There are many recipes out there that can impress your family, but if you want to take things to the next level, you can use some classic Mexican recipes that are bursting with flavor and vary in complexity to suit any occasion.
You can find 20 recipes below that are also health-conscious, so you and your family can feel less guilty by trying out these delicious dishes that could, in time, become new favorites that you will all appreciate as soon as you try them.
We start with these cheesy and veggie-filled quesadillas, which are the perfect hand food for those large gatherings or parties, and you’ll find the creamy cottage cheese with broccoli that balances this out and won’t go unnoticed by your guests.
This is more of a breakfast option but serves as a light brunch that can appease appetites as you have mild salsa, cotija cheese, radishes, avocados, garlic cloves, tortillas, and jalapeno pepper to give out a gradual hint of spice.
If you want a unique way to make tacos without the shells, you can use juicy tomatoes, which, when cooked with seasoning, ground beef, cheese, and iceberg lettuce, you get something lighter and all parts succulent that works in layers.
If you want some zest in your next recipe, this one offers that and more, as you will find red bell peppers, taco seasoning, cayenne peppers, red onion, black beans, and some light shredded cheese with some tender chicken breast pieces.
If you want a creamy dish that is warm and inviting, you can’t get better than this, as you can throw all the ingredients together into a baking dish that can be swapped out for fresher and organic ingredients to make a heightened flavor profile.
6. Shrimp Tacos
You can still make tacos that will impress, which may mean making a change that you can do with shrimp tacos, but of course, you can use other meats like chicken, lamb, or even other seafood to make your tacos standout and liven up any meal.
You like the idea of chicken fajitas but want something more substantial and filling while using crunchy veggies and spices to make a low-carb but delightful surprise that can all be thrown into a baking dish and be made in just 30 minutes.
Perhaps you want something that is savory and acts as a side to a stew or some grilled meat, and here you’ll find vegetarian rice, while beans that, when paired with rice, give you a boost in protein, with fewer amounts of fats and sugars.
You’ve heard of stuffed mushrooms and peppers, but butternut squash has a lot of fresh flavors, and what’s even better is that the squash acts as a bowl, so you get fewer messes while giving people a reason to fall in love with vegetables.
10. Mexican Coleslaw
Coleslaw just got interesting with this mix that uses cilantro, red onion, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, cumin, sea salt, cabbage mix, and red pepper, which, when all combined together, give you a lighter slaw that can be mixed with other veggies.
11. Mexican Salad
You can put your fresh produce to good use with this salad which is an excellent example of the complexities and popularity of Mexican flavors (see also “How To Make Instant-Pot Mexican Beef Stew“), as you can use romaine lettuce, a bell pepper, jicama, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and black beans for an exciting blend.
Suppose you want a quick last-minute recipe that can work as a side. In that case, you can whip up this recipe with cauliflower florets (see also “Smokey Turmeric Cauliflower Rice Recipe“), tomatoes, jalapenos, cumin, paprika powder, coriander, and some cilantro to taste, so you have a great-tasting dish that requires little effort.
13. Tomato Salsa
Perhaps you’re in the mood and want some tortillas for people to dip into whenever they like, and if so, you can make your own salsa that is made fresh with plum, yellow, red, and orange tomatoes for a tangy but juicy flavor that will go down nicely.
14. Rellenos Squares
If you’re looking for a second to a Mexican dish and want to continue the theme, you can try this gooey dish packed with cheese but modified to make it healthier if you use low-fat or vegan types and with some green chilies, you have perfection.
You like the complex flavors of fajita mixes, so instead of using basic preparation methods, you can go one step further by stuffing it into chicken breast halves that can hold a decent amount, and with every bite, you get a nice balance of different flavors.
If you want something that is like a bake but is simplified and is on the healthier side, you can use this recipe that uses cumin, petite diced tomatoes, ancho chilies, diced green chilies, eggs, blended cheese, and some sliced green onions for a smooth yet spicy taste.
17. Baked Churros
We move on to the deserts, and you can find some Mexican favorites on the lighter side. You can try these churros, in which you can use unsalted butter, flour, eggs, vanilla extract, and even brown sugar, leaving you with crunchy but tender treats.
18. Mexican Flan
Here is another Mexican favorite that can spark excitement as these flans use little sugar with some evaporated milk and some fresh fruit that you can drizzle over the top and watch as the juices are soaked into the flan.
19. Tres Leches Cake
If you’re feeling more adventurous or have more mouths to feed, you can try what is also known as milk cake, which is nice and fluffy, and light. Plus, you can experiment with low-fat milk and whipping cream to get the perfect topping.
You could serve this with some strawberries that, when blended with the vanilla extract, give you a sweetness overload so that this one can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
20. Mango Paletas
Here is a dessert that is really easy to make and has sliced mangoes as a base which are all parts sweet with some added honey for good measure, as you can pour these into molds and freeze them, which produce sweet and tangy popsicles that are perfect for everyone.
You can prepare and store these ahead of time and leave them to freeze for six hours or overnight, so you can add your sprinklings and you’re all set.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Make Vegan Mexican Dishes?
If you look at most Mexican recipes, you’ll find most of them contain mainly vegetables and beans, so you can make these dishes vegan without you having to change the recipe too much.
Suppose you’re worried about things like sauces or tortilla wraps. In that case, you can find plenty of vegan alternative recipes.
An excellent example of a dipping sauce you can use straight out of the packaging is hummus, which is naturally made from a base of avocado.
Are There Other Side Options?
Suppose you prefer something else to the side ideas above. In that case, you have a good list of Mexican sides that fit into any meal, including Mexican street corn, cornbread, roasted zucchini, guacamole, lime rice, refried bean dip, and Mexican pozole, to name a few.
If you’re worried about calories, most of these use veggies and the only areas you need to be aware of are the type of butter you use and the cooking oil, which can be swapped out, and you won’t notice a difference in the taste.
Do I Have To Use Spices With These Recipes?
It’s a challenge to find a Mexican recipe that doesn’t use a chile or pepper of some kind, and considering that 90% of Mexican dishes use them shows these are more than staples.
However, there is nothing wrong with skipping out on these in some capacity or just using herbs, as you can still get a lot of exciting flavors from them. For example, some of the dessert recipes above use spice, which might sound strange to some.
If you decided to skip out on them in this case, you might find the flavor sits better with people and doesn’t affect the taste that much as some people don’t like intense sweet and hot flavors mixed together, so you might not be blamed for tweaking the recipe a little.
You have some flexibility with these dishes as you may have seen other versions that use slightly different ingredients, so don’t be afraid to try out different mixes while staying true to a degree to the flavors that are inspired by Mexican cooking tradition.