Mexican-inspired food is delicious and makes terrific choices for busy nights. Here are some of our must-have Mexican cuisine staples to ensure that Taco Tuesday (or any Mexican food night) is yummy and complete!
Mexican cuisine is a flavor-packed fiesta that’ll make your tastebuds do the cha-cha. It’s colorful, bright, and has a tangy flavor profile. Every dish can bring life to your table.
What’s special about Mexican food is the all-out use of spices and herbs. There’s flavor from cumin, coriander, Mexican cinnamon, Mexican oregano, and so much more. Plus, the usual base of corn, beans, and squash makes the cuisine extremely healthy and nutritious.
The best part? It’s super diverse. While you might already know about tacos and enchiladas, these are only a glimpse of its vast gastronomic world.
Must-Have Mexican Cuisine Staples
If you’re putting together your menu, we have some dishes you might want to add to the mix. These are easy to prepare, look fancy, and can feed a huge group for any occasion (including holidays)!
1. Creamy Guacamole
Guacamole is THE Mexican cuisine staple dip (or topping). It pairs amazingly well with tortilla chips, shrimp bites, and baked mushrooms. Since it’s healthy, you can eat as much as you like without feeling guilty.
Here’s an easy-to-follow recipe for you:
- Scoop the avocado pulp into a small mixing bowl and mash it well.
- Add delicately chopped onion, tomato, and fresh garlic. Mix everything well.
- Drizzle fresh lemon juice to taste and season with salt and pepper, and you’re done!
If you’re a seasoned chef who loves recreating specials from famous restaurants, try the guacamole at Azul Bar in Pigeon Forge for some inspiration.
2. Fluffy Mexican Rice
Every Mexican main dish deserves a delicious sideline. And Mexican rice always delivers. This vibrant reddish-orange side dish tastes wonderful with fajitas, grilled meats, and seafood. You can also make the dish with brown rice instead of white rice for a healthier version.
Here’s a quick and simple recipe for Mexican rice:
- Pour oil into a large pan and add the long-grain rice of your choice to it. Cook the rice for 3-4 minutes until they become translucent.
- Now, add tomato sauce, chicken broth, salt, ground cumin, and red chili powder.
- Stir to mix everything well.
- Let the rice boil before covering and simmering for 25-30 minutes.
- Once simmered, let the rice sit for a few minutes, then fluff them with a fork. Done!
If you feel your rice is slightly uncooked (they’ll be crunchy), cook them some more. Also, never peek! If you lift the lid when the rice is simmering, you’ll have to add more cooking time to your day.
3. Savory Refried Beans
No list of Mexican cuisine staples would be complete without refried beans because this tasty side dish works with many Mexican mains. They’re warm, savory, and full of flavors. You can also use them to fill your tacos or burritos – just make sure you add some shredded cheese on top!
Here’s an easy recipe for refried beans:
- Take 2 cups of pinto beans and soak them overnight in 4 cups of water.
- Rinse the beans well, and add them to a large pot with 8 cups of water. Boil for 2 hours (or until tender).
- Once done, drain the beans and add them back to the pot.
- Add chopped onion, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper according to your taste.
- Mash the beans (a potato masher will work) until you get your desired consistency.
- Cook the mashed beans for ten more minutes on medium heat. Stir from time to time. And you’re done!
4. Scrumptious Molletes
Ready for a Mexican snack? Try molletes! It’s a super easy open-faced sandwich packed with refried beans and melted cheese. The dish is very popular in the morning for breakfast, but you can make them anytime!
Here’s how to make molletes:
- Cut a bolillo roll (or any other type of crusty bread) in half horizontally.
- Spread refried beans on top of the bread. You can also add some salsa for a spicy kick.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese (Cheddar or Monterey Jack) on top of the beans.
- Toast your sandwich in a preheated oven for 5 minutes at 375°F until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve with your favorite toppings, like cilantro, chopped tomatoes, avocado slices, or a dollop of sour cream.
5. Sumptuous Mexican Street Corn
Mexican street corn, also known as elote, is a popular and delicious street food that you can easily recreate at home. It’s grilled corn on the cob coated with mayo, cheese, chili powder, and lime juice – making it the perfect balance of tangy, sweet, creamy, and spicy flavors.
Here’s a simple recipe for Mexican street corn:
- Preheat your grill to medium heat.
- Remove the husks from the corn, leaving their stems on.
- Grill the corn for 10-12 minutes, turning frequently until they’re slightly charred and cooked through.
- Take a small bowl and mix mayonnaise, chili powder, lime juice, and salt in it.
- Brush the mixture all over the corn and sprinkle with crumbled Cotija cheese (or any other crumbly white cheese).
- Serve with extra lime wedges for squeezing on top. Delicioso!
If you’re serving the corn for a party, you can also cut the grilled cobs into little pieces and add them to a bowl with the mayo mixture and cheese for a tasty and easy-to-eat side dish.
Rounding Out The Fiesta With Mexican Cuisine Staples
These are just a few of the countless mouthwatering Mexican dishes that you can add to your menu. Whether it’s for a holiday gathering or a casual dinner with friends, these recipes are sure to impress and satisfy any craving.
So go ahead and indulge in the bold and vibrant flavors of Mexico – your tastebuds will thank you!
Mexican-Inspired Recipes You’ll Love
Use these Mexican cuisine staples to elevate your next Taco Tuesday (or Mexican meal) along with these recipes!