I first tried curtido at Tlaloc, a fantastic Salvadorian and Mexican restaurant in Athens, GA. When we lived there it was one of my top 5 favorite restaurants and caused me to eat waaaaay too many pupusas. Tlaloc is also where I first tried tongue, giving me the courage to eventually cook my own (see my step by step tutorial here).
Curtido is a spicy slaw that is the traditional accompaniment to pupusas, which are made from masa harina (corn treated with lime - what's used to make tortillas and chips, too) and stuffed with various meats, beans, cheese, or pickled edible flower buds called loroco.
Pupusas are not paleo by any stretch of the imagination, but curtido sure is, and it makes an excellent condiment for so many more dishes.
But I have good news: my best-selling print cookbook Latin American Paleo Cooking DOES have a Paleo and even AIP pupusa recipe inside! Learn more about my cookbook here and buy it on Amazon below.
It also has pastelillos, arepas, pasteles, empanadas and SO MANY MORE recipes! It contains many recipes taught to me by my Puerto Rican mother-in-law as well as many recipes from countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Peru, Argentina, and more.
If you've got the time, it's best to make curtido the truly traditional way and ferment it. I encourage you to check out my good friend Rachel at South Beach Primal to get her recipe for a fermented curtido.
My version here is a quick vinegar-based version. You can whip it together fast, instead of having to wait months to enjoy it.
Jalapeños are a traditional ingredient, but if you want to be nightshade-free to make this recipe AIP, you can simply omit it or replace it with some extra garlic.
Sometimes I do make my own pupusas at home and will enjoy this with them, but curtido also goes fabulously with grilled chicken, steak, pork chops, or fish. Tell me in the comments how you enjoy it!
Quick and Easy Salvadorian Curtido (Spicy slaw - Paleo, AIP option)
Curtido is a traditional Salvadorian condiment, typically served with pupusas, but excellent with any meat or even eggs. This is a quick, vinegar-based recipe. Check out South Beach Primal for a fermented version.
- 1 small to medium head of green cabbage, sliced very thinly or grated
- 2-4 carrots, grated
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced into 1" pieces
- 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced with seeds removed (omit for AIP, sub garlic if desired, see below)
- 2 tsp unrefined salt
- 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano (regular is OK if you don't have it)
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- optional: garlic (few cloves, to taste - as substitute for jalapeno peppers)
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine evenly. Depending on how large your cabbage is, you may need to add a bit extra vinegar and water. Place it in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving. Flavors will continue to develop as it sits. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for several days and enjoy!
Cook time: 00 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 10 mins.
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