Tortitas de Berro: Easy Recipe for Guatemalan Watercress Omelettes

Popular throughout Guatemala and El Salvador, these  tortitas de berro or tortitas de berro con huevo (watercress pancakes) make a healthy  breakfast or snack.

ry this delicious traditional recipe from Guatemala for Watercress Omelettes or Tortitas de Berro a healthy #vegetarian breakfast packed with vitamins and minerals #recipe

Tortitas de berro are the perfect way to take advantage of the huge bunches of crunchy fresh watercress you can find in the outdoor fruit and vegetable markets throughout Mexico and Latin America.

Eat a few of these bite-sized watercress omelettes and you’ll also be starting your day off with a healthy boost, as watercress is a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins K, C and A — super important for building bones and eye health. You’ll positively bound out the door to start your day.

If you’re looking for an economical, vegetarian and easy lunchtime meal featuring cooked watercress, you’ll definitely want to add this tortitas de berro watercress recipe to your list of everyday favourites.

How to Prepare Fresh Watercress

ingredients for tortitas de berro a traditional Guatemalan recipe for watercress omelette

ingredients for tortitas de berro a traditional Guatemalan recipe for watercress omelette

Be sure to rinse your watercress thoroughly. Separate the branches of watercress and rinse to remove any traces of grit. Then chop off the tough ends of the stalks.

If you’re in Mexico or Latin America, it’s wise to disinfect the watercress in an antibacterial vegetable wash solution that will reduce the risks associated with consuming contaminated fruit or vegetables. Because watercress is a leafy vegetable that is cultivated under water there is the potential for contamination from bacteria and while cooking watercress (or any vegetable) will kill most forms of bacteria, I like to take extra precautions and disinfect any produce that might be suspect.

The most popular brand is of antibacterial wash in Mexico is Microdyn. You can purchase it at major supermarkets or Walmart and even larger OXXO stores. A small bottle lasts a very long time as you just use a few drops per gallon. The bottles are so tiny, I pack one in my carry-on bag whenever I travel so I can purify water for drinking or disinfect fruit and vegetables as needed.

To prepare this recipe for tortitas de berro, prepare your Microdyn solution (generally 10 drops per 1 litre of water but read the instructions on the bottle for the proportions) and then soak your watercress in the Microdyn and purified water solution for 15 minutes ( or the specified time period on the bottle), drain and use as described in the recipe below.

Another option for disinfecting vegetables such as watercress and available on Amazon is Fit Organic 32 Oz Soaker Produce Wash, Fruit and Vegetable Wash and Pesticide/Wax Remover, Pack of 3 Bottles

How to Cook Fresh Watercress Omelettes

chopped fresh watercress for tortitas de berro

Chopped fresh watercress mixed with chopped tomato, onion and garlic ready for tortitas de berro

Once you’ve cleaned the fresh watercress (and disinfected it if necessary) then it’s time to cook it. This step just takes a few minutes as watercress is quite tender so will take just three to five minutes to cook.

Once tender, drain it and allow it to cool enough so you can squeeze out the excess moisture with your hands.

After removing as much water as you can, place it in a food processor or chop it finely by hand. I’m a big fan of the Braun MQ777 Multiquick 7 Hand Blender, Black as it cleans easily, is compact and trouble- free to us, and best of all chops the vegetables finely without making them mushy.

Once you’ve mixed the beaten eggs with the chopped watercress, onion, tomatoes and garlic, it’s easy to fry up a batch of these fritters on a non-stick griddle ( I love the Delonghi Livenza All-Day Grill) or large frying pan.

The key to making them crispy is to try not to pack too many fritters into the pan or onto the griddle at the same time.

Tortitas de Berro con Huevo / Watercress Pancakes with Egg


Tortitas de berro a Guatemalan recipe for watercress omelette with cheese

Serve your tortitas de berro with a chunk of cheese, black beans and avocado

Sprinkled with dry. crumbly white cheese from Zacapa, Guatemala and served with black beans, fresh salsa and handmade tortillas, these watercress fritters also serve as a full meal. If you can’t find grated Zacapa or Cotija cheese, use feta cheese (preferably Dodonis) or Parmesan. The peppery taste of the watercress is nicely complemented by the saltiness of the cheese.

These fritters are one of the most popular Recetas Salvadoreñas and a popular traditional Guatemalan food for breakfast so are likely to disappear as quickly as you can get them onto a plate.

But should you have any leftover tortitas de berro, you can eat them later tucked inside a crusty white French bun like those available from street vendors throughout Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

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Tortitas de berro con huevo - watercress pancakes from Guatemala and El Salvador
Tortitas de Berro (Guatemalan watercress omelettes)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins

These mini watercress omelettes are healthy, full of vitamins and protein and easy to make. They're a traditional food that's popular for breakfast or a light lunch  in Guatemala and El Salvador. 

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Guatemalan
Keyword: recipes with watercress, tortas de berro, tortitas de berro, watercress omlettes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 182 kcal
Author: Michele Peterson
  • 2 cups watercress fresh with bottom of stems trimmed
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse the watercress thoroughly. Be sure to separate the stalks while washing to remove any grit. Chop off the coarse ends of the stalks  

  2. Soak in Microdyne solution ( if you're in Mexico or Guatemala)
  3. Cook the watercress in boiling salted water until slightly tender (about 3-5 minutes)

  4. Meanwhile, dice the onion, garlic clove and tomato ( removing seeds) finely.

  5. Beat eggs until foamy
  6. Drain the watercress in a colander, squeezing water out with your hands and then chop in a food processor

  7. Fold chopped watercress, onion, garlic and tomato into egg mixture and stir

  8. Heat oil in a large Teflon frying pan to medium high 

  9. Ladle spoonfuls of the watercress egg mixture onto frying pan or griddle and flatten with spoon until the size of a coaster, pushing egg toward centre if it spreads in the pan to keep the shape more or less circular

Recipe Notes
  • The key to crispy tortitas is to avoid packing too many fritters into the pan or onto the griddle at the same time.
Nutrition Facts
Tortitas de Berro (Guatemalan watercress omelettes)
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 182 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 327mg 109%
Sodium 721mg 30%
Potassium 284mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Sugars 1g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 31.2%
Vitamin C 20.9%
Calcium 9.8%
Iron 8.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


And that’s not the only recipe we’ve discovered in Guatemala and El Salvador! Subscribe to our blog and you’ll get a FREE checklist of Must-try Recipes

Or go directly to these recipe posts:

Cooking Class and Recipe for Pulique (Chicken Stew) from Solola, Guatemala

Recipe for Salpicon de Res  from Guatemala

Recipe for Tortitas de Ejote from Guatemala 


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Try this delicious traditional recipe from Guatemala and El Salvador for Watercress Omelettes or Tortitas de Berro a healthy #vegetarian breakfast packed with vitamins and minerals #recipe

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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  • Wandering Carol

    I am SO hungry reading this. It looks so light and tasty.

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