Pupusa Burger with Curtido (Cabbage Slaw) and Salsa Rojo Mayo

Pairs well with:

White Zinfandel

With strawberry and melon essences, this American original is perfectly at home with however you like to unwind.

Most Saturday mornings, you can find my family and I, as well as thousands of other Iowans, at the Des Moines Farmers Market.The market is incredible with all sorts of fresh produce, meat, cheese, and anything else you can think of! One of the most popular stands at the market sells Pupusas, a popular dish from El Salvador. The line is always long and many people wait for long periods of time just to get their hands on one. It has become a popular staple here in Iowa and with my family. The flavors seemed perfect for a burger, not to mention, incorporating some of the fresh produce from Iowa and the Midwest.


3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup Julienned carrots
1/2 cup red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced (soak in ice water if desired, to cut strong onion flavor)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Salsa Rojo Mayo:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced
2/3 cup tomato, chopped & seeded
2 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly group black pepper
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound Johnsonville All Natural Ground Hot Italian Sausage
1/2 cup Loroco, finely chopped*
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
6 corn hamburger rolls, or good quality hamburger buns; split
6 slices Monterey Jack Cheese


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

While grill is preheating, prepare slaw. In large bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Add cabbage, carrots, 1/2 cup red onion, and 1/4 cup cilantro; toss to coat. Cover, set aside, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a small fire proof saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over grill over medium-hot heat. Add 1 tablespoon onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook 3-5 minutes or until softened. Place mixture in blender (or food processor); add tomato, water, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; process until smooth. Pour back into saucepan and cook about 5 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened; stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, pour in small bowl, and cool completely. Whisk in 3 tablespoons cilantro and mayonnaise, set aside.

Place ground chuck and sausage in large mixing bowl. Add loroco, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Handling meat as little as possible, work all ingredients together until well combined. Shape into 6 patties to fit rolls. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook about 4-6 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, place buns cut side down on the outer edges of grill rack to toast lightly and place cheese on burgers to melt.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of mayo over the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a grilled patty, then with a slotted spoon top with slaw, add the top bun and serve.

Makes 6 burgers