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Side Dishes for Tacos

  • j
  • jmax Jan 8, 2009 10:06 AM
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Looking for side dishes to serve with tacos besides rice and refried beans. Thanks.

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  1. hmmm...how about coleslaw; there are some non-mayo versions out there...one I saw was entitled Yucatan Cole Slaw. Maybe mac & cheese? Pan-fried potatoes? We just had those last night with our oven-baked chicken and they were delightfully different. Oooh...sweet potatoes might go nicely as a side for those tacos, too. OH! How could I forget Robert Lauriston's Cilantro Rice...I know you said "besides rice" but this isn't your usual plain white rice with a little chopped cilantro in it...but you'd have to love cilantro, not sure it's something that you do love.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Val

      That's how I do rice for tacos - white rice with cilantro, sometimes I cook the rice in coconut milk too.

      1. re: starbucksbrew

        Starbucksbrew, have you tried Robert's recipe from this board??? Not only is it deee-licious, it is beautiful to behold also! You cook the rice and then while it's still hot, you coat it with a concoction of cilantro, jalapeno, a little lime juice and I forget the other ingredients but it is really awesome...the rice comes out bright green! Will post the link if you need it.

        1. re: Val

          That's sounds great val, I would love the link too

          1. re: lexpatti

            Here's the link:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/328780

            1. re: Val

              thank you, can't wait.

              1. re: Val

                Thanks for providing that link, Val, the recipe sounds dynamite!

      2. Chile Relleno
        Tossed Salad
        Guacamole
        Salsa

        1. What kind of tacos?

          Grilled zuchini and mushrooms.
          Corn salad (corn, avocado, roasted peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro, in a vinaigrette with lime juice)

          1. Beer; lots of beer ;>)
            How about mashing up some sweet potatoes, adding a little cream, butter and some ground cumin and baking it for 30 minutes.

            1. In Baja, street taco stands consist of a grill and a spit. As the meat roasts on the spit, the vendor grills vegetables. Your order of tacos comes with hot grilled vegetables like those big green onions, corn, peppers, sqash, etc. In sit down restaurants, you'll find the traditional rice and beans, but also fresh fruit -- papaya, pineapple, melon and salads tossed with vingarette. You'll often get served picked peppers and carrots.

              1 Reply
              1. re: janetms383

                I second the fruit. I make a jicama, orange, and radish salad from the Greens cookbook that has no oil and is a very refreshing side dish to rich Mexican food. Also good in the winter is really good red grapefruit, sectioned to remove the membranes, and served with lime juice, salt, and maybe some cilantro and fine chile powder.

              2. I just had some fantastic polenta fries with fish tacos - fantastic!!!! That and a nice coleslaw or salad - maybe a nice mexican chop salad with corn, beans, etc. Saw one recently that looked great on foodnetwork;
                http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/qu...

                1. Sides for tacos as eaten on the latest No Reservations Mexico episode - none, because they are street food, eaten while standing in front of the stand.

                  As served in a state side taqueria - the beans, rice, and a simple salad - lettuce or cabbage, few slices of tomato, and avocado

                  As served at fancy dinner party - anything goes :)

                  1. At my In-laws last weekend, we did a group effort on a Mayan pork & beans dish. I had just bought a fresh whole brussel sprout stalk so I created on a whim a side dish/topping that was a huge hit:
                    Thick-sliced brussel sprouts, roasted until a little charred to reduce their cabbagey taste, then dressed & slightly pickled like the curtido that accompanies pupusas - I used olive oil, lime, vinegar, salt & a little sugar, with minced onion & cilantro.

                    1. Nopales are always nice. If all you can get are the jarred variety (which really are not nearly as good as fresh), you could make a nopal salad, with tomato, onion and cilantro.

                      1. I do a really tangy coleslaw with just cabbage, red onion, cumin and lime juice. Cilantro if you have some for the tacos. I like my dressing without oil, but sometimes I add a little yogurt or sour cream to make it tangy.

                        In the summer, I'd do a salad with corn, avocado, tomatoes and red onion, but I think that's a little too ambitious for January!

                        1. Calabacitas (kind of a succotash with corn, zucchinis, yellow squash, and green chili.) Or some other kind of corn relish.

                          Homemade beans... start with dried and simmer with onion, garlic, and chipotles.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bex109

                            Oooooooooooooh, sweet corn cakes for sure!

                          2. Hmmm... having spent most of my life in Texas, where the taco is the main event, with the rice and beans as sides, your question is intriguing... I would suggest guacamole and chips, queso (the melted "fondue"-like kind) and chips, freshly made salsas (two or three kinds) and chips. The chip/dip thing is great because people always end up spooning the dips right into their tacos or taking bites of the chip/dip in between bites of the taco.

                            Also nice would be spicy or smoky salads like the jicama slaw salad http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... or http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... .

                            And maybe (Treading lightly here...I know you said no rice, but think about it...) a novel kind of rice, not the usual... with a mole or citrus sauce. I like a fragrant jasmine rice with citrus sauce. For mole I would surprise with a short grain brown rice, which will add a nutty flavour.

                            And p.s. I do second the suggestion of beer. Preferably a good Mexican beer!

                            1. I like deconstructed guacamole for a change. Basically just an avocado salad. This is what I include:
                              cubed avocado
                              minced red onion
                              roughly chopped cilantro
                              diced tomatoes but only if you've got really good ones
                              roasted jalapeños (or instead sometimes diced cucumber)
                              Toss all the above with lime juice a sprinkling of chipotle powder, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil if you are so inclined.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: PumpkinHead

                                Sounds delish, PumpkinHead!

                              2. Jicama cut into sticks, tossed w/lime juice and adobo seasoning, or ancho chili powder, or whatever you want. Refreshing.

                                1. To combina the jicama AND fruit suggestions let me recommend this salad that I came across a couple of years ago and have NOT been able to find the recipe for since but if my memory serves me correctly (which I think it does) consisted of:

                                  jicama (cut into sticks)
                                  strawberries
                                  red onions, sliced thinly and cured in lime juice for 1-2 hours
                                  cucumber
                                  watermelon (?) (cant remember if this was included)
                                  mint

                                  in a vinaigarette that was composed of:
                                  oil
                                  honey
                                  lime juice
                                  s&p

                                  it was to die for. I served it alongside shrimp enchiladas with tomatillo salsa but it would go along with tacos just as well.

                                  1. how about escabeche (quick pickle vegetable salad)? radishes with lime & coarse salt is another traditional side.

                                    1. Grilled green onions with corse salt, and while your at it grill a few stalks of fennel for a contrast.

                                      1. Not Mexican, Tex-Mex, or border food -
                                        Fresh cabbage kimchi makes a great side or topping for tacos.