14 great Mexican side dishes

Tailor your feast with guacamole, salsa, red rice, refried beans, chipotle grilled corn, and more

Salsa Ranchera (Country Sauce)

Photography by Annabelle Breakey

Salsa Ranchera (Country Sauce)

Once you realize how easy it is to make a great cooked salsa that you can make as mild or as hot as you like, you may never go back to store-bought.

Recipe:  Salsa Ranchera (Country Sauce)

Fire and Fruit Yellow Tomato Salsa

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Fire and Fruit Yellow Tomato Salsa

The combination of mango and tomato may seem surprising, but the pickling ingredients bring them together in an enticing way.

Recipe: Fire and Fruit Yellow Tomato Salsa

 

Classic Salsa Verde

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Classic Salsa Verde

Tomatillos and fresh chiles give this salsa a bright, "green" flavor, and toasting the ingredients contributes a smoky element (plus it loosens the chiles' skins).

Recipe: Classic Salsa Verde

 

Roasted Tomato and Three-Chile Salsa

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Roasted Tomato and Three-Chile Salsa

The layers of deep flavor come from roasted vegetables and pan-toasted chiles.

Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Three-Chile Salsa

A bowl of Gabriel's Guacamole

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Gabriel's Guacamole

This is the hands-down best guacamole that we at Sunset have ever tasted. It’s made right in a stone mortar, which gives it performance appeal; make it in front of your guests at your next party and watch them dip those chips before you’re even finished.

Recipe:  Gabriel's Guacamole

A tray of Deviled Shrimp on skewers

Photography by Maren Caruso

Deviled Shrimp (Camarones a la Diabla)

Augusín Gaytán, a San Francisco chef and culinary tour leader to Mexico, gave us this flavorful and super-simple grilled shrimp recipe.

Recipe:  Deviled Shrimp (Camarones a la Diabla)

Grilled Oysters with Chipotle Glaze

Photography by Lisa Romerein

Grilled Oysters with Chipotle Glaze

Pop a few dozen plump Pacific oysters on the grill and then top with this creamy, spicy glaze, courtesy of chef Dory Ford of California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium. What a way to kick off a party!

Recipe:  Grilled Oysters with Chipotle Glaze

Video:  How to grill oysters

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Photography by Annabelle Breakey

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Moist, steamy, tomato-flavored rice―with hints of well-cooked onion and garlic―is comfort itself, especially mounded next to a main course like huevos rancheros or enchiladas.

Recipe:  Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Chorizo Refried Beans

Photography by Annabelle Breakey

Chorizo Refried Beans

Quickly sauté some spicy Mexican chorizo, add to canned refried beans, and you’ll have the perfect rich and savory side dish for huevos rancheros―and just about anything else Mexican.

Recipe:  Chorizo Refried Beans

Honey-Chipotle Grilled Corn

Photography by Annabelle Breakey

Honey-Chipotle Grilled Corn

Fresh, sweet ears of summer corn, slathered with a mix of honey and chipotle chiles. Couldn’t be simpler―or more sensational.

Recipe:  Honey-Chipotle Grilled Corn

A plate of tomato salad with chile and lime.

Photography by Annabelle Breakey

Tomato salad with chile and lime

A gorgeous combo of tomatoes drizzled with spicy-sour flavors, this salad looks like a Mediterranean dish but tastes like Mexico.

Recipe:  Tomato Salad with Chile and Lime

A Mexican side dish of spicy avocado poblano salad

Photography by Annabelle Breakey

Spicy Avocado Poblano Salad

A dynamic first-course dish of crunch, spice, and color, starring silky ripe avocados.

Recipe:  Spicy Avocado Poblano Salad

Romaine Hearts with Pipian

Photography by Leigh Beisch

Romaine Hearts with Pipián

When you have a Mexican feast laid out, it’s nice to add a bit of green crunch for contrast. The hearts of these lettuces are super-crisp and arranged around a tangy, nutty pumpkin seed dip.

Recipe:  Romaine Hearts with Pipián

Fruit Cocktail with Margarita Dressing

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Amy Machnak

Fruit Cocktail with Margarita Dressing

Take a little inspiration from Mexican fruit stands by putting a fruit salad into individual cups. It's finger food at it's best, and the tequila-lime dressing gives it just the right amount of kick.

Recipe: Fruit Cocktail with Margarita Dressing

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