Salpicón De Res (Salvadoran Minced Beef Salad)

Time 55 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6
A plate of Salpicon de Res with rice and beans next to a plate of tortillas
(Katrina Frederick / For The Times)
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This is the dish that got me to call my grandmother and ask her to help me figure out the recipe. It was probably my favorite as a kid because it serves as a savory vessel for lime and salt. Salpicón de res is technically considered a salad because the meat is cooked, cooled, then minced and mixed with the vegetables and herbs, very similar to a larb. But instead of finishing it off with a lettuce wrap, salpicón is accompanied by rice and beans.

There is some variety in which vegetables to use or how fine the minced meat and vegetables should be, but for the most part, it should have mint and it should have lime. Its flavors are fresh, like a Saturday morning, and everyone feels pretty good after eating it.

This recipe typically calls for a lean cut of beef. Using such a cut works because it’s affordable and when it’s minced and dressed in the lime, the toughness isn’t a problem.

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In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the beef, intact onion half, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt. Using a large slotted spoon, skim off and discard any foam and fat that rises to the surface of the water; repeat as needed.


Cook the meat until it is tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest. In a large bowl, combine the minced onion, mint and radishes. Set aside.


Using a sharp knife, mince the cooled beef and then add to the onion-mint-radish mixture. Add the lime juice, season with salt and stir to mix well. Let the salad sit for 10 minutes at room temperature to let the flavors mingle. Serve the salpicón with arroz and additional lime juice.

From “The SalviSoul Cookbook: Salvadoran Recipes & the Women Who Preserve Them” (Ten Speed Press) by Karla Tatiana Vasquez.