I’m Looking for Tex-Mex Side Dish Ideas

Heather says:

With things normalizing, I’ve decided to involve the minions in Home-Ec. The site earns a little through advertising and in order to keep the kids from being resentful of this never ending side project that does take time, I have decided let them in on the business side of things. This is what it costs to run, this is the traffic etc. They are going to start helping with setting up the photography equipment (and keeping the table clean so we can). So, we’ll see what happens.

On another note:

I am cooking again.

For real.

Many meals.

With vegetables and nutrition in mind.

I’ve got an Ask the Audience for you. I try to give the growing minions two vegetables a meal -one can be incorporated into the main dish, but the other needs to be a stand alone. Starches don’t count. Why? Because that’s simply how things roll around here.

Most of the time it’s easy, but some cuisines just make vegetable accompaniments difficult, Tex-Mex I’m looking at you. And ever since we saw The Lego Movie, my kid are completely enamored with Taco Tuesday and are insisting we do this. Often.

Most of the time I saute zucchini and yellow squash and I’ll sprinkle in a little cumin and add some fresh garlic. Yes there are tomatoes in salsa, but condiments don’t count. This week we found a pile of vegetables under the youngest minion’s chair (she’s six, can you believe that? I started this site while pregnant with her). Obviously we need alternatives.

I will do fish tacos this Tuesday and cabbage slaw is an option, but what else? (I asked on Twitter and got some ideas, but I’d love to hear your opinion).

If you’re reading this via the Home-Ec 101 newsletter, please click through so everyone can see your comment.

And please keep sending in your questions, they are always appreciated.


  1. Penny on April 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Oops! I forgot to mention the olive oil in the chopped avocado recipe. Just a drizzle. 🙂

  2. Penny on April 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Chopped avocados with halved grape tomatoes and plenty of chopped cilantro, drizzled with lemon or lime juice and a touch of ground cumin, lightly toasted if possible. Salt and pepper too, of course. This can be served as a salad or used as a topping for lettuce.

    Shredded iceberg lettuce (coleslaw style) with guacamole and a few tomato wedges is also delicious and refreshing.

    Refried beans are another easy option. Heat a deep pot and add olive oil (add a T. of bacon grease if desired) then 2 cans of pinto or black beans and chopped garlic to taste. Salt & pepper, stir until the garlic begins to cook, then add a little water and mash with a potato masher. Serve with a few tortilla chips or some fresh corn tortillas which have been lightly toastted over a gas burner. You can freeze the leftovers!

  3. Ketrenok on March 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    We eat a blackbean salad often. Blackbeans/fresh tomatoes/avocado/cilantro/olive oil/lemon or lime. Add in some onions or scallions if you like. We eat it plain, w chips and w tortillas.

  4. Jean on March 10, 2014 at 12:16 am

    I’ve been known to throw whatever’s hanging around in “spanish rice” Also, I find it takes a while to put taco components together…perfect for raw veggie munching. Not so good if you insist on two veggies at the table but I’ve found a giant raw veg platter is always demolished quickly.

  5. ml on March 4, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Some form of the tree sisters (corn, beans and squash). Sauteed with cumin, garlic. Or made into salsa.

  6. Anna on March 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    My favorite side dish with tacos is fresh pineapple with cumin. Simple, but rounds out the food groups nicely.

  7. Jacki on March 1, 2014 at 9:05 am

    My girls (7 year old twins) love raw veggies and they love assembling their own dishes.
    When we do Taco Tuesday I put out slow cooker black beans (cooked in broth, with head of unpeeled garlic, onion, Mexican oregano and a cinnamon stick), shredded chicken and a variety of raw veggies. Veggies might include peppers of all colors, cucumbers, or maybe a corn salad ( cilantro, lime, garlic) and of course cherry tomatoes, raw baby spinach and fresh cilantro.
    I have found most kids ( I teach a baking class at our elementary school) love to assemble their own dishes and will choose to try new things when they are presented as a choice. So at home I always have fresh raw veggies at dinner. This works really well with Taco or burrito night, black beans and brown rice bowl, or Chinese noodle night where I serve the noodles and they dress them up with their choice of peanut dressing, shredded carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, shredded chicken, steamed broccoli , spinach or whatever you have around.
    For my husband and me we have jalapeños and hot sauce to dress it all up adult style. It might seem like extra work but we waste much less food this way and leftover raw veggies are much easier to reuse.

