Top | Vegetarian Main Dishes

Guatemalan-Style Sopes

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)

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Sopes are thick little tortilla boats garnished with cheese and salsa sold as street food in Mexico; north of the border, you'll see them on appetizer menus in upscale Mexican restaurants. The chief difference between Mexican sopes (which are typically basted in lard) and this recipe is the use of Guatemalan-style tortillas: thick, hand-patted tortillas about four inches in diameter and dry-cooked on a griddle. Serve a single sope as an appetizer, or several as a full meal.


  1. 2 cups masa harina flour
  2. 1 cup water, plus more as needed
  3. Cheddar cheese, queso fresco, or other medium-tasting, meltable cheese
  4. 2 cups cooked beans (pinto or black)
  5. 1 cup salsa
  6. 2 cups Guacamole
  7. Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Place the masa harina in a bowl. Gradually add the water, mixing it in with your fingers, until the flour and water have formed a thick (but not soggy) paste.
  2. Heat a skillet or flat griddle to medium-high. With damp hands, scoop up a small amount of the masa mixture and roll it between your palms into a ball. Carefully flatten the ball into a disk about ¼ to ½ inches thick; the edges will crack, but just press them back together with your fingertips. (Feel free to use a tortilla press instead if you like, but don't press the paste too thin.)
  3. Place the flattened tortilla on the griddle. Repeat until the griddle is full. When the undersides of the tortillas start to darken, flip them and place slices, gratings, or crumblings of the cheese on top. When the cheese has melted (you may need to put a lid over the skillet or griddle to encourage melting), remove the tortillas to serving plates.
  4. Dollop each cheese-covered tortilla with a spoonful of warm beans, followed by salsa, guacamole, and cilantro. Serve hot.


Turn this dish into a vegan meal by skipping the cheese.