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Mexican Food Recipes: A Spotlight on Side Dishes

Do you have Taco Tuesday at your house? What about Fajita Friday?

If you love eating Mexican food recipes, you're in good company. Mexican food is the third most popular food in the United States and Americans spend almost $40 billion at Mexican restaurants each year.

If you make Mexican food at home, you might be wondering what side dishes go well with tacos, burritos, and fajitas.

We'll walk you through a few delicious side dishes and help you find some new recipes.

1. Quinoa

If you're tired of rice with every meal, take a chance and make Mexican food recipes that contain quinoa! Quinoa, which is pronounced Keen'-wah, is an ancient seed that grew in the Andes mountains.

For centuries before the Spanish conquistadors came to Mexico, quinoa was an essential part of the Incan cuisine.

Quinoa is now enjoyed all over the world and contains all eight amino acids. It is a complete protein, and also contains large amounts of calcium and iron. It's a great way to get more fiber into your diet and it's also gluten-free.

Instead of making a side of Mexican rice, try some Mexican food recipes that substitute in quinoa.

Quinoa cooks the same as rice: two cups of water for every cup of quinoa. You can make it in a rice cooker or on the stove.

Salt and pepper to taste, and then combine the quinoa with one can of diced tomatoes, one clove of garlic, half of a chopped onion, and a small amount of chopped cilantro.

If you want a spicier dish, chop up one jalapeno pepper, remove the seeds, and combine with the quinoa mix. Pour in one cup of chicken or vegetable stock and add a splash of olive oil.

2. Guacamole

If you're like the rest of us, you love to eat guacamole at Mexican restaurants. When you try to pick out avocados, however, you always end up with the mushy ones.

When you're looking for avocados, you should buy ones that are a little bit hard. Leave them out on the kitchen counter or in a brown paper bag and check them every day.

Once they have a little "give" to them, it's time to peel and eat them.

Guacamole recipes vary according to the region of Mexico that they're made in. If all you've had is store-bought guacamole, you may be surprised at how fresh authentic Mexican food recipes taste.

Get two avocados that are ripe and cut them up into a bowl. Mash them to your desired consistency. Some people prefer chunky avocados, while others want a smooth texture.

Add half of a finely chopped onion, lime juice to prevent browning, and salt to taste. You'll also want to add half of a chopped tomato, but remove the seeds before you add it to your authentic Mexican guacamole.

Again, if you are looking for something spicy, add a finely chopped jalapeno pepper. If you're serving this guacamole at a party, you can substitute red onions for regular ones and add chopped cilantro.

3. Soup

Why not try new Mexican food recipes? If you're looking for a way to add some pizzazz to your Taco Tuesday, you should try this three-ingredient Leek and Potato soup.

Take three leeks, two onions, and one potato. Chop them and saute them with a pat of butter for about 20 minutes, or until they are all soft.

You don't have to caramelize them, but they should turn a nice golden brown color on the outside.

Once the leeks, onions, and potato are cooked, add about eight cups of chicken or vegetable stock and cook for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Use a blender or hand mixer to puree the vegetables and stock, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

This Leek and Potato soup can be served hot during the fall and winter, but traditional Mexican food recipes call for it to be served cold.

As you pour this soup into bowls, garnish it with sour cream and chives. If you want to add some olive oil or truffle oil, go ahead but make sure you're only adding a small drizzle.

4. Corn

Many authentic Mexican food recipes use corn in salads and in soups. However, if you have kids you should go with a traditional Mexican corn dish called elote.

Elote is widely sold on the streets of Mexico and the southwestern United States. It's corn that is grilled on the cob and then rolled in crema, which is similar to sour cream.

Traditionally, crema and cotija cheese is used in elote. Once the corn cob is covered in crema, it is then dipped into cotija. If you're having trouble finding crema and cotija, you can use sour cream and romano cheese.

Elote is great for kids because it's a fun finger food. Make sure that you cool down the corn cobs before you roll and dip.

You can do a final dip in hot sauce, guacamole, or even chives. Elote is best enjoyed outside during the summer months but you can make these fun Mexican food recipes year-round.

Authentic Mexican Food Recipes

How can you tell if you're eating authentic Mexican food recipes? Keep an eye on the ingredients: they should be fresh and flavorful.

Lime, cilantro, and onions are traditional garnishes for tacos. If you see a recipe that calls for tomato and lettuce, you can certainly still use it.

Food changes when it travels from its native country and Mexican food is no exception. There is regional variation in Mexican cuisine, and many people don't realize that Mexican food recipes and Tex-Mex food are different.

Look for avocados that are firm, not soft. Find corn that is fresh and onions that are firm. If you are in doubt, ask your local Mexican restaurant where they buy their vegetables.

Mexican food is exciting, diverse, and delicious. Mesa Kitchen offers a full lunch and dinner menu and provides catering services to private groups of up to 170 people.

Take a look at our menu and get in touch with us for your next celebration!

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