Salpicón de Res: An Easy Guatemalan Recipe

Salpicón de res (o salpicon de carne) is a shredded or diced beef salad loaded with citrus flavors. It is a tasty traditional Guatemalan food perfect as a party appetizer or a wholesome main dish. Unlike any other salad you have ever tried, this Guatemalan dish is full of fresh vegetables and a delicious marinade! And besides being a healthy meal, it is a Guatemalan recipe so versatile that you won’t believe how easy it is to make. You can serve it over crispy tostadas at your next BBQ or as a light summer meal for those hot nights.

Guatemalan salpicon de carne

 

Salpicón de Res: The Perfect Beef Salad Recipe

With summer just around the corner, I began to look for light meals we could enjoy during those hot days. Plus, I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen away from my family and all the fun. Then I remembered Salpicón! A shredded beef salad my Abuelita used to make when we went to the beach during Semana Santa break in Puerto de San Jose in Guatemala.

Salpicón de res is a traditional Guatemalan dish full of fresh flavors and absolutely delicious! Not only is it a healthy beef recipe you can make ahead of time, but it is also super easy! Serve it as a whole meal over a bed of white rice, roll it into a soft tortilla, or scoop it on top of a crunchy tostada (my personal favorite). So, if you are looking for really easy traditional Guatemalan food to bring to try at home, you’ve come to the right place!

 

What is Salpicón de Res?

Salpicón (also known as salpicón de carne and salpicon de res) is delicious beef and cilantro salad popular throughout Latin American countries. The word salpicon refers to the minced veggies and shredded meat tossed in with a citrus lime and orange marinade. 

Thanks to its simplicity, you will find many variations of this delicious dish, from lamb to chicken, pork, and even tuna. But the beef version is prevalent in Guatemala, typically served as an easy weekday meal. 

Guatemalan salpicon de carne recipe

 

How to Make Guatemalan Salpicón de Res

Cook the Beef

  1. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, add beef, onion, garlic cloves, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  2. Add enough water to cover the beef and cook over medium-high heat until the water starts to boil.
  3. Lower the heat and cook for 2 ½ hours or until beef is tender. Remove from the pot and allow it to cool down enough to handle.
  4. Using two forks, shred the beef into long strands. Then slice into smaller pieces crosswise. Set aside. 

chiles rellenos filling

Chopping Time:

  1. While the beef is cooking, trim the radishes and rinse. Chop them finely.
  2. Next, chop the onions and tomato into small cubes. Then, finely chop the cilantro or mint and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Add all the veggies and herbs into a large bowl, add the lime juice and orange juice, and stir. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss Everything Together:

  1. Add the shredded meat to the vegetables and stir until well combined. Check for seasoning.
  2. Let it rest for 30 minutes to cool down, and let all the flavors come togther.
  3. Garnish with crumbled queso fresco (optional) and serve at room temperature or cold over lettuce leaves.
  4. Serve over white rice or as toppings over crispy tostadas.

Easy recipe for salpicon de res

 

Tips for making the Best Salpicón de Res

  • Take Shortcuts! Although I used a Dutch oven for this recipe, you can also place the beef in a slow cooker and forget about it for a few hours. Or you can take a shortcut and cook the meat in an instant pot to cut the cooking time in half!
  • Great Substitutes: Naranja agria (or bitter oranges) is a preferred ingredient in this traditional Guatemalan recipe. Its tangy touch helps cut through the beef for maximum tenderness. If you can’t find naranjas agrias at your supermarket, you can buy a bottle of Goya Naranja agria; or, better yet, mix your marinade. Combine unsweetened orange juice and grapefruit juice in equal parts in a separate bowl and add to the salad along with the lime juice.

oranges and citrus

  •  Let it rest: After tossing everything together, let this tasty cold beef dish marinate for a little to let the beef absorb all the flavors. Then, for best results, I pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes and take it out when it is time to serve.

 

Make-Ahead of Time

This Traditional Guatemalan food is one you can prepare ahead of time, considering a couple of tips. First, cook and shred the beef a couple of days before so it is ready to use. Then place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days. 

You can also pre-cut all the veggies and store them aside in a container in the fridge. Another idea is to combine everything and let it marinate overnight (not longer). Then, the next day, take the shredded beef salad out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. 

 

How to Store Salpicón

This Guatemalan dish will last up to four days refrigerated. Place everything (beef, veggies, and juices) in an airtight container and pop it in the fridge. But be mindful that this refreshing beef salad could turn a little sour if it sits in the marinade too long. 

You can also cook the beef ahead of time and freeze it for three months using a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container. Remember to label and date everything so you don’t forget how long it has been sitting in your freezer. When ready to use, simply thaw the meat overnight in the fridge and follow the recipe as usual.

 

What To Serve with Guatemalan Salpicón de Res?

