Incrêpable!
99% of schools invite us back year after year