  8. martha on February 28, 2014 at 11:50 am

    We love Tex Mex food.. Steamed Vegetables – Broccoli, Spinach, Green Beans, are all really good
    Vegetables are always good complements to spicy foods.. A simple undressed salad of shredded iceberg lettuce with chopped onion and tomato (on the side) cools the palate and works well.. I add a little finely shredded dark green lettuce to add to the plate.

    Spanish Rice is a good vehicle for vegetables..- In a skillet with a lid, brown rice in a bit of olive oil with plenty of garlic, good chili powder and a small chopped onion, add tomatoes and chicken broth. when the rice is about done, add peas, carrots, green beans..(either fresh or frozen) vegetables to equal the rice.. cover and steam, season to taste, then sprinkle a little grated cheese (I prefer queso fresco because it is healthier)

    Soup.. Mexican food is all about soup – chicken broth base, plenty of dark green leafy greens (kale, collards, turnip, spinach – fresh and chopped small to cook quickly) carrots, and peppers.. add a touch of spice at the table..
    Another soup that is really good is to take left over chile and add garbanzos, a can of tomatoes, okra, carrots, cabbage and good things in the fridge or freezer and thin it with either broth or water – makes a really nice soup with plenty of vegetables.. cube a little bit of cheese into the hot soup before serving (1/2′ cubes) and it make it a full meal..

    Tacos – I make my own tortillas when I have time – using a recipe for Indian fry bread or chapatis.. The kids can actually get into this – the secret is to let the dough rest after you make the little balls
    Sliced vegetables – peppers, tomatoes, onion, shredded carrots, dark green leafy greens chopped small mixed with shredded iceberg lettuce, salsa, shredded cheese.. Then you have a “make your own..) Meat- shredded chicken, tofu, chile..

  9. Teresa on February 28, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Pico…. Pico we love pico here. Many eat it as a condiment, we eat it as a salad sometimes with corn chips, often right out of the bowl before dinner is ready:). For a small bowl, 1c chopped fresh tomatoes (fresher and better tasting the better, 1/2 c diced red onions, 1/4-1/2 chopped cilantro (not parsley please),2-4 cloves chopped garlic to taste, some salt and a little lemon juice (you do not need much, let it sit taste and add more if you want). I do not add jalalpenos, my family does not like the taste of them….others prefer it with. Let it sit for a bit and meld flavors.
    Corn salad would work also very similar just add corn.

  10. Jen on February 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Is corn considered a starch? The other night I heated up some frozen corn and threw in a little fresh cilantro…no butter or oil or anything else…I thought it turned out really well. Super simple, fresh tasting, and in my experience kids love corn. Goodluck!

  11. Jena on February 28, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Mexican corn salad is a great side! Corn, red onion, bell pepper, lightly sauteed with cumin and lime.

  12. Windy on February 28, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I like to make Mexican Rice (I use the Pioneer Woman’s recipe) and add extra vegetables. It has tomatoes in it already, but I’ll chop a bell pepper and add that as well.

    My kids have decided that green beans go with everything, so when in doubt, it’s our go-to side dish.

    Good luck!

  13. Jennifer on February 28, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I like a Tex-Mex salad. It is a typical lettuce salad with tomatoes, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips. Dress it with Thousand Island dressing. Sometimes, I add taco meat to mine when the kids are just having regular tacos.

    So THAT is why my kids have been talking about Taco Tuesday!! Why didn’t my husband tell me that? He took the older kids and I stayed home with the baby.

  14. Kim on February 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Guacamole and Pico de Gallo are two vegetable dishes typically served with traditional Tex-Mex food. Pico de Gallo is not a salsa but a salad. It is composed of chunks of tomato, smaller chunks of onion, minced jalapenos and cilantro with lemon or lime squeezed onto it. Guacamole is composed of fresh mashed avocados, tomato, onion, jalapenos or serranos, cilantro and sometimes sour cream (depends on the avocado). I know of folks who put minced garlic in it also.

    I like the Pico de Gallo as a part of the salad, served on lettuce. For kids, I tone the jalapenos down and up the tomato, onion and cilantro. Pico de Gallo, further chopped down, becomes an ingredient for the Guacamole.

  15. Gregory Pittman on February 28, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Roasted broccoli lightly tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and maybe smoked paprika and/or cumin would be a great side dish. The smoked paprika can be overwhelming so a little goes a long way.

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