Salpicón: shredded beef and mint salad from Guatemala

If you’ve got a bounty of mint in your garden and have already drank your fair share of mojito cocktails, it’s worth whipping up this recipe for Salpicón Guatemalteco, a refreshing shredded beef and mint salad from Guatemala.

A traditional Guatemalan food served at parties and get togethers, salpicón de res is a perfect appetizer or side dish for a summer BBQ party as you can make it in advance and, unlike mayonnaise-based salads that have to stay super-chilled, you don’t have to worry about contracting food  poisoning while transporting it.

It’s also low fat and low calorie and unlike chojin, a similar traditional Guatemalan food popular as an appetizer but made with chicharron (fried pork rinds) , it’s not deep fried.

Salpicon de res Guatemalteco Recipe Salpicón Guatemalteco

Try this recipe for Salpicon de res Guatemalteco at your next BBQ

Jump to Recipe

You can find variations of this shredded beef salad across Central America and in Mexico, where salpicón de res Guatemalteco is made with an oil and vinegar vinaigrette and oregano rather than mint. But if you’re on a mission to use fresh mint from your garden , this version is one of our favourite traditional recetas guatemaltecas to make.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian appetizer, another easy Guatemalan appetizer to make is tortitas de ejote. Check out our recipe for  Green Bean Fritters or Tortitas de Ejote Guatemalteco 

Picturesque valley near San Vicente, Zacapa, Guatemala

Picturesque valley near San Vicente, Zacapa, Guatemala

Traditional Guatemalan Food Recipe from Chiquimula, Guatemala

I first tried salpicón de res Guatemalteco in the home of my husband’s best friend, Juan Carlos. His wife Idalia hails from Chiquimula, a sweltering but picturesque city surrounded by mountains near our family ranch in Zacapa, Guatemala.  Her cool radish salad appetizer made an ideal midday snack and featured shredded radishes, which added extra bite and colour.

My sister-in-law claims  that people who use radishes in salpicon are “piche” or frugal skinflints who are just trying to extend the recipe but I suspect it’s a variation that came via Nicaragua where radishes are popular addition to shredded beef. If you do use radishes, then omit the tomatoes or you really will risk being called “piche”.

Get your meat cut to order at the butcher shop in Benito Juarez Market Puerto Escondido Mexico

Get your meat cut to order at the butcher shop in Benito Juarez Market Puerto Escondido Mexico

What Cut of Meat to Use (Carne Para Salpicón Guatemalteco)

In Guatemala and Mexico, you can tell the butcher the dish you’re planning to make and he’ll  give you the exact cut of meat needed for your recipe.  In Canada, it’s not so easy. I used a blade roast for this salpicon de res recipe but you could substitute flank steak , brisket or any other cut of meat that’s marbled and tenderizes with a long cooking time at a low temperature.

salpicon shredded beef appetizer

Serve the shredded beef on tortillas or taco chips

5 from 1 vote
Salpicon, a shredded beef appetizer from Guatemala
Salpicón: shredded beef and mint salad from Guatemala
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Chilling time
30 mins
Total Time
6 hrs 30 mins

Salpicon de res Guatemalteco is a traditional Guatemalan food served as a refreshing salad or appetizer

Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Guatemala
Keyword: Guatemalan appetizers, salpicon, traditional Guatemalan food
Servings: 6 or more
Calories: 300 kcal
Author: Michele Peterson
  • 2-3 pound blade roast
  • 6 cups beef stock or water
  • 8 stalks of fresh mint or hierba buena
  • 2 limes
  • 3 T orange juice preferably bitter orange or naranja agria
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 4 to matoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Simmer the beef in a slow-cooker for 6 hours. Then remove the beef and chill it in the fridge. You can save the beef broth for caldo de res soup, just adding vegetables and serving it with rice later.
  2. Remove the seeds and pulp and then dice the tomatoes finely.
  3. Mince the onion very finely. You might be tempted to use a food processor to speed things up but don't give into temptation as it will change the texture of the salad.
  4. Remove the mint leaves from the stalks and chop them finely. Discard the stems.
  5. Remove the seeds and interior of the jalapeno pepper and mince the pepper into tiny pieces.
  6. Once the meat has cooled, remove any fat and shred the meat into strips using two forks. Then dice the meat into as tiny pieces as you have patience for.
  7. Combine the meat and chopped mint, onion, tomato and jalapeno pepper in a large bowl.
  8. In a separate bowl, combine the lime juice from two limes, 3 Tablespoons of orange juice plus salt and pepper.
  9. Pour the lime juice mixture over the meat mixture and toss lightly with a fork.
  10. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour and then serve.

 Looking for more recipes to try from Guatemala? Check out these recetas guatemaltecas below:

Green Bean Fritters or Tortitas de Ejote Guatemalteco 

Pescado Seco Envuelto en Huevo  or Bacalao a la Vizcaina

Christmas Eve Salad or Ensalada de Nochebuena 

Tortitas de Berro or Watercress Omelettes 


Got lots of mint in your garden? Try this authentic recipe for Guatemalan salpicon - a delicious appetizer ideal for spring and summer

Got lots of mint in your garden? Try this authentic recipe for Guatemalan salpicon – a delicious appetizer ideal for spring and summer

Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 6 comments
  • Sherel Purcell

    Yummy Guatemala recipe!

  • Lesley Peterson

    Salpicon sounds fantastic! I love mint. Will be printing this recipe.

  • esperanza

    Sounds and looks delicious and a lovely change from the old mixed greens and romaine (yet again!)

  • Irene S. Levine

    Looks like a lovely summer dish. Thanks for sharing the recipe~

  • Wandering Carol

    This sounds truly amazing – refreshing for summer. Love the photos as well. PS Please make it for me when I’m back in Toronto!

  • Chris Rawstern

    Salpicon! I only ever heard it called Picadito! Whatever it’s called, our family loves this dish, whether made only with radishes or this way, with meat. My preference is brisket, as it has great flavor.

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