Tacos are basically Mexican sandwiches consisting of a tortilla stuffed with meat, vegetables, cheese and sauce. Most tacos use fried corn tortillas, but soft tortillas and flour tortillas are also tasty choices. While tacos can be a full meal in themselves, serving a light side dish helps keep the family feast healthy and interesting.
Beans and Rice
Beans and rice make up two side dishes that provide well-rounded nutrition and turn a couple of small tacos into an entire 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, as you must cook the rice. 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.
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. 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.
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 shredded lettuce, sliced carrot and sliced tomato garden salad with vinaigrette dressing. Go for a southwest flare with shredded lettuce, diced avocado, diced tomato, sliced green onion, sliced black olives and sliced celery salad with a chipotle ranch dressing.
They may not look fancy, but a cut vegetable side dish adds a cool crunch to a taco dinner. Arrange carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber spears, pickle spears, cherry tomatoes and sliced bell peppers on a plate. Add a little dip if desired, such as salsa, sour cream or ranch salad dressing. Add radish roses, pickled banana peppers and pitted black olives to the vegetable plate to give it a gourmet twist.