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This Impossible™ Pupusa Burger recipe by high school chef Abigail Quijano was a 2nd place winner (LA Chapter) in the Plate to Planet Challenge! This first-of-its-kind recipe contest through the Careers through Culinary Arts Program(opens in a new tab) tasked students to create an entree dish using Impossible™ Burger that honors or pays tribute to a family recipe.
You may know burgers, and you may love pupusas, but odds are you’ve never had a pupusa burger. But if Abby has anything to say about it, all that’s about to change with her juicy, cheesy and innovative recipe for an Impossible Pupusa Burger.
For her award-winning entry, Abby created a hybrid between her favorite food, burgers, and her family’s own pupusa recipe: “My family is from El Salvador, and we really love pupusas—a traditional Salvadoran dish. Whenever we make them, it brings us together and we have a great time in the kitchen. I wanted to create something that combines my favorite food with my heritage, so that’s how the Pupusa Burger idea came to be!”
Named the “national dish of El Salvador,” the pupusa is a thick flatbread made from masa harina (cornmeal flour), typically stuffed with things like refried beans, chicharrón (fried pork belly), or cheese. The word pupusa is believed to come from the native Nawat word pupusawa, which means “to puff up.” Archaeological evidence shows that inhabitants in what is now El Salvador have been cooking versions of the stuffed bread for almost 2000 years.
Abby’s recipe is a new, mouthwatering remix of the pupusa. Instead of stuffing the masa, you’ll shape it into two masa “buns,” and griddle them to crispy-yet-chewy perfection. Instead of putting cheese on top, you’ll stuff it inside the succulent chicharrón-style Impossible™ patty. And when you’re ready to eat, top your juicy pupusa burger with a generous helping of curtido—a bright, acidic cabbage slaw—then add some salsa de tomate for a garlicky kick. Trust us (and Abby) on this one. You won’t regret it.
Check out the recipe ingredients to build your shopping list!
- 16 Ounces Impossible Burger
- 6 Cups Boiling Water
- 1/2 Head Green Cabbage, Finely Shredded
- 1/2 Head Purple Cabbage, Finely Shredded
- 1 White Onion
- 2 Carrots, Peeled and Shredded
- 2 Serrano Peppers, Thinly Sliced
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
- 5 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon + 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, plus additional to taste
- 3 Roma Tomatoes, Whole
- 5 Cloves Garlic
- 1/8 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- Black Pepper to taste
- 1 Cup Cornmeal Flour
- Corn Oil
- 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Charred
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Smoked Peppercorns, Freshly Ground
- 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce
- 4 Ounces Jack Cheese, Shredded or Cubed
MAKE THE CURTIDO SLAW
Place raw, finely shredded cabbage and half of the white onion, thinly sliced, in a colander. Pour boiling water over them, then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Remove from the colander and add to a bowl. Add the carrots, serrano peppers, vinegar, dried oregano, and 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt. Mix to combine. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
COOK AND BLEND THE SALSA DE TOMATE (TOMATO SALSA)
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add tomatoes, cumin seeds and 2 cloves of garlic. Once the tomato skin bursts, remove the pot from heat. Discard the water and place the tomatoes, garlic cloves and cumin seeds in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and add salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
MIX AND COOK THE "BUNS"
In a large bowl, combine the corn flour, 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1 cup water, and knead until a soft dough forms. Pour a little corn oil into a small bowl, and apply a small amount of oil to your hands. Place a ball of dough about the size of a golf ball in the palm of your hand, and begin to lightly flatten out the dough into a circle about 1/4 of an inch thick with a 3-4 inch diameter. Heat a non-stick griddle pan over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Place the tortilla "bun" on the hot pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown spots appear. Wrap cooked tortilla buns in a clean kitchen towel until time to assemble the burger.
PREP THE IMPOSSIBLE BURGERS
Roughly chop the remaining half of the white onion. Roast a whole red pepper directly over the gas flame of a burner until outer skin is charred and aromatic. Cut in half and remove the stem, seeds and membranes, reserving one half for a future use. Puree the remaining half of the charred red bell pepper, along with the roughly chopped onion, chipotle pepper, and 3 cloves of garlic in a food processor. In a medium sized bowl, fold red pepper puree mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt and ground smoked pepper into the Impossible Burger until fully combined. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to evenly portion out the Impossible Burger. Make a well in each portion of burger, stuff with some of the cheese, and then flatten into a patty so that each burger has a center of cheese.
COOK THE BURGERS
Preheat a grill pan to medium high heat with enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Cook burger for about 3-5 minutes on each side until fully cooked and the cheese is melted. Place burgers on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to ensure the cheese melts on the inside.
ASSEMBLE AND ENJOY!
Take two of the tortilla buns, one for bottom and one for top, and place a patty on the bottom bun. Top the patty with about two heaping tablespoons of the curtido slaw. Pour two tablespoons of the tomato salsa over the curtido and top with the other tortilla. Serve and enjoy!
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