Cheese Pupusas w/Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

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    About three weeks ago when the weather was abnormally nice here in DC, Jason and I went to this really big farmers market called Eastern Market in downtown DC. It reminds me of a really small version of the San Francisco Pier. We try to go to Eastern Market at least twice a year. It’s just so fun and the vendors are all so unique. There’s always good food and produce too! When we went this past month, we decided to go to this Salvadorian restaurant called Tortilla Cafe. It was actually featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives so we wanted to check it out to see if it was worth the hype. Um, yes it was. We ordered pork pupusas, beef tacos, and a tamale. The portions weren’t small so we were definitely stuffed. The one thing we could not stop thinking about were the pupusas. I really wanted to remake them at home but I never got around to it and then the talented Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking released her Absolutely Avocados cookbook and guess what I KNEW I had to make?? The cheese pupusas with tomatillo avocado salsa!!

    I could’ve drank the tomatillo avocado salsa – Jason SLATHERED it all over his pupusas. He thought the salsa really made the entire dish. It was my first time cooking with tomatillos (I know, I know) and I definitely don’t think it’ll be my last! They’re so good and tangy! Grab the recipe below!!

    This book is BRILLIANT. I adore avocados but I think Gaby wins with her obsession. I just love the concept of the book and there is no other book on the market quite like it. There’s 80 avocado recipes in this book and each and every one of them, you could totally see a piece of Gaby in it. It’s just totally her and her style, flavors, infusions. I couldn’t stop flipping through it.

    Also, what I love about the book is, she has all these fun facts about avocados scattered throughout the book and then she has this section on the different varieties of avocados. I honestly did not realize how many there were and how you could tell which was which! This is an educational book AND a delicious book :)

    If you love avocados as much as I do and love cooking with them, I highly suggest you pick up a copy of this book!! You can find it at your local Barnes and Noble, order it on Amazon, or check to see if your local independent bookstore has it in stock!

    Cheese Pupusas w/Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

    These pupusas topped with the tomatillo avocado salsa are the best appetizers to have!!
    Prep Time: 35 mins
    Cook Time: 1 hr
    Total Time: 1 hr 35 mins
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 10
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    For the pupusas

    • 2 cups masa harina
    • 1 3/4 to 2 cups warm water
    • 2 tbsp cold water
    • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    For the tomatillo avocado salsa

    • 6 medium tomatillos
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 Hass avocados
    • 1/4 cup diced white onion
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • 2 garlic coves, peeled
    • 1 jalapeno chile pepper, split open and de-seeded
    • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 1 tsp coarse salt
    • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


    • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove husks from the tomatillos. Rinse under warm water and wipe clean. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Cut the tomatillos in half and put them on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes, until they are tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.
    • Cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and place avocado flesh in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the cooled tomatillos, onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lime zest and juice, honey, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Pulse for 1 to 2 minutes until creamy and smooth. Adjust the salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.
    • In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, 1 3/4 cups of the warm water, and the salt. Stir together until smooth.
    • Using the palms of your hands, knead the dough together until it becomes on mass. You want the dough to be similar to Play-Doh. If it feels too dry, add the remaining 1/4 cup warm water and knead again. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
    • Add the 2 tbsp. of cold water to the rested dough and knead the dough for 2 minutes until the water is fully incorporated.
    • Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, about 2 ounces each, and roll into balls the size of golf balls.
    • Hold one of the balls of dough in the palm of your hand. Gently press your free thumb into the center of the ball to form an indentation. Then start to flatten the dough to form a larger disk so it looks like a small bowl. To the center of the disk, add 2 tsp. of the cheese. Bring the edges of the disk over the cheese and squeeze together to form a ball shape of dough so the cheese is secured inside. Gently work the ball of dough into a flat disk about 3 inches in diameter. Brush the disk with olive oil, place on plate, and cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Repeat this process for the remaining pupusas.
    • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Lay 2 pupusas in the skillet at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the outsides are golden brown and the dough has slightly puffed.
    • Serve immediately with the tomatillo avocado salsa.


    Source: Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, April 2013

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  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today says:

    I love avocados as well, so I have a feeling I’d like this book. You’re a brave girl concentrating on cooking just before your wedding :)

  • Danica says:

    this looks amazing! i will definitely have to make it soon! :)

  • Kathryn says:

    Oh wow, these sound totally delicious and that salsa just sounds like the stuff that dreams are made of!

  • ashley - baker by nature says:

    This looks like my future new favorite meal. Gotta try it!

  • Tracey says:

    Would you believe I’ve never had a pupusa?? I know I’m missing out, I need to make it happen in my kitchen, and soon!!

  • DessertForTwo says:

    This looks fab! I love pupusas!
    Do you realize you’re getting married in 3 days?! Ahhhh! I’m excited for you!

  • Leah | So, How's It Taste? says:

    Oh that cheese! I’ve never had or heard of pupusas…where have I been? This is making me crazy hungry this morning!

  • Kelly - Life made Sweeter says:

    Wow, these pupusas look so delicious and love the pairing with avocado salsa!

  • Tieghan says:

    Love this! Gaby did an amazing job. AMAZING! Any book dedicated to avocado is a great idea. I love this recipe and will be making it first chance I get! Huge congrats to Gaby!

