Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a taco party! We put a healthy wrap on homemade fillings and tortillas.
In North America, Cinco de Mayo (May 5) has largely transformed into a jubilation of Mexican heritage and culture. And what better way to embrace Mexican cuisine than hosting a great-tasting taco party?
Start by scrapping the lacklustre ground beef, taco seasoning packets, and boxed hard shells in favour of tacos that serve up a medley of fresh, warm tortillas (preferably homemade), healthy fillings, and punchy sauces that guests will fawn over.
To feed a hungry crowd and prove there is no party like a taco party you can put out a spread using all of these satisfying taco components. Or for a nutritious weeknight family meal, just mix and match the fillings, salsas, sauces, and toppings to suit your tastes. Best of all, most items can be made a few days in advance. Just make sure you think twice before breaking out the oversized sombrero you brought home from your last Mexico beach vacation.
Tip: choosing tortillas
If you’re not making your own tortillas, look for packaged soft ones that are only about 6 in (15 cm) in diameter. Larger tortillas that you typically find in the bread aisle of supermarkets can overshadow the fillings. Latin markets and international aisles of grocers are the best places to locate small corn tortillas.
Plan on using four per guest, and make sure to warm them in a skillet or oven before serving for the best flavour and easier folding. You can stack the tortillas inside a folded clean kitchen towel to keep them warm.
Tip: think outside of the box
Looking for some new tortilla inspiration?
- Lettuce leaves, such as Boston, can be used to bring the taco elements together.
- Make your very own crispy taco shells. Simply preheat your oven to 375 F (190 C) and warm five 6 in (15 cm) tortillas in the oven until soft and pliable. Invert a standard-sized metal muffin tin. Fold tortillas gently and prop them up between the bottoms of four muffin cups. A 12-cup tray will hold three tortillas vertically and two horizontally. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned.
- For a fun presentation, try making taco cups. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and warm six 6 in (15 cm) tortillas in the oven until soft and pliable. Brush both sides of tortillas with grapeseed or other neutral-tasting oil. With the bottom of a glass, gently press tortillas into 6 jumbo-sized muffin cups. Bake cups until they are crisp and the edges begin to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
These fillings offer a wonderful variety of flavours and textures. When throwing a taco party, make sure to include at least one vegetarian option. Small tortillas will hold about two spoonfuls of filling.
- Cocoa Black Bean
- Chipotle Chicken
- Honey Lime Halibut
Salsas and sauces
Homemade salsas and sauces are what will make your tacos brag-worthy. It’s best to offer a range of different heat levels to suit various tastes.
- Lime Yogurt Sauce
- Pico de Gallo
- Salsa de Chile Ancho
- Salsa Verde
The final touch
To top everything off, you’ll want to put out an assortment of topping options such as lime wedges, pickled jalapenos, sliced avocado, shredded lettuce, diced white onion, and shredded cheese such as queso fresco, a salty-sour creamy Mexican cheese.
- Pickled Cabbage and Onion