Sopa de lentejas, Mexican lentil soup, exists in various forms all over Mexico. My recipe is a hat tip to Nuevo Leon, where I ate this soup a lot.
Mexico has one of the richest, most diverse, and let's face it, tastiest of all world cuisines. With roots dating to the great civilizations of the Maya, Zapotecs, Aztecs and more, compiling a list of Mexican recipes isn't easy.
Mexico is home to some of the most treasured foods in the United States, from corn, beans and squash to tomatoes and peppers -- everything I like to grow in my garden!
This is a wide selection of Mexican recipes I have developed from a combination of travel, study (in English and Spanish), conversations with an array of Mexican cooks, and more.
Hundreds of Mexican cookbooks are out there, but to name just a few in English, I can recommend Pati Jinich's Treasures of the Mexican Table, Nopalito by Gonzalo Guzman, and really any of Rick Bayless' books.
To help you navigate these recipes, here are recipes from some general categories to guide you.
Masa and Tortillas
Making your own masa, tortillas and such is a bedrock skill you need to know to really be good at Mexican recipes. Yes, you can buy tortillas and even masa for tamales, but knowing this skill makes you appreciate it more.
- Homemade corn tortillas. This is a fundamental skill.
- Homemade flour tortillas. Flour tortillas have been part of Mexican cuisine for close to 500 years. They are the soul of the north.
- How to make nixtamal. This is for the serious. This is how to go from dry corn to fresh masa.
Moles and Pipians
These sauces are the soul of central Mexican cuisine. Mexican recipes for mole are usually complex, especially if you are making everything from scratch. If you travel to Mexico and can buy homemade mole pastes at markets, do it! Here are my recipes:
- Turkey mole. This is my take on mole poblano, although it is not exactly the same.
- Mole negro. The queen of all moles, this one is dark and rich.
- Pipian rojo. Pipians are seed-based sauces that predate the Spanish. This one uses ripe chiles.
- Mole coloradito. A lighter, brighter mole. Good in summer.
- Pipian verde. A verdant version of the red pipian.
- Mole amarillo. Such a pretty sauce, great for fish or white meats.
These are the everyday sauces for tacos and other masa-based dishes, yes, including chips. They range from picoso to mild.
- Fire roasted salsa. This is the salsa for outdoor cooking!
- Tomatillo salsa verde. The classic green salsa of Mexico.
- Salsa morita. A salsa that hinges on chipotles in adobo.
- Salsa negra. An unusual, oil-based salsa that uses lots of sesame.
- Salsa de chile de arbol. HOT! Use this one sparingly when you want to feel the burn.
- Avocado tomatillo salsa. A variant on salsa verde that is creamier. Fantastic with fish.
There are scores of Mexican recipes for pozole, the signature soup of that country. Basically every region in Mexico has its own version. Some are by color, some by what's in the pozole. Here are my renditions:
- Pozole rojo. This is the red one, the version most people in America are familiar with.
- Gallina pinta. This is a Sonoran pozole with beans and beef, not pork. It is a pillar of norteño cuisine.
- Pozole blanco. Super simple, with a clear broth. This is the foundational pozole.
- Pozole verde. A specialty of Guerrero, this is a bright green pozole.
Newest Mexican Recipes
Tacos al carbon are just carne asada tacos cooked over charcoal; carbon means charcoal in Spanish. These are Sonoran style tacos al carbon made with venison.
Salpicón de venado, a shredded venison salad with lots of fresh vegetables, is a specialty of Tamaulipas in Mexico. Easy, cooling and tasty for hot weather.
Nopales tacos are a great way to get to know these cactus paddles. The filling for the tacos is a thick stew of diced cactus paddles, meat, tomatoes and chiles.
Tacos de marlin, or marlin tacos, are popular in Baja and Sonora, Mexico. Really any smoked fish works here, not just marlin. This recipe uses smoked fish, roasted chiles, tomatoes and onions and melty cheese.
A classic Mexican garlic sauce used mostly on fish and seafood – in this case snook – but it’s also great on chicken or quail.
Amaranth greens, a/k/a pigweed, are some of the most nutritious leafy greens you can eat. Here’s how to harvest and cook them.
Serving ceviche on tostadas is common in Mexico. Here’s how to make them so they don’t shatter all over the place.