Happy meatless Monday – our favorite day of the week! I took a bit of a break from blogging for the last few weeks of my pregnancy but I’m back with one of my favorite recipes ever. These vegan black bean pupusas are such a quick and easy weeknight dinner and they are definitely toddler/kid friendly. It’s a great way to get your kiddos to eat some beans – you could even sneak in some veggies like grated carrots or zucchini, I won’t tell!
Pupusas are an El Salvadorian dish and they are so delicious. While they may traditionally be filled with meat, we love to use a vegan alternative – black beans. They are traditionally served with something called curtido, which is a spicy cabbage slaw, but we like to eat ours with a dollop of vegan yogurt and some salsa. Another favorite vegan black bean pupusas’ topping of mine is guacamole.
For this recipe I fry the vegan black bean pupusas in vegetable oil, however if you want a healthier option you can also cook them on a lightly oiled griddle. And the black bean part of this recipe is truly yummy on its own as well if you’re ever looking for a super quick and easy black bean dip. Just remember to always drain and rinse your canned beans.
To make vegan black bean pupusas you will need masa harina – a corn flour usually found in the Hispanic section of your grocery store. If you have never worked with masa harina before, don’t be scared. There are a couple of tricks to using this ground corn flour, but once you have them down you will be an expert:
- Use warm water to mix into the masa. Cold water will make the masa harina stiffer and thicker than it should be and hot water will make it too runny. I generally gauge the temperature by just running some tap water over my hand – once it gets warm you’re good.
- Start with the recommended amount of water this recipe calls for (2 1/4 cups) and mix the masa and water together (I find a fork is best for this). Form a small ball of dough in your hand and smash it lightly – if the edges are cracked and dry, you need more water. To be safe, add it a tablespoon at a time to ensure you don’t add too much water. If the masa is wet and somewhat runny (kind of like the consistency of cement) then it has too much water. This is easy to fix – just add more masa (again, 1 tablespoon at a time) until it thickens up. You are looking for a consistency similar to play dough.
- To make the vegan black bean pupusas, I take about 2 tablespoons of masa and form it into a ball. I then make an indentation in the ball with my thumb or the back of a tablespoon. I spoon in 1 tablespoon of beans and top them with some vegan shredded cheese. I pinch off a little more masa from the bowl, flatten it out slightly into a small disc and cover the beans with it. I pinch the edges together to seal the pupusa and then flatten it between my hands. Easy-peasy.
- After a while the masa will stick to your hands because it is a very sticky dough. One way to prevent it from sticking too much is to start with wet hands – just run your hands under some warm water before you start making the pupusas. Once your hands have too much dough stuck to them to keep making the pupusas then rinse them off again and don’t dry them and start the process again.
- You can make more vegan black bean pupusas while cooking your first few pupusas but I have found that this is kind of hard. It seems like my hands are always covered in masa right when I need to flip the pupusas in the pan and I end up with a big mess in the kitchen or burned pupusas. I prefer to go ahead and make all my pupusas and then fry them, but maybe you are braver and/or more coordinated that I am (let’s be honest, you are probably way more coordinated than I am. I trip on totally flat surfaces when nothing is in my way).
- NOTE: masa harina is a gluten free flour, so celiacs celebrate!
Black Bean Pupusas
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 T avocado oil or EVOO
- 1/2 t garlic powder
- 1 t salt divided
- 1/2 c vegetable or avocado oil plus more as needed
- 2 c masa harina
- 2 1/4 c warm water
- Sour Cream/Plain Yogurt
- Pico de Gallo
- In a food processor combine the black beans, avocado oil, garlic powder, and 1/2 t of salt. Process until beans are smooth. Set aside.
- Lay out a sheet of wax or parchment paper. In a large skillet over medium low heat, heat the vegetable/avocado oil. Once the surface is shimmery and a small bit of masa mix dropped in begins to bubble you will know the oil is hot enough.
- While the oil is heating, combine the masa harina, warm water, and remaining salt. The dough should be wet and sticky, but not too wet. If a small ball of masa dough cracks on the edges when flattened in your hand, it is too dry. If the dough is difficult to form into a ball that holds its shape, its too wet.
- Once the dough is mixed and ready, take a small ball of dough (about 2 T. worth) and roll it in your hand to make it smooth. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the middle. Place 1 T. of black beans in the indentation. Top the ball of masa with a little more masa mixture (about 1 T. more), pinching the edges together to seal. Flatten gently in between your hands and set it aside on the wax paper. Repeat with remaining masa mixture, beans, and cheese.
- Once you have your pupusas ready and the oil is hot, add your pupusas to the pan to fry, being careful to not overcrowd the pan. Fry the pupusas about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve pupusas with toppings of your choice. Enjoy!
- NOTE: Leftover pupusas can be reheated in the microwave/oven but they are best when they are fresh.
- NOTE: Pupusas are an El Salvadorian dish and are traditionally served with a spicy cabbage slaw called "curtido".
Crunch and munch and super delicious!
If you make these vegan black bean pupusas…
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