  • Joey says:

    The word cheese made me want to make these! And coincidentally, I finally managed to get hold of a bag of masa harina yesterday :D Can’t wait to try these out!

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day says:

    I want a whole plate of these babies. Love it. Beautiful book, Gaby!

  • Kate says:

    Would you believe that I’ve never had an avocado? It’s a texture thing… Anyway, I’m going to give this recipe a try because I love tomatillos and I’m feeling brave! Loving your blog, thanks!

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites says:

    I just ate breakfast, but now I’m starving!

    Can’t wait for Gaby’s book. It’s sadly held up en route. =(

  • Lisa says:

    Yum! I’m surprised at how relatively easy it is to make pupusas. I first had them here in DC too – there’s a place called El Rinconcito on 11th and M, total hole-in-the-wall, but their pupsas are fantastic.

  • Courtney B says:

    MMM these look absolutely mouth-watering. Bookmarked to try soon!

  • Amy | Club Narwhal says:

    Isn’t spring in DC the absolute best? Pupusas mean summer for me and I cannot wait to try this–especially that wicked tomatillo avocado sauce. Those two things pretty much sum up everything good in the world!

  • Gabrielle says:

    I’m a student in DC who interned in Eastern Market all last summer and Tortilla Cafe was one of my favorites! So good and so cheap. I love reading your blog because there are so many places I recognize :)

  • Heather Christo says:

    oh holy cow. Pupusas. Have to make these!

  • marla says:

    Wow do these look great & LOVE the book too.

  • Carla @ Carlas Confections says:

    Yum! I need these AND that book! All day I dream about avocados!

  • Liz says:

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I love roasted tomatillo salsa. It has a tangy taste that red tomato salsa does not.

    Thanks for telling us about the book. I love avocados and I’m super excited that there’s a whole cookbook dedicated to them (and that has great recipes like this one). I will definitely pick this up.

    Lastly, I’m wishing you the very best for your wedding! :)

  • Maria says:

    I am in love with Gaby’s book! Can’t wait to make these!

  • [email protected], pleasure, and health says:

    seeing so many bloggers post avocado recipe from Gabys book – i feel leftout without any guac :( need to get into guac making business soon

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says:

    Drooling over these, they look wonderful!

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says:

    Goodness gracious, these look totally amazing Julie! I want them for lunch! Or maybe just right now. Yes, right now would be acceptable too. Do you deliver?!

  • Anne @The Cooking Campaign says:

    I LOVE Eastern Market! And a whole cookbook about avocados? YES PLEASE!

  • Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes says:

    Sakes alive do these look delicious, Julie! And those Irish nachos?!?! Should be arrested for INDECENCY they look so good. Gaby’s book is so winning!

  • Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    Another great avocado post today!! Now I’m really craving some of the green, creamy goodness.

  • carrian says:

    Love those! And your photos of her book are just beautiful!

  • ali says:

    Omg, I am dying. I think Ben and I need to make a trip north for a date night at Tortilla Cafe…or I’ll just stay home and make pupusas. They look positively scrumptious!

  • Peggy says:

    I was so excited to come across a link to this post on Pinterest. I had pupusas for the first time about two weeks ago. What a treat! I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  • jackie @ Domestic Fits says:

    I have been so meaning to make Papusas! You just inspired me, those look amazing.

  • [email protected] Climbing Grier Mountain says:

    I am so pumped about this cookbook! I’m definitely for Team Avocado! Congrats to Gaby!!

  • Marie @ Little Kitchie says:

    Yay for Gaby! I got this cookbook in the mail yesterday and was immediately obsessed. Love that you made these pupusas – I have never made them at home, but always wanted to!

  • Marian (Sweetopia) says:

    Can’t wait to try them – you make them look and sound sooo good!
    Congrats to Gabby!!

  • Katie says:

    Oh my goodness! These look absolutely amazing! I’m pregnant right now and my new craving is for AVOCADOS! I’m going to have to look for this book… and make this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  • claire @ the realistic nutritionist says:

    I LOVE tomatillos!!! Yum!

  • GO GABY!! Why yes, I will be making this tomorrow!

  • dia says:

    one word. AMAZING!

  • Heather @ French Press says:

    LOVE, avocados and I cannot wait to get that book! this looks SO good, and I saw those nachos yesterday @Family Fresh Cooking – another must make!

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says:

    I have never had a pupusas! They look so good and I just must get that book!

  • Megan @ Country Cleaver says:

    I saw that episode of DD&D’s and drooled over those pupusas!! Oh my gosh, awesome.

  • Janel @ Creating Tasty Stories says:

    I keep seeing pupusas on TV shows, but I don’t know of any place around where I live that serves them. Guess I’ll have to use your recipe and make my own! In my book, you can’t go wrong with anything that has avocado in it. Yum.

  • Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Oh wow, this looks amazing! My husband would love if I made this :)

  • Kevin @ Closet Cooking says:

    You can’t go wrong with the tomatillo and avocado combo and those pususas look so good with that stringy melted cheese!

  • jessica says:

    80 avocado recipes! I’m going to get me that cookbook.

    Avocados have just started showing up in the farmers’ market here. I like to wait a couple of weeks before I buy any.

  • Victoria says:

    Oh my goodness, these look amazing! I just pinned them:)

  • Laurie {SimplyScratch} says:

    Holy cheese strings! These look amazing girl! Gaby’s book is amazing!!

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