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El Salvadoran Cabbage Salad Curtido

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Curtido is an El Salvadoran Cabbage Salad complemented by salsa roja and usually served with pupusas or main entree.

Curtido El Salvadoran Cabbage Salad

What is Curtido?

Curtido is an complementing cabbage salad item served in El Salvadoran Restaurants. Most often, you’ll find this side salad, or relish, served with pupusas. Curtido is often referred to as a “cabbage slaw” as its main ingredient is cabbage. Though curtido is in the slaw family, it does not carry the same taste as American style coleslaw.

How did you find out about Curtido?

I’ve tried El Salvadorian food several times over the years. My initial point in going was to get the flavors of Tex-Mex as some places advertise as such, however, please believe me when I share that the tastes are very different. All of the El Salvadorian restaurants that I experienced were in the DMV area, meaning, Washington, DC, and its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia.

I first tried El Salvadorian Food at Lauriol Plaza in Washington, DC. It was a memorable experience due to the location, DuPont Circle, and the well decorated dining space but didn’t quite hit home, so I tried several other El Salvadoran restaurants between that time. It wasn’t until I visited Taco Rico, in Hyattsville, MD that curtido became a thing, a very big thing to be exact. My yearning for this El Salvadoran Cabbage Salad grew and I had to have it again. So, I found my way to Paraiso in Takoma Park, MD. At this point, my love for curtido grew greater because this place made the best “Salvadoran Cabbage Slaw” that ever had. It was so flavorful and seemed simple enough to make, so I tried to recreate it at home.

Keep reading to see how it went.

salvador salad curtido

Bean and Cheese Pupusa with a Side of Curtido


Ingredients for El Salvadoran Cabbage Salad Curtido

These are the ingredients for approximately five small servings or four medium servings. The average serving size is shown in in the video below.

  • 1/4 small cabbage (chopped)
  • 1/4 red onion
  • small handful of matchstick carrots
  • 5 jalapeno slices chopped
  • 3 teaspoons oregano (see video for oregano substitute)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is ok)

Easy El Salvadoran Cabbage Salad

  • Rinse and chop cabbage to desired thickness then place in strainer to be blanched
  • Boil water for blanching
  • While the water is boiling, chop or shave other vegetables: onions, jalapenos, and carrots
  • rinse and dry chopped vegetables then place in a bowl
  • blanch cabbage
  • cool cabbage with cold running water then allow to drain, pat dry if needed
  • combine vegetables
  • add salt, vinegar, and oregano then mix
  • cover and chill
  • allow to marinate at least one hour before serving

How to Make El Salvadoran Cabbage Salad Curtido Video

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