15 Side Dishes for Your Mexican Meal

 

Complement your favorite Mexican main with these cilantro-, chipotle- and tomatillo-spiked side dishes.

 

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Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Spicy Black Beans and Yellow Rice

Rice and beans are the classic Mexican side dish duo, and they're ideal for pairing with thick sauces and meaty mains. In Tyler Florence's recipe, onion, jalapeno pepper and garlic give black beans a flavorful kick, while turmeric is the ingredient that gives the rice its vibrant yellow hue.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Black Beans and Yellow Rice

Mexican-Style Slaw

Shredded raw beets give this jicama-cucumber slaw its vibrant color, and the dish gets a surprising Asian twist from soy sauce and sesame oil.

Get the Recipe: Mexican Style Slaw

Spicy Smoked Sweet Potato Salad

Kelsey Nixon triples the smoky flavor in her sweet potato salad by coating the potatoes in a spicy-sweet rub, smoking them over oak sawdust chips, then mixing them with a bacon-and-adobo-sauce-laced dressing.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Smoked Sweet Potato Salad

Black Bean Salad with Mango, Cilantro and Lime

Balance sweet, tangy and spicy flavors with this black bean salad, which is a refreshing and lighter alternative to refried beans, especially when the weather heats up like summertime in Mexico.

Get the Recipe: Black Bean Salad with Mango, Cilantro and Lime

Cilantro Rice

This white rice has a yellow-green tint from being cooked with cilantro, a serrano chile, garlic and chicken broth. Its bold flavor and subtle heat make it the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican meal.

Get the Recipe: Cilantro Rice

Pork and Poblano Soup

Roast deep-green poblano chiles (of Puebla, Mexico, origin) to bring out their unique fruity flavor. In this recipe, a poblano is combined with salsa verde, chunks of pork loin, cumin and coriander to form a savory soup that begs an avocado or lime wedge garnish.

Get the Recipe: Pork and Poblano Soup

Avocado Salad with Tomatoes, Lime, and Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette

Serve this fresh salad for a light start to a Mexican meal. Ripe avocado adds richness atop a springy bed of arugula and cilantro, while the mellow, nutty vinaigrette offers a subtly smoky edge.

Get the Recipe: Avocado Salad with Tomatoes, Lime, and Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette

Jicama Slaw

Jicama is a crunchy, sweet vegetable that looks like a turnip, but when it's peeled and finely shredded, it makes a well-textured addition to any slaw. A pinch of ancho chile powder in the lime-juice dressing adds a touch of Mexican flair to this simple side dish.

Get the Recipe: Jicama Slaw

Mexican Rice

Toasting the rice helps bring out its nutty, full-bodied flavor, and this dish can be prepped in a mere five minutes. Just stir in a can of stewed tomatoes with chiles and a minced garlic clove for a fast side dish.

Get the Recipe: Mexican Rice

Refried Beans

Ellie Krieger's refried beans aren't fried in lard like some traditional Mexican dishes, but they still possess plenty of flavor thanks to ancho chile powder. The mashed pinto bean base lends a creamy texture to the dish, making it an ideal Mexican accompaniment.

Get the Recipe: Refried Beans

Charred Corn Salad with Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

Grilling corn lends the kernels smoky flavor (and eye-catching grill marks), which makes them perfect for pairing with avocado, Fresno chiles and red onions. But the star of this side dish is the creamy dressing, which is made with classic Mexican staples like crumbled Cotija cheese and chopped tomatillos. 

Get the Recipe: Charred Corn Salad with Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

Black Bean Soup

Made with just four ingredients, this black bean soup is a simple canvas for the toppings of your choosing, like tortilla chips, sour cream or lime juice. It's the perfect vegetarian-friendly starter or side for any Mexican meal. 

Get the Recipe: Black Bean Soup

Vine-ripe Tomato Salad with Queso Fresco, Cilantro and Serrano

Fresh vine-ripe tomatoes shine in this light salad that looks like a reconstructed salsa. Mexican oregano, queso fresco and a sliced serrano pepper will ready your palate for a south-of-the-border meal.

Get the Recipe: Vine-ripe Tomato Salad with Queso Fresco, Cilantro, and Serrano

Pickled Jalapenos

Pickling jalapenos mellows their spicy flavor, making them a more versatile addition to dishes. Add a touch of honey during the pickling process to temper their fire even more. They're perfect for topping tacos, sprinkling on soups or eating straight out of the jar, if you dare. 

Get the Recipe: Pickled Jalapenos

Cuban-Style Black Beans

Cumin, oregano, cilantro and bay leaves flavor black beans as they simmer slowly for two hours. Make a double batch to use all week.

Get the Recipe: Cuban-Style Black Beans