Vegan Pupusa Recipe
Homemade Vegan Pupusas with Curtido

So, it’s June now. My friends in other parts of the country are having backyard barbecues and pool parties, while I’m fighting with my dog, trying to convince her that it really is a good idea to take a walk in the rain.

This latest onslaught of the wet stuff called up a craving for my favorite comfort foods, but I still didn’t know exactly how that would manifest for this column. Sweet or savory? Simple or exotic? So I did what any modern girl would do. I put it to a vote on my Facebook page. Here’s what I got:

57% pupusas
27% Mission Pie’s banana cream pie
14% Pal’s Takeaway chicken bahn mi
0% Dynamo’s strawberry Earl Grey doughnut

So here they are, vegan black bean and caramelized zucchini pupusas:


  • 2.5 cups masa harina
  • 1.5 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • olive oil


  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil + more for cooking
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 zucchini cut in half and sprinkled with sea salt
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Allow the zucchini to rest, cut side up, for 10 minutes, so it can release some of its water; turn over onto a paper towel.
  • Heat cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, brush zucchini with olive oil and add to pan when it is very hot but not smoking. Cook for 3 minutes, then lift gently to check for golden-brown color.
  • If zucchini is puffed and golden, you can flip; if not, cook longer before checking again. Flip and cook on the other side until caramelized.
  • When zucchini is done cooking, cut into 1/8-inch pieces.


  • In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to gradually stir water into the masa until a dough is formed. Form into one large ball.
  • Allow to rest for a minute or two.
  • While dough is resting, make the filling. In a food processor (I used my mini), combine black beans, olive oil, nutritional yeast, chipotle and garlic, and process until mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and add the chopped cooked zucchini; check once more for seasonings.
  • Rub your hands with olive oil. Pinch off a golf ball-sized piece of dough and form into a ball, then pat into a disc using the palms of your hands.
  • In the center of the disc, add just a tiny bit of the filling, maybe a heaping teaspoon, then gather the sides up into a dumpling shape and gently pat it down again into a disc shape.
  • Repeat this process about 11 more times with the rest of the dough — here’s a video I found. The recipe for the pupusa dough did not work for me (too dry; I need the oil), but the technique is fantastic. I wish I was this fast!
  • Cook the pupusas in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for about five minutes on each side, and serve with curtido.

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Sabrina Modelle is the girl behind The Tomato Tart ( A web designer by day and a food writer by night, she lives, eats, and loves in El Corazon- right off the 24th Street corridor. She finds that inspiration comes easily in this city full farmers markets, mercados, food trucks, and food obsessed folks. Comments are her favorite, so speak up!

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