Cinco de Mayo honors the triumph of the Mexican people of Puebla, a town just south of Mexico City, over the French army on May 5, 1862. Each year on the fifth of May – thus the holiday’s name – people of Mexican descent celebrate the day as a symbol of the country’s independence. They’re joined by any and all who love to toast the culture and cuisine of United States’ southern neighbor with tequila, tamales, and tacos like these inspired dishes from our archives. Mix up some margaritas and let’s go!
Corn is ancient Mexican food – we’re talking cultivation going back 12,000 years – and crisp kernels lend their signature crunch to this tasty salad of greens studded with radishes, cubes of juicy chicken, and rich queso fresco. It’s a perfect Cinco de Mayo lunch or light dinner.
Corn husks stuffed with flavorful meat and hearty corn dough become small, yet hearty, packets of portable goodness known as tamales. Here, pork seasoned with poblanos and salty fresh cheese is the centerpoint for the tamales, which we then top with a piquant sauce rendered smoky by chipotles.
Mole is a deeply flavored condiment that reminds us how Mexican food is seriously regional, not only a matter of tacos and quesadillas. Each region’s mole features a different set of flavors, from chiles to pumpkin seeds. Perfect for Cinco de Mayo, the most popular version of mole hails from Puebla and features chocolate, cumin, and tomato paste.
A lighter, arguably more authentic version of nachos (not that we have anything against nachos!), chilaquiles are technically made from last night’s leftover tortillas, fried up and sauced with a spicy, salsa-like tomato mixture and shredded meat. Our chicken version uses fresh corn tortillas to liven up you this Mexican comfort food staple.
The young, edible pads of the prickly pear cactus grow in Mexico and throughout the southwestern United States. Sautéed with peppers and onions, they make a satisfying vegetarian filling for tacos made from warmed corn tortillas, and one that’s a little more unusual than chicken or steak.