A Year Of... interesting things

Pupusa Casserole

Traditional pupusas are thick pancake-like dish stuffed with some sort of savory filling.

The version in this recipe is a casserole instead of the tortilla version and that makes a bit of a difference as it allows to produce a larger amount with smaller effort since it does not require that each pupusa is cooked individually.

It was delicious dish as evidenced by half of it being gone before I had a chance to take a shot.

Pupusa Casserole

The second surprise to this recipe is the addition of an ingredient I never used before: nopalitos or cactus paddles.

I did not what to expect and was pleasantly surprised; they taste like milder pickles and complement the sweetness of the corn flour (masa harina) in a perfect way.


Realistic prep time for me was close to 45 minutes with a total cooking time of about an hour and a half, but don’t let that be a discouragement - it was an easy to make meal.


  • 2 cups nopalitos (about 6 chopped nopales, cactus paddles)
  • 2 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly groUnd black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers (about 1 cup), divided


  • 7.7 ounces masa harina (about 2 1/4 cups) - go for 8 ounces
  • 1 cup water - I found I needed to add more as I shaped the dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. (do this later - it takes a while to make the filling)
  2. To prepare filling. cook nopalitos in boiling water 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, and pepper.
    Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.
    Coat pan with cooking spray.
    Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.
    Remove chicken from pan; cool slightly, and shred with 2 forks.
  4. Heat pan over medium heat.
    Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until tender.
    Stir in nopalitos, chicken, and 2/3 cup cheese.
    Cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  5. To prepare dough, weigh or lightly spoon masa harina in dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
    Combine masa harina, 1 up water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
    Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly.
    Press one-third of dough into an 11 x 7—inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    Spread filling over dough.
    Gently press remaining dough into a 4-inch square on heavy-duty plastic wrap.
    Cover with additional plastic wrap.
    Roll, still covered, into an 11 x 7—inch rectangle.
    Remove bottom sheet of plastic wrap; fit dough over filling.
    Remove top sheet of plastic wrap.
    Bake at 3750 for 20 minutes.
    Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese.
    Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1/8 of casserole)

  • calories 234;
  • fat 7g (sat 3.2g, mono 1.9g, poly 1g);
  • protein 16g;
  • carbs 26.8g;
  • fiber 1.6g;
  • cholesterol 35mg;
  • iron 33mg; sodium 474mg; calcium 244mg
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