Side Dish Ideas to Go With Tacos

Side Dish Ideas to Go With Tacos (Image: bhofack2/iStock/GettyImages)

Who doesn't love a good taco? Delicious tortillas encasing the perfect combination of meat, beans, cheese and veggies make for a satisfying meal. But sometimes you want a little some extra to go along with your tacos. Taco menu ideas for side dishes give you more flavor options and something extra to satisfy your Mexican food cravings.

Beans and Rice

Take inspiration from your favorite Mexican restaurants with a side of beans and rice. They round out your taco night menu and add a little nutrition to the meal.

Warm refried beans, with or without a sprinkle of cheese, are easy to create. Simply open a can of beans, place them in a bowl and heat them in the microwave. Heat and mash black beans with a little sour cream to create a bean side dish with a new twist.

Mexican rice takes a little time to cook the rice, but it pays off as one of the tastiest side dishes for tacos. The easiest method is to cook any type of white rice and stir in a little salsa. Cook the rice until soft and then simmer with a mixture of tomato, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno for a homestyle taste. To go truly traditional, you must lightly brown the uncooked rice in oil, throw the ingredients together, cover and bake until the rice is soft.

Fruit Salad

A refreshing fruit salad helps cool off your tongue after you eat a spicy taco. Stick with light flavors if you want to let the taco taste dominate your meal. Try these fruit salad combinations:

  • Toss cut cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew together to create a delicately flavored salad.
  • Combine green apples, red apples and green grapes for a light, tangy fruit salad.
  • Mix cut mango, pineapple, strawberry and banana to offer a sweet side dish that helps offset spicy tacos.

Green Salad

While you may get a little lettuce, tomato and onion in your tacos, a vegetable-filled salad is a healthy way to balance out the fats and carbohydrates in the stuffed tortilla. Keep it simple with a garden salad featuring shredded lettuce, sliced carrot and sliced tomatoes with vinaigrette dressing. Go for a southwest flare with shredded lettuce, diced avocado, diced tomato, sliced green onion, sliced black olives and sliced celery with a chipotle ranch dressing.

Cold Vegetable Dishes

They may not look fancy, but cut veggies add a cool crunch to a taco dinner. That cool feeling is welcome if you like to spice up your tacos with hot sauces or spicy peppers. Cut veggies also simplify your taco night menu because you can prep everything ahead of time or buy already prepared veggies at the store.

Arrange carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber spears, pickle spears, cherry tomatoes and sliced bell peppers on a plate. Add a little dip if you're feeling saucy. Salsa, sour cream and ranch salad dressing work well. Add radish roses, pickled banana peppers and pitted black olives to the vegetable plate to give it a gourmet twist.

Another fitting cold veggie side is a Mexican-style slaw. Recipes for this side dish usually start with the typical cabbage-based coleslaw mix, but the extra ingredients kick up the Mexican flavors. Those additions might include black beans, peppers, grilled corn, jalapenos and cilantro. A creamy Southwest-style dressing pulls it all together.

Corn Taco Dinner Ideas

Corn is a natural pairing for taco night. You may already have corn tortillas on the menu. Stick with the maize theme in your side dishes for tacos.

For an easy corn side dish, grab a can of fiesta corn at the grocery store. It's a simple canned corn usually with red and green peppers and Southwest seasonings. You can also make your own by adding those flavors to cooked corn.

A similar option is a corn and black bean combination. Add a little citrus juice, salt, pepper and cilantro to round out the flavors.

If you're feeling ambitious, whip up a batch of Mexican street corn for taco night. This corn on the cob dish features a coating of crema or mayonnaise plus cotija cheese and seasonings such as cayenne, chili powder and lime juice.

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