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Fabulous recipes for your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

36 Recipes
Oaxacan string cheese taco
(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times)

36 recipes that celebrate Mexico

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Mexican food is rife with options. Nachos, quesadillas, chilaquiles, tostadas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, mole — and the list goes on. Not only with more types of dishes but also with different preparations of each type. With so many alternatives, many of which come in multiple flavors, how does one choose? Whether you are looking for one dish or several, our archives are brimming with recipes to support your Cinco de Mayo plans.

Start the day with a breakfast burrito or some vegan chilaquiles.

For a snack or as an appetizer, B.S. Taqueria’s nachos are bomb! Layers of habanero-spiked pinto beans, spicy picadillo, tangy escabeche, creamy cheese sauce, a tomatillo-avocado salsa and pico de gallo are all piled onto fresh tortilla chips. Oven-baked nachos are also very flavorful and the simpler preparation will save you some time.

Tacos make good snacks as well as meals. They come in many flavors: Hatch chile pork (made using an Instant Pot), Oaxacan string cheese (they’re vegetarian) and vegan jackfruit carnitas to name a few. It is fun to mix and match and they are a great vehicle for condiments like pickled jalapeños, verduras encurtidas, guacamole, salsa de molcajete and smoky salsa de chipotle. The salsas and guac are also great dips for tortilla chips and those pickled vegetables.

For cheese lovers, quesadillas are quick and easy. Try black bean and mushroom with avocado crema or huitlacoche quesadillas. There is also plenty of queso blanketing these green enchiladas, which are filled with chicken and tomatillo salsa. In classic red enchiladas, the cheese is on the inside. Tofu enchiladas are another vegetarian option and go a little easier on the cheese.

To mark the holiday, many Mexicans eat Mexico’s national dish, the chocolatey, spicy, rich mole poblano, which originally hails from Puebla, where that famed battle of Cinco de Mayo was won. Puebla was a culinary center in Mexico and also fostered Mexico’s most patriotic dish: chiles en nogada. Poblano chiles are filled with a blend of meat and spices that is studded with dried fruits, served with a white, nut-based sauce and garnished with pomegranate arils and chopped parsley. The composed dish brandishes the colors of the Mexican flag.

Calabacitas and Cacao Mexicatessen cilantro lime rice are excellent side dishes for both the rich, saucy barbacoa de borrego and pulled chicken in mission fig mole sauce. Frijoles Aztecas (black beans with nopalitos) are a good match for Esperanza’s chipotle chicken.

A nice cold Michelada could be just the thing to accompany many of these dishes — and this one tastes just like what they serve at Dodger Stadium. If tequila is more your thing, margaritas may be in order — perhaps a guava margarita as a change from the classic preparation. No alcohol? No problem! Like most Mexican food, horchata comes in many flavors. This one is made from pumpkin seeds and it’s dairy-free too!

Chocolate is always welcome after a meal (and most any other time, as well) and Mexican chocolate pot de crème is a luxurious finish. Lighter and more portable, tortitas de Santa Clara, another creation from Puebla, are a nice alternative, and they are great dunked in Mexican hot chocolate.

Margaritas

A pitcher of tangy, tequila-laden margaritas makes entertaining easy. For the best results, use freshly squeezed orange, lemon and lime juices for the sweet and sour mix.
Time 10 minutes
Yields Makes 12 margaritas

B.S. Taqueria's nachos

Crisp tortillas are piled with habanero-jolted pinto beans, picadillo, escabeche, pico de gallo, a silky cheese sauce spiked with serranos and a complex, tomatillo-avocado salsa.
Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 12 to 16

Chiles en nogada

Poblano chiles are filled with meat, nuts and fruit and topped with a luxurious nut sauce. Garnished with parsley and pomegranate seeds, the finished dish resembles the Mexican flag.
Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 10

Esperanza's chipotle chicken

In this party dish, the chicken is covered with a lush pale orange sauce lightly flavored with fiery, smoky chipotles and garnished with toasted sesame seeds and sliced red chiles.
Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 6

Oaxacan String Cheese Tacos

Seared Oaxacan cheese melts onto a tortilla that's stuffed with black beans, guacamole and radishes.
Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Salsa de Molcajete

Charring tomatoes adds smoky depth to this chunky, spicy salsa ground in a molcajete.
Time 30 minutes
Yields Makes 1 1/2 cups

Weekday Breakfast Burritos With Seared Tomatoes and Avocado

When rolled, the tortilla and filling spiral together for perfectly balanced bites of charred vegetables, cheesy eggs and tender wrapper.
Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 1

Instant Pot Hatch Chile Pork Tacos With Kohlrabi Mango Slaw

Fresh or roasted Hatch chiles balance the richness of the pork while dried ones give the sauce an earthy depth. A kohlrabi-mango slaw adds freshness.
Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Black Bean and Mushroom Quesadillas with Avocado Crema

