Bold Tex Mex Side Dishes

Tex-Mex defined In my quest for healthy we have been re-introduced to the flavors of Tex-Mex.  There is something about the simple preparation, with bold flavors and the many spices along with the creative use of vegetables that makes...

Tex-Mex defined
Tex-Mex defined

In my quest for healthy we have been re-introduced to the flavors of Tex-Mex.  There is something about the simple preparation, with bold flavors and the many spices along with the creative use of vegetables that makes this cuisine a hit.   The question often is asked, what does one serve with my famous Black Bean Cakes?   Here is the link to my cakes that will become a family favorite.

Chef Stephanie Smithmyer featured these sides to a Father’s Day On-Hands Cooking Class with kids .  The shining stars of this dinner were Fajitas, but the sides were just as popular with the guests.    Somehow, everyone can find something that they liked best.  This was both a kid and adult friendly menu that everyone enjoyed!

Here are some ideas of some Tex-Mex themed sides that you will enjoy creating and serving.

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa with ingredients
Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa with ingredients

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ears corn, roasted
  • 1 red onion, roasted
  • 1 red pepper, roasted
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, roasted
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes.  I prefer Hunts Fire Roasted to layer the most flavor

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill or grill pan.  Or, you can opt to roast on a gas flame.
  2. Place rinsed and drained beans in a large bowl.
  3. Shuck and rinse the ears of corn.  Place corn, onion, and both peppers on the grill.
  4. Grill the corn until the kernels are browned.  Grill the onion with a goal of grill marks and some softening.
  5. Grill the peppers until black and blistered.
  6. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or place in a sealed plastic bag.  Set aside to cool.  This process will allow the skins to easily peel off of the peppers.
  7. Once the corn is cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and add to the beans.  For best results, perform this cutting of the kernels in a large and deep bowl for best success and least mess!
  8. When the peppers are cooled, peel off the skins, removing the membranes and seeds.  Chop both the red and jalapeno peppers and add to the corn and black beans.
  9. Finish the dish with the spices, garlic, tomatoes,  lime juice, salt and pepper.
  10. Allow this to sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.  Re-check to seasonings for more lime juice, salt and pepper.
  11. Yields about 4 cups of Salsa.

Mexican Rice
Mexican Rice

South of the Border Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups stock, chicken or vegetable stock

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over moderate heat
  2. Add the rice and sauté until grains are golden brown, stirring constantly.  Watching so the rice does not burn.
  3. Stir in the onions, garlic and pepper strips.  Saute about 1 minute.
  4. Add tomato, chili powder, and salt.  Saute for about another minute.
  5. Pour in the stock and bring this mixture to a boil.
  6. Then turn the heat to low, cover tightly, and simmer gently for about 18 – 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed,
  7. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:

  • 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • ¼ medium red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¾  teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients,
  2. Set aside and re-check the seasonings. Adding more salt as needed.
  3. Yields about 2 cups

No one can mention Tex-Mex sides and omit Guacamole as a favorite!  This is always a treat and recipes differ slightly, but the combination of the fresh Pico and the ripe avocados is a great start!

Southwest Guacamole
Southwest Guacamole

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3 large ripe avocados
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup Pico de Gallo from the recipe above
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Remove the fresh from the avocado and mash with a fork.  I prefer mine rather chunky, but this is my preference.
  2. Add all other ingredients and combine.
  3. Adjust seasonings.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap.  Place the plastic wrap directly on the Guacamole for the best results.  I also keep the seeds in this chilling bowl until serving time to help prevent the browning.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. Remove the seeds and enjoy.
  7. Yields approximately one cup

Other serving ideas include sour cream or Greek yogurt, raw or pickled jalapenos, added shredded cheeses, or even a queso dip and maybe even some additional fresh tomatoes.  Chef Stephanie served these sides with Fajitas so there were onions and peppers grilled with the main dish. Flour tortillas or chips might also be served.

In my quest for healthier, I would omit the sour cream, or Greek yogart, cheeses or cheese dips and the chips or tortillas.  I would stick to the fresh flavors and omit the added fats and starches.  There is still a lot to love in the Tex-Mex Sides!

What are your favorite sides to a Tex-Mex Meal?