Mofongo Dressing with Salami Brings a Bit of Puerto Rico and My Grandmother to the Family Table

Chunks of hard salami add a salty-tangy edge and toothsome texture to Puerto Rican mofongo dressing. Add this plantain-and-sausage dish to the spread at your next family gathering.

Puerto Rican Mofongo Dressing with Salami
Photo: Lisa Cassell-Arms
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

I'm going to assume that there are some people who don't think Thanksgiving is anything in Puerto Rico. You'd be right. And wrong. Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but as Puerto Ricans are American citizens, Thanksgiving is one of the many things we've adopted and adapted. Puerto Rico has one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world. There's more singing, drinking and eating than in your wildest dreams. Thanksgiving is merely an extension of the Christmas holiday season. Most of the dishes on the holiday table are the same for both holidays: arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas), coquito (coconut eggnog), tembleque (a coconut dessert). Specifically reserved for Thanksgiving are the pavochon—the word is a combination of pavo (turkey) and lechón (slow-roasted pork) and means turkey prepared in the style of roasted pork with oregano and garlic—and the mofongo (stuffing).

Mofongo—a dish of mashed fried plantains—first appeared in a cookbook titled El Cocinero Puertorriqueño, Puerto Rico's first cookbook, in 1859. Then some clever person decided to take one of Puerto Rico's iconic dishes and shove it up a turkey tuchus. This idea had to have been a little more recent, because the recipe for mofongo stuffing (or even a mention of it) doesn't seem to appear in any cookbooks until Yvonne Ortiz's A Taste of Puerto Rico in 1994.

Growing up in Northern California, my family's Thanksgiving table was covered with all of the traditional American fixings: a gargantuan supermarket turkey, ploppy jellied cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, buttered rolls and sweet potatoes that came in a purple can. Those sweet potatoes were subsequently topped with marshmallows, roasted and found their way further and further to the back of the buffet, untouched. In retrospect, I'm feeling sad for those sweet potatoes. I digress. Mofongo stuffing is not something that ever made an appearance on my nana's or my mother's Thanksgiving table.

My mother makes her mother's cornbread stuffing—a combination of Jiffy corn muffin mix and hefty chunks of Bay Area-born Gallo salami. Both my mother and my grandmother exclusively used the salami that came in a log, which Gallo calls "the chub"—it's an Italian dry salami that comes in a cylindrical shape, wrapped in paper and sealed at both ends with metal crimps. Using the salami chub is a little anomaly that my nana picked up from her Italian neighbor back in the 1950s. To my grandmother, newly arrived from Puerto Rico, a sausage was a sausage was a sausage. Vintage Puerto Ricans love to add pork flavoring to just about everything. In a flash, she had changed the landscape of the recipes of her motherland out of necessity, making it Californian-Puerto Rican.

The Cali-Rican approach lives on in my kitchen today. Standing over the stove, taking in the huge waft of salami perfume when it hits the hot oil in the pan, I combine the Gallo chub salami with my own take on mofongo dressing. I created the recipe below for Friendsgiving, a gathering of friends and chosen family. The dish is one way to introduce friends to Puerto Rican culture. And since not everyone is on board with the stuffing inside of poultry, mofongo dressing is a sure way to please everyone—combining the nostalgia of family and the sabor (flavor) of birthright.

Illyanna Maisonet is the creator of the blog EatGordaEat. From 2017 to 2019, Her column for the San Francisco Chronicle, "Cocina Boricua," explored traditional Puerto Rican recipes. Follow her Twitter and Instagram @eatgordaeat.


  • Canola oil for frying (about 2 cups)

  • 6 green plantains, peeled and sliced into 1-inch medallions

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup diced hard salami (see Tip)

  • ½ cup sofrito (see Associated Recipe)

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • Pinch of salt

  • Water as needed (up to 1 cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Pour canola oil into a large saucepan to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat over medium-high heat to 350°F (use a candy thermometer to check the temperature). Fry plantain slices in batches until tender, 5 to 7 minutes per batch; remove to a paper-towel-lined sheet pan. Return the oil to 350°F between batches.

  3. Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add salami and fry until crispy, golden and softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve the salami and the oil.

  4. Combine the fried plantains, sofrito, pepper and salt in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher until combined but still chunky, adding water just as needed to soften the mixture—it should not be liquidy. (The amount of water needed will vary depending on how ripe the plantains are—firmer, greener plantains will need more water.) Fold in the salami and the oil from the skillet until thoroughly combined. Add more water, if needed, until the mixture is moist but still somewhat stiff. Transfer the mixture to the skillet; bake until the top is just starting to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.


Look for hard salami with other cured meats, such as pepperoni, at your grocery store. Be sure to peel the paper off the salami before dicing it.

Associated Recipe

Puerto Rican Sofrito

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

294 Calories
15g Fat
35g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Serving Size 1/2 cup
Calories 294
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 7g 14%
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 485mg 21%
Potassium 659mg 14%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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