Smoky Poblano & Black Bean Pupusas

Stephen has been trying very very hard to avoid purchasing plastic in general but especially while grocery shopping. (We saw a guy put ONE apple in a plastic produce bag and tie it off!) This means a lot of things to be made from scratch… including tortillas & bread & powdered sugar. But especially tortillas. I don’t do well without, at the very least, one Mexican meal a week. If I had my way, I’d probably eat Latin American cuisine just about every single day. What is a world without salsa??? Not a world I want to live in. And black beans? Nope, I don’t want to live there either.

So we picked up a 5 pound bag of Maseca and Stephen put me to work. Okay, we worked together… 😉 I made the tortillas & he cooked them. Hint: the recipe is on the back of the bag. We don’t have a tortillas press so we used to pieces of parchment paper & one of the 8×8 pyrex pans to smush the living daylights out of a ball of a masa harina, water & salt. And it worked like a damn charm. And then I discovered the best news EVER. I could make more than just tortillas. I could make tamales, pupusas, sopes.

One of my pet names for Stephen is Pupusa… I don’t know how it came to be but it was one of the first things I called him. I thought it was only fitting I make him Pupusas for his birthday (okay, the day before).  The recipe is really simple & they are incredibly delicious. I must warn you though – you must have the patience of a freaking saint to form them. Okay, they’re not that bad… unless you’re a perfectionist.

Stephen was gracious enough to let me take these pictures of his food before I let him eat it.

Smoky Poblano & Black Bean Pupusas


  • 2 Cups Masa Harina
  • 1 3/4 Cups Warm Water
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl. The dough should be very moist but not sticky – much moister than for tortillas. You want the dough to be moist enough that it doesn’t crack when you’re forming the pupusas. If the dough dries out a bit as it sits, just add a couple more teaspoons of water. I actually made mine as the filling was cooking. Form into about 8 balls, somewhere between the size of a golf ball & tennis ball.


  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Med/Large Poblano Pepper, diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 Tsp Chipotle Powder (this makes the filling smoky AND spicy, you can sub smoked paprika for smokiness without the heat)
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • Juice of Half a Lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Water

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium/large saute pan. Add poblano, jalapeno & onion. Saute until vegetables are tender and slightly browned. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add black beans & salt & seasonings. Stir to combine. Add water and simmer gently over medium/low heat until much of the water has cooked down. Smash the black beans to a “refried bean” consistency. Squeeze lime juice into mix & stir to combine. You want the mixture to be thick for stuffing the pupusas.

To form: the pupusas, start with one of the masa balls. Form a small bowl by sinking your thumb in the middle & pinching the sides of the dough… much like when you were little and would make little clay bowls. The dough should be less than a centimeter thick. Fill the “bowl” with a couple of spoonfuls of filling. Fold together edges to close. Then flatten into a disk. The edges may crack a little, just muster all your patience to pinch the masa back together. If the filling comes out a bit, don’t worry! It happens. We had leftover filling that I served next to the pupusas. I wish I had some right now.

To cook: the pupusas, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Cook pupusas for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side.

To serve: the pupusas, top with pico de gallo (as pictured), sour cream, guacamole, lime juice, hot sauce or any of your favorite accompaniments.

These babys were sooo good. They were a bit of a challenge to form but I think with practice I could one day become a professional pupusa maker. They’re certainly worth it. Hot out of the pan with some fresh pico de gallo, they’re a bit crunchy on the outside from the pan fry and gooey with a huge punch of flavor on the inside.

Two sites that I consulted with pictures on how to form the Pupusas:

Dandy Sugar

Better With Butter

A Smoothie, A Sandwich & Some Yoga

At least once a week (sometimes more) I drive the 2 minutes down the road to the Harbour Center for lunch. WHY? Because I’m freaking obsessed with Robeks & Potbelly. And I always order the same thing.

From Robeks, I get a regular (which is actually HUGE) Dr. Robeks smoothie which contains strawberries, raspberries, orange juice, raspberry sherbet (which upon further research I’ve discovered contains a very small amount of dairy… oops), and immune system & vitamin boosters. Unfortunately, the HUGE regular sized smoothie has 372 calories in it and that is the smallest size offered for the Dr. Robeks that I enjoy so much. I usually don’t finish my whole smoothie but still, that’s quite a few calories. I shall try to cut back in the future or maybe cut out the smoothie altogether. I shall commence a mission to make my own, healthier, vegan version!

Then I walk next door to the Potbelly and order an original (size) vegetarian on multi-grain with no cheese (aka just fresh mushrooms please). After they toast it, I ask for “mustard, hot peppers, lettuce, onion & pickles, please.” Okay, let me rave. They make their own mustard which is a spicy brown & it’s freaking delicious. They make their how hot peppers which are actually comprised of peppers, cauliflower, carrots, celery and I honestly don’t know what else but they’re salty & vinegary & spicy & yum. Then, the pickles are sliced so thin they’re like sheets of paper. Oh how I love this sandwich. It is supreme. According to the Potbelly meal calculator  my sandwich is only 350 calories. There are also 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein. It also contains a buttload of sodium but I can’t bring myself to skip the hot peppers… don’t make me… please… they’re so… tasty.

So, all in all, that’s about 722 calories for lunch. That may sound like a lot, but when you consider that there are 750 calories in a Chipotle burrito with no meat or dairy (just tortilla, rice, beans, fajitas, salsa, lettuce, guacamole), that seems like a pretty good deal. A big old portion of fruit, whole grains, and bit of veg. I’m satisfied 🙂

Pammy & I are also doing “gentle yoga” which really just means beginner yoga every Wednesday. And I called the local gym today to ask about membership costs… I’m thinking a 6 month membership since (fingers crossed) I may be moving to DC soon. They also offer yoga classes & a bunch of others.. cycling, zumba, etc. Emily may be joining as well! AND I just found a totally awesome Groupon deal for 10 classes of hot yoga. My only worry is that they’ve sold so many that the classes will be overflowing! Disclaimer: No, I cannot do yoga like Briohny Smyth. Seriously though, how many people can?


On a less positive side…  My immediate reaction to websites with unexpected sound is usually “HOW DO I TURN IT OFF????? HOW???” Does anyone else feel this way?