Turn those tacos into a meal with our top 10 quick and easy side-dishes.
Call me crazy, but to me, tacos are Mexico’s greatest gift to mankind. I am in no way undermining Mexico’s contributions to the world, tacos are just that good.
Because what’s not to love about this Mexican delight? With a taco, you get melt-in-your-mouth flavors, deliciously seasoned ground beef, sweet tomatoes, spicy peppers, crispy lettuce, sweet onions, herby cilantro, delectable sour cream, creamy guacamole, hot salsa, and crumbly cheese.
Then imagine all those flavors and textures wrapped in tender tortilla bread. It’s definitely a party in my mouth! Seriously, whoever invented tacos deserves an award.
But, while tacos are undeniably awesome, they are hardly a complete meal. If you serve it at your next party, you’ll need a few side dishes to turn Taco Tuesday into a meal!
So if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas of what to serve with your tacos, don’t worry. I’m here to help. Here are some of the best side dishes that pair perfectly with tacos. Whether you prefer the classic Mexican soft taco or the crunchy American hard shell taco, these sides will not disappoint.
Chips and Salsa
Let’s start with the classics, shall we? If you will serve tacos at your next feast, chances are you’re going for a Mexican theme, right? And, apart from tacos, what screams more Mexican than a big bowl of chips with a side of salsa?
You most likely already have some salsa prepared for your tacos, so there’s very little effort required to prepare this. Not required, but you can also have a bowl of cheese dip and guacamole on the side for plus points.
Another thing I like about chips is that they’re filling, so they’ll help keep your friends full. Happy tummies mean a happy party!
If you want to partner with your savory dish with something sweet, I highly recommend Mexican corn pudding. It contains almost all nutritional requirements – sweet corn kernels (veggie), milk, cheese (dairy), and egg (protein). All that’s missing is carbs, and that’s what makes it perfect with tacos. Together, tacos and corn pudding make a complete meal, not to mention, taste great together!
What makes Mexican coleslaw different from regular coleslaw? It has mostly the same ingredients – cabbage and red onion but it uses vinaigrette instead of mayo. This is why I love serving this dish with tacos. First, it’s in keeping with our theme. Second, it gives a healthy contrast to the rich tacos. But if you prefer the mayo dressing, it’ll taste good with tacos just the same.
Apart from the ingredients I’ve mentioned, Mexican coleslaw also has corn, black beans, chopped peppers, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro and finally, cumin, two ways: cumin seed and ground cumin. That’s double the flavor and double the goodness!
Jicama with Mango Slaw
Jicama is a Mexican yam. Many people are unfamiliar with the crop and its flavor profiles, so they try to stay away from it. But I highly suggest you give it a chance because it can really make a difference to your dinner. Jicama tastes like a cross between a pear and a potato and is best paired with sweet mangoes. Add some honey, red onion, and lime juice, and you get a slaw that’s perfect for your next taco party.
Rice is the staple carb in Mexico, so don’t be surprised to see it in many classic Mexican dishes. Tacos being one of them.
While you can serve steamed rice as is, where is the fun in that? Spice things up a little by adding black beans and green bell peppers to your rice. Then, flavor it with some cilantro, cumin, and lime. So easy but so delicious!
Want something more fiery and cheesy? Here’s a suggestion: rice casserole with chili and cheese. To make, mix your choice of rice, sour cream, cheese, cream cheese, and your choice of chiles (I use Ortega chiles in mine).
Then, spread the rice mixture into a baking dish and pop in the oven. Cook until the cheese is melted. That’s it!
Want a healthy alternative to rice? Use quinoa instead! Mix quinoa, black beans, corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and flavor it with fajita seasoning. Delicious and nutritious.
Beans are another staple of Mexican cuisine. And you know what complements well with beans? Corn! Apart from being a superb tandem taste-wise, together they also make a colorful side. Serve a bean and corn salad with your tacos and your friends will love you even more.
Another tried and tested side dish for tacos is refried beans. It makes for a great dip for tacos and chips because it’s sweet, earthy, and creamy. You can also top your tacos with refried beans and get an extra special main. Plus, these plant-based protein dish is also very filling, so your guests are surely going home with full bellies.
To be clear, refried beans aren’t fried twice, so if you’re worried about it being too fatty, you can chill out. Refried beans, in Spanish, is “frijoles refritos.” The term “refritos” means “fried well,” not “fried twice.” So, the name might be misleading, but refried beans are only fried (or baked) once after boiling.
Mexican Sweet Potatoes
While Mexican sweet potatoes make a lovely side dish to tacos, it’s so hearty it could also be deemed as a main. It’s brimming with so much flavor coming from the sweet potato, corn, a black bean salsa, and a creamy cilantro dressing.
Another way you can prepare sweet potatoes is by roasting them. Roast them with avocado oil and flavor with salt and garlic powder and they’re golden. While you’re at it, throw in some broccoli onto the grill as well! Serve with a hot and creamy sriracha sauce to complete the course. To make the sauce, mix mayo, sriracha, honey, and it’s done.
Potato salad is always a hit at parties, but here’s a fun twist: use sweet potatoes instead. I think this version tastes better than the original because it’s sweeter and has an interesting texture. To make, mix roasted sweet potatoes, corn, red peppers, black beans, lime juice, and your preferred dressing. And then, top each serving with cojita cheese. Perfect!
Another must-try side dish to add a Mexican flair to your feast is elote. It may sound complicated because of its foreign name, but it’s simple to make. Just grill some corn on the cob and slather it with mayo and sour cream. Sprinkle with chili powder and top with cojita, feta, or queso fresco cheese.
Mexicans like pepper a lot, so much so that they use it to make a salad! This dish is loaded with vitamins and minerals, so if you want a healthier side dish, look no further.
To make pepper salad, combine red, yellow, and green peppers and red onion. In a separate bowl, combine red wine or champagne with minced garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the veggies and add some cojita or feta cheese. Top with cilantro and they’re done.
Now, enough with the food! Let’s move on to beverages, shall we? Because apart from thinking of side dishes for tacos, your party will not be complete without a nice beverage to round out the meal. So, what drinks go well with tacos? I’ve got three suggestions.
Let’s start with a classic lemon iced tea. It’s a cold drink that will make you feel refreshed after that heavy dinner. A simple yet very effective in putting a smile on your friends’ faces.
Next, let’s spice things up with some alcohol! The best flavors to go with your Mexican dinner are lemon and mint, and a lemon mint mojito is the best cocktail to embody them.
Finally, here’s a healthier option for the fitness nuts out there: red wine. Make it more exciting by adding a bit of brandy and orange slices and you and your friends will be in for a treat.