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35 Mexican Side Dishes That Are Quick, Easy and Oh So Cheesy

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·7-min read

Tacos. Burritos. Enchiladas. They’re all fabulous choices for dinner, but let’s face it—it’s really all about the tasty side dishes. (We’re looking at you, avocado rice and queso fundido.) From super cheesy to keto-friendly, we’ve rounded up 35 Mexican side dishes to try at your next fiesta.

RELATED: 52 Taco Recipe Ideas to Get You Through Every Tuesday of the Year

1. Smoky Barbecued Corn

It’s got all the elote toppings you love, like cheese, chili powder, mayo and cilantro. Need we say more?

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2. Quick Guacamole Quinoa Salad

We can't get enough of this recipe from Coterie member Gena Hamshaw’s cookbook Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals. Why? It's pretty much a big bowl of guac masquerading as a salad.

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3. Green Chili and Roasted Tomato Guacamole

There’s no better side for Taco Tuesday than a heaping bowl of guacamole. This version from Coterie member Maria Lichty adds heat with green chiles and sweetness with roasted tomatoes.

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4. Mexican Posole

Trade your old chili recipe for this hearty Mexican soup. It consists of hominy (big corn kernels, which you can find in the canned goods section of the grocery store), along with other yummy ingredients like chicken and green chiles.

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5. Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs

These cuties are the perfect backyard barbecue side dish, and you'll be pleased to find out that you can prepare them in under an hour.

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6. Sun-Dried Tomato Guacamole

Take your guacamole up a notch with a creative Italian spin. The recipe calls for lemon juice instead of lime, plus sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.

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7. Tater Tot Nachos

Chips are a staple, but sometimes it pays to switch things up. And who doesn't love tater tots? Add your favorite salsa, sour cream, green onions and cilantro to transform them into an epic side dish.

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8. Grilled Mango Salsa

This sweet-yet-spicy salsa recipe calls for onions, tomatoes, jalapeños and mangoes. You can simply eat it with chips or add a scoop atop summery grilled fish.

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9. Fish Taco Salad

Any side dish involving crispy tortilla chips, tender tilapia and crunchy slaw is bound to be a crowd-pleaser.

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10. Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This Crock-Pot dish will pair perfectly with any other Mexican-inspired dishes you're serving. Scoop it up with chips or use it as taco filling.

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11. Mini Nachos

Nachos can go one of two ways: You either grab a chip with the perfect ratio of toppings...or you get one that's totally bare (or worse, soggy). Our recipe for mini nachos solves that problem.

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12. Mexican Pinto Beans

Believe it or not, those are canned beans. Coterie member Gaby Dalkin's incredible Instant Pot version spices them up with chipotles in adobo, fresh jalapeños and canned green chiles.

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13. Chilaquiles Verdes

Add this savory dish to the brunch spread and your guests will be begging for the recipe. Just line a cast-iron skillet with salsa-soaked chips. Then, when the concoction turns crispy, top it off with a runny fried egg.

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14. Mexican Street Corn Dip

Quick, your friends are coming over in half an hour. You have just enough time to transform tortilla chips and a few ears of corn into this mind-blowing flavor explosion. (All that's missing is a chilled cerveza.)

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15. Vegetarian Calabacitas Quesadillas

OK, you don’t technically have to share...but it’s more fun if you do. This take from Coterie member Monique Volz puts a twist on a classic by combining traditional ingredients, like jalapeño and onion, with vegan cheese and whole-wheat tortillas.

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RELATED: 20 Vegan Recipes to Satisfy Your Mexican Cravings (Even Queso)

16. Queso Fundido

Family dinner? Friends in town? Hanging at home solo on a random Saturday night? These are all fantastic reasons to whip up a batch of chorizo-laden queso fundido, which will disappear in approximately 27 seconds.

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17. Mexican Brown Rice

The secret to rice that’s bursting with flavor? Cook it with flavorful ingredients like diced tomatoes, garlic, onion and tomato paste.

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18. Mexican Caesar Salad

Since the Caesar salad was created in Tijuana, it’s technically Mexican. This version made with cilantro, queso fresco, avocado, pepitas and fried tortilla strips is now one of our go-to sides (and it pairs nicely with a margarita).

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19. Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup

The best thing about tortilla chicken soup? You can top it however you like. We love avocado, pico de gallo, cheese, crispy tortilla strips and a spritz of lime.

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20. Instant Pot Refried Beans

Bye, canned beans. Lean on dried pintos, veggie broth, jalapeño, spices and your trusty pressure cooker instead.

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21. Charred Corn and Zucchini Mini Mexican Pizza

Meet the tlayuda, an Oaxacan street food. It looks a lot like a pizza, which is where Coterie member Aida Mollenkamp found her inspiration for this appetizer. Top it with chiles, black beans, avocado and cotija cheese.

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22. Homemade Chipotle Salsa

At our house, salsa is a side dish, not a condiment. If you’re like us, you’ll want to give this smoky number by Gaby Dalkin a whirl.

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23. Mango Guacamole

Mango might seem like a strange addition at first, but its tangy, tropical sweetness is just the match for buttery avocados and acidic lime juice.

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24. Skillet Nacho Dip

Never be disappointed by a naked or soggy tortilla chip again. Thanks to your trusty cast-iron skillet, your chips will stay crunchy and the dip will stay hot.

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25. Beef Empanadas

Psst: These savory turnovers freeze like a charm and will last you up to three months, in case you want to make a double batch...just sayin'.

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26. Baking Sheet Quesadillas

Why cook one quesadilla at a time on the stove when you could whip up eight at once in the oven? (You can find rectangular tortillas in your supermarket's deli section, BTW.)

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27. 5-Ingredient Chipotle Chicken Taquitos

Save yourself a *ton* of time by shredding a rotisserie chicken for the filling. All its flavor will come from canned chipotle peppers in adobo.

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28. Grilled Corn with Spicy Aioli

Want to get that charred barbecue taste in the off season? Cook the corn in a grill pan on the stove or broil it in the oven until it's golden brown.

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29. Everyday Mexican Salad

If you insist on inviting vegetables to the fiesta, make sure they come in the form of this salad. It stars an avocado-lime dressing spiced with cumin.

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30. Spicy Avocado Hummus

Two iconic dips, one lucky bowl. Think of this ten-minute appetizer as a cross between hummus and guacamole. Might we suggest serving it with pita chips and tortilla chips?

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31. Sweet Corn Gazpacho

Cool down with this cold soup that boasts sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, white beans and all the garlic. Finish it off with corn kernels, radish sprouts, cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of cotija.

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32. Avocado Rice

Aka how to one-up Chipotle in 20 minutes flat.

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33. Black Beans

Canned beans are always a welcome shortcut. All this rendition takes is cooking them down with tomato sauce, cilantro and seasonings.

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34. Roasted Poblano and Corn Guacamole

In the winter, you can totally swap fresh corn cobs for frozen corn kernels. Whatever you do, don't skip roasting the vegetables—it's what gives the guac its zesty, charred flavor.

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35. Homemade Tortilla Chips

Speaking of guac, you're going to need something to scoop it up with...

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RELATED: 40 Cinco de Mayo Recipes for a Fiesta at Home