A bright avocado cream adds freshness to these cheesy vegetarian quesadillas teeming with mushrooms and black beans.
Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Tofu enchiladas

So rich and flavorful, you might never guess these enchiladas are vegetarian. This recipe substitutes high-protein tofu for the meat and uses a reduced-fat or "light" cheese.
Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Classic red enchiladas

The red enchilada ultimately symbolizes the fusion of Mexican foods and some of the favored ingredients brought over from Spain such as olives, olive oil and cheeses.
Time 1 hour
Yields Makes 10 enchiladas

Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos

Jocelyn Ramirez of the L.A.-based catering company Todo Verde shares her secret to vegan carnitas in her cookbook, "La Vide Verde." Made with jackfruit, this recipe is easy.
Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Roasted rainbow cauliflower tacos

Orange, green and lavender cauliflower and roasted corn on a griddled tortilla are topped with cashew cream, pickled onions, cilantro, radishes and lime wedges.
Time 1 hour
Yields Makes 6 tacos

Guava margarita

A shot of jammy Chambord brings out the strawberry scent of guava -- and there's still a touch of lime juice to keep this margarita from being cloying.
Time 10 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Guacamole

White onion, cilantro, serrano chiles and salt are ground to a paste in a Molcajetes. Avocado and tomato are then mixed into the paste.
Time 10 minutes
Yields Makes 2 cups

Vegan Chilaquiles

These chilaquiles develop deep, rich flavors from both fresh and dried mushrooms.
Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Barbacoa de Borrego

Tender lamb barbacoa is infused with chiles and spices.
Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Cacao Mexicatessen Cilantro Lime Rice

This vegan cilantro lime rice is the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Mexican hot chocolate

This thick, frothy and rich hot chocolate is perfect for dipping rosca de reyes and other simple, sweet breads and light cakes.
Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Pulled Chicken in Mission Fig Mole Sauce

To highlight the richness of mole sauce, dark meat chicken legs are gently poached and then pulled into silky, tender chunks and simmered with the mole.
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 6

Verduras Encurtidas

These pickled vegetables are a little spicy from jalapeños and chiles de arbol.
Time 1 hour 30 minutes, plus overnight pickling
Yields Makes 4 pint jars

Michelada

This tomato-clam juice version of Michelada tastes like the ones at Dodger Stadium.
Time 5 minutes
Yields Makes 1 to 2 drinks

Calabacitas

Calabacitas (squash) is a homey dish of stewed zucchini, corn and tomatoes.
Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Smoky Salsa de Chipotle

Jocelyn Ramirez of L.A. catering company Todo Verde shares her smoky tomato and chipotle salsa recipe that goes over her vegan carnitas tacos and anything else you'd like.
Time 30 minutes
Yields Makes about 3 cups

Green enchiladas

These green enchiladas are made with green salsa, stuffed with chicken and topped with queso Chihuahua and crema.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 6

Oven-Baked Nachos

Homemade seasoned beef, shredded cheese and diced onions and poblano chiles layer flavor on these easy tray-baked nachos.
Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 8

Mole poblano

Five kinds of chiles are fried, soaked overnight, then added to a sauce of roasted and ground tomatoes, several kinds of seeds, nuts, plantain, raisins, chocolate and more.
Time 4 hours
Yields Serves 10 to 12

Pickled Jalapeños

Taqueria-style pickled jalapeños with onion, garlic and carrot are easy to make at home.
Time 30 minutes
Yields Makes 1 pint jar

Frijoles Aztecas (black beans with nopalitos)

A taste of these black beans with nopalitos reveals a deceptively simple and extraordinarily earthy dish.
Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Tacos 1986 Tacos al Hongo

Jorge Alvarez-Tostado sears the mushrooms for his tacos de hongos until they’re as crisp as chips, then soaks them with a salsa macha vinaigrette.
Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Pumpkin seed horchata

This horchata is made from pumpkin seeds and laced with cinnamon and allspice.
Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 12

Mexican chocolate pot de creme

This satin-smooth, not-too-sweet chocolate with a texture between a pudding and souffle, but better, is topped with whipped cream and roasted, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Tortitas de Santa Clara

These confections are a cross between cookie and candy with a small buttery shortbread shell and a chewy candy-like pepita filling.
Time 1 hour
Yields Makes 2 dozen

Huitlacoche quesadillas

The black fungus-y appearance of huitlacoche is a bit startling, but its pungent, earthy taste combines beautifully with sauteed serrano peppers, chopped onion and garlic.
Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Classic elotes

Grilled Mexican corn, or elotes, is comfy Mexican food everyone loves.
Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Tacos Tuxpeños

Traditionally assembled, stacked and covered to heat through from their own steam, these regional tacos are filled with chile-sauced, shredded pork.
Time 45 minutes, plus 8 hours unattended
Yields Serves 6