You usually serve this traditional Guatemalan food over a bed of white rice as a complete main course. However, you can also dish up this healthy meal as appetizers, topping them over corn tostadas shells or freshly made tortillas.

Guatemalan beef salpicon recipe

 

I love sprinkling bits of queso fresco (or any crumbling cheese I have at hand) with a few slices of pickled jalapeños on top. And if you want to add a bit of creamy flavor, cut a couple of avocados into small cubes. It is my favorite topping for this delicious Guatemalan recipe.

 

Other Traditional Guatemalan Recipes You’ll love

  • Guatemalan Enchiladas or Jardineras Recipe: A traditional Guatemalan dish, it is a relatively easy Guatemalan recipe. Made with a toasted tortilla topped with a vegetable mixture or escabeche, ground beef, and tomato sauce, it is one of my favorite authentic Guatemalan foods.

best Guatemalan enchiladas recipe

  • Guatemalan Chiles Rellenos: This traditional Guatemalan recipe is somewhat different from the Mexican Chiles Rellenos. It is made with sweet peppers, filled with a concoction of beef and veggies, and served drizzled with tomato sauce.
  • Guatemalan Hilachas de Carne: An easy Instapot and slow cooker shredded beef stew recipe for a traditional Guatemalan dish. Similar to the Mexican Ropa Vieja recipe, it is a flavorful and easy-to-make shredded beef stew simmered in a velvety tomato-based recado sauce.

Guatemalan hilachas easy recipe

  • Guatemalan Tostadas: The tostadas are a traditional Guatemalan food often served as snacks or appetizers during holiday festivities. You can spread tostadas with recado salsa (tomato sauce), refried black beans, and guacamole and topped with onions, cheese, and fresh cilantro.

When craving a light and refreshing beef dish look no further than Salpicón de res! This Guatemalan recipe is super nutritious, easy to make, and affordable. It is one of my favorite Guatemalan dishes to serve at parties, either as a healthy meal or a tasty appetizer. And the best part, this traditional Guatemalan food is so deliciously refreshing that it is perfect for these upcoming warm summer months.

Guatemalan salpicon de carne

Salpicón de Res: An Easy Guatemalan Recipe

Yield: 6 portions
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

An easy-to-make beef and citrus salad perfect for a light lunch or dinner

Ingredients

For the Shredded Meat:

  • 1½ lbs. flank steak
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water

For the Salad Added to the Salpicón:

  • ½ red or white onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of radishes, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 8 stalks of fresh mint or hierba buena, finely chopped (you can use cilantro)
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoons orange juice, preferably naranja agria (bitter orange)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crumbled Queso Fresco (optional for garnish)
  • Lettuce leaves (optional for garnish)

Instructions

Cook the Beef

  1. Season beef with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, add beef, onion, garlic cloves, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add enough water to cover the beef and cook over medium-high heat until the water starts to boil.
  3. Lower the heat and cook for 2 ½ hours or until beef is tender. Remove from the pot and allow it to cool down enough to handle.
  4. Using two forks, shred the beef into long strands. Continue to slice into smaller pieces crosswise. Set aside.

Prepare the Salad:

  1. While the beef is cooking, trim the radishes and rinse. Then, chop them finely into almost mince.
  2. Next, chop the onions and tomato into small cubes. Then, finely chop the mint and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Add all the veggies and herbs into a bowl, add the lime juice and orange juice, and stir. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss Everything Together:

  1. Add the shredded meat to the salad and combine well.
  2. For best results, let the beef and cilantro salad marinate for a little to let all the flavors come together.
  3. Garnish with crumbled queso fresco and serve at room temperature or cold over lettuce leaves.
  4. Serve over white rice or as toppings over crispy tostadas.

Notes

  • Take Shortcuts: Although I used a Dutch oven for this recipe, you can also place the beef in a slow cooker and forget about it for a few hours. Or you can take a shortcut and cook the meat in an instant pot to cut the cooking time in half.
  • Great Substitutes: If you can’t find naranjas agrias at your supermarket, you can buy a bottle of Goya Naranja Agria. Better yet, mix your marinade. Combine unsweetened orange juice and grapefruit juice in equal parts in a separate bowl and add to the salad along with the lime juice.
  • Let it rest: After tossing everything together, let this tasty cold beef dish marinate for a little to let the beef absorb all the flavors. Then, for best results, pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes and take it out when it is time to serve.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276Total Fat: 12.3gSaturated Fat: 5.4gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 1268mgCarbohydrates: 7.1gFiber: 1.9gSugar: 3.3gProtein: 32.5g

2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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1 thought on “Salpicón de Res: An Easy Guatemalan Recipe”

  1. Thanks for sharing this delicious Guatemalan dish!!! I love making it on hot days, or when I want a light meal.

    Reply

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