Vegan Spinach and Cheese Pupusas with Red Cabbage Slaw

Native to El Salvador, pupusas are delicious stuffed corn pockets that are browned to crispy perfection on a stovetop griddle. These vegan pupusas are filled with a blend of spinach and a savory potato-based “cheese” sauce (separate recipe here) that will have you licking your fingers for every last drop. Served with a side of traditional pickled cabbage slaw known as curtido, these irresistible corn flatbreads are perfect for a quick and satisfying meal. We've got lots more delicious healthy vegan dinner recipes for you to enjoy!

Tip: Look for low-sodium, oil-free salsa at the grocery store, or make your own using our 20-minute recipe.

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach
  • ¾ cup Potato “Cheese” Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño chile pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • Oil-free salsa, for serving


  • Place spinach in a strainer; run hot water over spinach to thaw. Press spinach with the back of a spoon to remove as much excess liquid as possible. Transfer spinach to a large bowl. Add the Cheese Sauce, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the lime juice, the oregano, and salt. Mix well.
  • For Red Cabbage Slaw, in a bowl combine red cabbage, carrot, onion, white wine vinegar, the remaining lime juice, and ¼ cup water. Season to taste with sea salt. Set aside.
  • In another bowl combine masa harina with 2 cups of warm water. Stir with a rubber spatula or your hands to form a ball. Divide dough into ten ¼-cup portions.
  • To assemble, roll one portion of dough into a ball. Press into the center of the ball and stretch sides to widen the impression. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of spinach mixture into the center of the dough. Fold edges of dough around filling and roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining dough and spinach mixture. Pat each ball into a patty about ½-inch thick.
  • Brush patties with water. Cook on a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-low about 7 minutes or until edges and top start to appear dry and underside is nicely browned. Turn patties over; cook 5 to 7 minutes more to brown the second side. Transfer to a platter. (You may have to cook pupusas in batches.) Serve with salsa and Red Cabbage Slaw.

Comments (11)

(3 from 4 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Lili Orellana

Go to The Salvi Vegan if you want authentic Salvi Vegan Pupusas and other delish food. This was a good attempt. Pupusas are a lot of work though.

Lili Orellana

BUT totally appreciate having a Salvadorean on the menu here!!!


At the very least these need to be done in an air fryer. They’re very disappointing after all the prep work. So many of FOKs recipe end up this way, and there is no excuse. Doctor them up so they taste better or don’t include them on the website/app.

Mark Silvius

It looked great, but all in all too much work (especially if you prepare the salsa yourself) with mediocre results. I'm sorry but I would personnaly not recommend this recipe.


Try doing a screen shot of the whole recipe. It works for me. I just keep these In Files in my phone.


What is “masa harina”?


Masa harina is a corn flour

Julie Stephens

I attempted to add this to my mealplanner, but it says "Recipe Not Found." Disappointing that I can only access this online.

Miriam Kearney

had the same problem but when I went to recipes on the top menu and searched in All Recipes for the one I wanted it was there and I could add it to my mealplan. Don't know why they don't just include the add to planner button on the newsletter or whatever this was.


I am wondering if these would bake well instead of "frying" in water... This looks delicious though!

Chris H.

ooh, I'm so excited to try these. Would love to see more ethnic recipes like these!

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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