Wild Salvadoran Curtido

Source: Vanessa Barrington, author of D.I.Y. Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food from Scratch

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This recipe was demonstrated for Foodwise’s Market to Table program on October 23, 2010.

Curtido is a lightly fermented cabbage salad commonly served with pupusas. Think of it as sort of a Latin American sauerkraut. Like sauerkraut, it is the perfect companion to any rich, heavy, or meaty dish. Try it with tacos, quesadillas, beans or bean soups.

Makes 1 quart


1 medium head green cabbage (about 1½ pounds), quartered, cored, and sliced as thinly as possible
½ small onion, sliced thinly
2 to 3 carrots, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 jalapeños, cut in quarters lengthwise, seeded and sliced thinly
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed


Put the cabbage, onion, and carrots in a large bowl. Add the salt and, with clean hands, toss and squeeze the vegetables until they start to soften and release their liquid (about 5 minutes). Add the jalapeños and oregano and toss to distribute. Pack the mixture tightly into a one-quart, wide-mouthed glass Mason jar, pushing down on the vegetables with a wooden spoon or your fingertips with as much force as you can until the level of liquid rises above the vegetables. Put a smaller jar inside the glass jar to keep the vegetables submerged. Cover with a clean tea towel and secure with a rubber band. The curtido needs to breathe.

Leave out at room temperature for about 3 to 5 days. Check once daily to be sure the vegetables stay submerged, pushing down on them if needed. If you see a frothy residue on the surface, simply skim it off. Taste daily starting on the 2nd day. The curtido is ready when it tastes good to you. When it’s to your liking, fasten the lid and transfer it to the refrigerator. It will last months in the refrigerator. It doesn’t really go bad but will soften over time.

Farmers Market Ingredients