Everything You Need for Cinco de Mayo

Get ready- my favorite celebration of the entire year is approaching! It's Cinco de Mayo time!!

If you've followed this blog for a while, you know that I'm a huge fan of Mexican-inspired food. Even though I'm Italian by descent, Mexican food is really my comfort zone. I love the spices, the herbs, the fresh citrus, and of course the tequila!



We usually have big Cinco party on our deck, although of course that won't be happening this year. But we're still planning to celebrate, and I hope you are too! To get your creative juices (tequilas?) flowing, here are some of my favorite Mexican-inspired creations. Lots of these are easy to make ahead and many store well (e.g. salsas) so choose a few favorites and have some fun!

Breakfast
Start things off right with these Mexican Coffee Waffles. They're inspired by the amazing coffee of Mexico City. You might also pair them with Mexican Coffee Margaritas... you know, just to make sure the day starts with a bang.


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Cocktails
No party is complete without a couple signature cocktails! I love shaking up a classic margarita, but how about some fun variations? These Blackberry Coconut Margaritas are perfect for spring and totally gorgeous. Check out that color!


Or, if you'd rather go a bit cozier, I adore these Ginger Margaritas. They have just the right amount of zing and are lovely with reposado or anejo tequila. They'd be easy to make in a big batch too, and the ginger is just so interesting.


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Dips for Chips
Is it acceptable to eat chips for dinner on Cinco de Mayo? I say totally, as long as there are awesome dips! Personally speaking, I adore fruit salsas of every kind. Check out my Technique Guide to Fruit Salsa to learn everything you need to know, including infinite ways to combine different fruits and herbs. Fruit salsas are way more interesting than tomato salsas and have such a summery vibe.


My other greatest love is, of course, guacamole. No Cinco de Mayo spread is complete without it, and avocados are usually on super-sale the week before. It's definitely time to go all-out with the guac. I love the complex, toasty taste of this Roasted Corn Guacamole.


Or, if you want to really go out of the box, this Tropical Guacamole is my absolute favorite. It would pair beautifully with some fruit salsa! Also, how gorgeous would this platter be as a centerpiece? If there's any holiday where it's fair game to serve something in a pineapple, Cinco de Mayo is it.


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Finger Foods
For Cinco de Mayo, I'm all about the nibbles. No one wants to sit down and have a formal entree. Instead, I love to make (and have guests bring) an easily shareable dish. Bonus points if it can be served room temperature for ease. Tacos are an obvious (and wonderful) choice, especially something fun like these Rainbow Tacos. You can really use whatever ingredients you love.


Mexican street corn is an iconic dish for a reason! I like to celebrate it (and make it easily portable) in these Mexican Street Corn Stuffed Peppers, which can be made with either regular-size or baby bell peppers. These colorful nibbles are lightened up by using yogurt instead of sour cream.


Let's not forget about something salad-y. I love this Roasted Corn, Strawberry, and Avocado Salad since it's really versatile (and, let's be honest, and it can serve as a chip dip too). And it's so summery with the grilled veggies and sweet strawberries!


Cornbread is also very, very necessary. It wouldn't be a proper Mexican feast without it. But instead of a traditional version, I love this Plantain Cornbread. It's really unique and definitely a show-stopper. It can also double as a dessert with a little drizzle of maple syrup.


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Finger Foods Part 2: Hot Dishes
When I host a party, I like to have one or two hot dishes. It's usually not very practical to have a bunch of different things in the oven at a time, but even just one hot thing is a nice contrast to other room temperature or cold dishes. This Margarita Cauliflower is super easy and will of course complement any sort of margarita.


And of course we can't forget about what is perhaps my most favorite food of all: Brussel Sprout Nachos! These beauties have all the classic nacho toppings, but use crisp brussel sprouts instead of chips.


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Dessert
Do you really need a big dessert after an epic meal? Perhaps not. I sometimes just opt for pineapple marinated in tequila, brown sugar, and vanilla bean. But this Vegan Chocolate Coconut MacNut Cream Pie is totally on-theme, totally make-ahead, and is a light, refreshing, cool end to a meal. Bonus: it's made with avocado!


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Salud! Hope you all have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo and get to make a few fun creations!

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