Looking to lighten things up a little for your upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebrations? The fun and festive holiday is this weekend, but all the food can get a little overwhelming. If you're planning a big bash or you want healthier versions of calorie-laden favorites, tempt your taste buds with these 18 recipes.
We're covering the SF Chefs Food and Wine Festival, and last night we had the privilege of attending "A Celebration of Contemporary Mexican Restaurants," hosted by Traci Des Jardins and Dylan Montano of Mijita Cocina Mexicana at the Ferry Building. The tequila was flowing, and the use of avocados was aplenty. Click through for an inside peek at the event, some of the unusual ingredients used, and what we considered the best dish and drink of the evening.
Carne y queso are definitely not vegan-approved, but it seems as if they're in every dish at most Mexican restaurants. But that doesn't mean vegans have to skip out on South of the border hot spots — check out our cheat sheet for ordering vegan when the mood for Mexican strikes. Remember that it's always a good idea to let your server know that you're vegan ahead of time, in case there are menu items containing hidden animal ingredients.
- Black bean soup: hold the sour cream and shredded cheese topping
- Tortillas with salsa and fresh guacamole
- Nachos: load up on the veggies, beans, and guacamole, but hold the sour cream and cheese; make sure the refried beans are made without lard
- Fajita salad: ask for sautéed peppers, mushrooms, and onions instead of beef or chicken; hold the cheese and ask for avocado instead
- Tortilla salad: ask for extra beans, corn, black olives, and peppers, and skip the cheese; ask for a side of fresh guacamole and pico de gallo
- Rice and beans: go ahead and order both black and pinto beans, but make sure they're not cooked in lard or chicken broth
- Fajitas: opt for portobello mushrooms, green peppers, and onions instead of meat; hold the cheese
- Veggie quesadilla: ask for corn, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and broccoli to go inside the quesadilla using vegan refried beans to hold everything together instead of melted cheese
- Burrito: some places offer tofu as vegetarian choice, but if yours doesn't, then go for sautéed veggies, beans, rice, and salsa with a side of quac
- Soft or hard tacos: go for tofu or sautéed veggies and beans, rice, salsa, and guacamole
Source: Flickr user Tavallai
Between all that spice, comfort, and bright flavor, Mexican food always manages to tempt our taste buds for a delicious feast. The only downside? The recipes we typically associate with readily available Mexican grub in the US are not always the healthiest options for someone who's trying to cut back on extra calories. If you've been missing the tasty flavors of your Mexican favorites, then have no fear. I've called upon three amigos (three wildly simple switches) to make your favorite Mexican recipes healthier at home.
1. Reach for lighter (and less) dairy: All that delicious cheesy goodness is part of what makes Mexican classics so comforting. So, no need to say goodbye to it altogether! Instead of full-fat cheeses, pull for part-skim cheese options for an easy fix that won't skimp on flavor or texture. I also love the idea of using greek yogurt instead of sour cream to cut back on unnecessary fat. I've made a huge plate of these healthy enchiladas and subbed greek yogurt for the sour cream without anyone noticing!
2. Grab whole-wheat options: We all know that refined carbs are just bad news, but don't let them creep their way into your kitchen with your chips or traditional flour tortillas. Luckily this is a wildly easy fix. Just choose whole wheat instead!
Keep reading for one more trick to make Mexican food healthier.
We can't believe it either, but Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner! Planning to celebrate with friends? Besides all the tequila goodness, some delicious homemade dips can take an ordinary get-together to the next level. Instead of grabbing prepackaged salsas at the store, the easy extra effort it takes to make fresh dip will make a world of difference to your taste buds. Whether you want a classic choice or you'd like to take a twist on tradition, click through these 15 recipes for inspiration!
There is nothing better than finding your taqueria. I'm referring to that moment when you fall upon that gem of a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant with carne asada that melts in your mouth, or chiles rellenos that makes everything you've ever tasted — ever! — pale in comparison. After living in the Midwest for a few years, I forgot all about the fervor people have for taquerias until I moved to San Francisco, a city where everyone you come across has a favorite go-to spot that makes their favorite inexpensive, unassuming Mexican fare. And when you ask anyone who loves Mexican grub where their favorite burrito lives, nine times out of 10, they've got an automatic answer lined up. No thinking required.
The politics of taquerias intrigue me; I'm a little more than curious about the requisites for what makes a taqueria truly epic. I get that it's personal, but here are five of the things people have shared as integral when falling in love with their taqueria for the very first time. See what they are when you keep reading.
In Texas, much like the cattle that dot the Lone Star State, Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas, queso, and chimichangas dominate. As a native Houstonian, I've devoured more than my fair share of Tex-Mex fare. Nonetheless, I have a deep, dark confession to make: I've never understood the real difference between beef tacos (like tacos al carbon) and fajitas. After all, they're both hot Mexican plates that involve wrapping tortillas around sizzling meat. So is there really even a difference? Turns out there actually is. Lisa Fain of the Texas cooking blog Homesick Texan helped set the record straight: "The difference between a fajita and a taco is that the former refers to a type of meat, while the latter refers to a method of presentation," she explained. Find out why this is the case when you read more.
Considering their extensive use of all kinds of chiles, Latinos really know their hot sauces. Since I stock my fridge with several kinds of hot sauce (each one has a different use!), when it comes to Mexican cuisine, I have one brand I can't get enough of: Valentina salsa picante. This slightly smoky, thick, and spicy sauce is wonderful on everything from eggs to tacos.
How about you? What's your favorite kind of Mexican hot sauce? Tapatio? Cholula?
Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, zacatecanita has shared her images of homemade gorditas! Don't they look delicious?
Gorditas literally means "Fattie." It's like a fat tortilla freshly cooked and opened to be filled with all kinds of tasty filings.
Have you made something awesome recently? Upload the photos in the YumSugar Community so we can all see your masterpiece; we may just feature your story here!
Cinco de Mayo is finally almost here, and we're already drooling over the fiesta we plan to indulge in tomorrow. Here at Yum, we're pretty partial to tacos of all kinds. Hard shell, soft shell, chicken tacos, fish tacos — you name it, we'll happily eat it with a margarita or cerveza! There's something so satisfying about the simple combination of meat, salsa, and tortillas. Whether or not it's your favorite Mexican dish, what do you prefer in your tacos?
Source: Flickr User stu_spivack