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8 Classic Mexican Dishes for Beginner Cooks

by Mike Schott 22 Jul 2022
Many believe that authentic food from Mexico came from the Mayan Indians. They used corn tortillas, fish, and chili peppers in their dishes, which are still seen in popular Mexican dishes today.

Traditional Mexican food is flavor-filled, spicy, and fresh. It's no wonder why this is a beloved and celebrated food worldwide.

Mexican cuisine is something you should try even if you are not of Mexican heritage. You can make some of the most delectable recipes in just simple steps. Keep reading for the top eight classic Mexican dishes even a beginner can make taste great.

1. Chicken Tostadas

If you are looking for easy Mexican recipes to please a crowd, give this one a try. These tostadas are quick to make, crunchy, and customizable. Keep your tostadas simple and serve with our lentil mole and a side of rice.

  • two skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced or your choice of protein for a plant based option
  • one ounce taco seasoning mix
  • one 16-ounce can of refried beans
  • six corn tostada shells
  • one cup of shredded Mexican cheese
  • one tomato, diced
  • 3/4 of red onion, diced
  • 3/4 of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup sour cream 

    Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the diced chicken and taco seasoning. Cook until the chicken is fully cooked, about five to seven minutes.

    Take the tostada shells and spread a thin layer of the refried beans on top. Sprinkle the beans with the Mexican cheese and add the cooked chicken on top. Spread the diced tomato, onion, and pepper over the tostadas in an even layer.

    Add the filled tostadas to a baking sheet. Bake for ten to fifteen minutes in the oven.

    Once the tostadas are crispy, take them out of the oven. Sprinkle the fresh cilantro on top, add a spoonful of salsa and a dollop of sour cream, and enjoy!


    2. Pico de Gallo

    You'll only need a few ingredients to make this quick recipe. Whip this up to add to another recipe or serve with tortilla chips for a tasty snack. 


    • three to four medium red tomatoes, diced 
    • one cup of chopped onion
    • one jalapeño pepper with the seeds taken out, minced 
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • juice from one lime 
    • 1/2 tsp salt 
    • 1/8 tsp black pepper

      Take a medium bowl and add the diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Add the lime juice, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix. Eat immediately or keep in a covered container for up to three days. 

      3. Chicken Enchiladas

      This is one of the easiest Mexican dishes to cook for dinner. It's quick and delicious. You can make this dish even easier by adding rotisserie chicken. 


      • one eight-ounce package of cream cheese
      • one cup salsa
      • two cups of chopped chicken breast 
      • one 15.5 can of pinto beans, drained
      • six flour tortillas 
      • two cups shredded Colby Jack cheese 
      • one cup of shredded lettuce
      • one tomato, diced 
      • sour cream to taste 


        Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9X13 baking dish. 

        Take a medium saucepan and, over medium heat, add the cream cheese and salsa. Stir the mixture until it is melted and blended together. Add the pinto beans and chicken and stir until combined. 

        Fill each tortilla with a large spoonful of the chicken mix. Roll the tortillas up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the rolled tortillas and cover the top with aluminum foil. 

        Bake in the oven for half an hour. Once out of the oven, add the lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream to the top of the enchiladas and serve hot.


        4. Fish Tacos 

        You can't go wrong with tacos. Add some savory fish, and you'll have a dinner hit on your hands. You bake these in the oven for an easy, zingy meal your whole family will love. For double the seafood flavor, pair your fish tacos with our vegan coconut chowder


        • one pound cod 
        • one tbsp chili powder 
        • one tsp cumin 
        • one tsp smoked paprika
        • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
        • 1/2 tsp onion powder 
        • 1 tsp salt 
        • three cups of shredded red cabbage 
        • one green onion, sliced 
        • juice of one lime 
        • 1/4 tsp celery salt
        • eight corn tacos 
        • chopped cilantro 
        • lime wedges for garnish 


          Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix the first six spices together. Pat the cod dry and cover the fish with the dry rub. 
          Put the seasoned fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for ten minutes. Create a slaw by combining the cabbage, green onion, lime juice, and celery salt.
          Take a taco shell and fill it with the fish and slaw. Finish the taco off with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.


          5. Baked Quesadillas 

          You make this recipe on a baking sheet which makes for a crispy outside. You can make a significant amount in no time when using this method. Add our red bean pozole as a side and you'll have a meal you can't compete with! 


          • 1/2 cup can black beans drained and rinsed 
          • drizzle of olive oil 
          • 1/4 tsp cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt 
          • one green onion
          • one cup of shredded cheddar cheese 
          • one cup of mozzarella cheese 
          • 1/2 cup pico de gallo 
          • eight tortillas 
          • guacamole to taste 
          • sour cream to taste
          • salsa to taste
          • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped 


            Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take the drained beans and mix them with olive oil and spices. 
            Take a large baking sheet and brush it with olive oil. Add the tortillas to the sheet and brush the tops with oil. Add the cheeses, a scoop of beans, green onion, pico de gallo, and a pinch of salt to each tortilla. 

            Fold the filled tortilla in half, which makes them easier to flip. Bake the quesadillas for eight minutes, flip them over, and bake for six more minutes. 

            Once browned, remove them from the oven and cut them into wedges. Serve with cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.


            6. Black Beans and Rice 

            This classic dish is full of flavor and protein. Make sure to use traditional long-grain rice when you make this dish for an authentic flavor. Pair this dish with our Garbanzos Al Pastor for a delicious meal. 


            • three cups of cooked white long-grain rice
            • one medium sweet onion, minced 
            • one green bell pepper, diced
            • six garlic cloves, minced
            • two 15-ounce cans of black beans 
            • two tbsp salted butter 
            • one tbsp olive oil 
            • two tsp cumin 
            • two tsp oregano
            • one tsp salt 
            • juice of one lime 
            • fresh cilantro as a garnish 


              Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and heat the butter and olive oil. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook for ten minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the beans, cumin, oregano, and salt to the skillet and stir. 
              Cook the mixture for three minutes until fragrant. Stir in the rice for a minute until the mixture is warmed. Take off the heat and mix the lime juice in. Serve with a healthy sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

              7. Black Bean Burrito 

              Whether you are a beginner cook or not, you won't be able to get enough of this recipe. The creamy rice, hearty vegetables, and tangy sauce combine for a mouthful of flavor.


              • one can of black beans
              • 1/2 can of canned corn 
              • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese 
              • one cup of cooked rice 
              • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
              • 1/2 cup onion, diced
              • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
              • one tbsp butter
              • one tsp oil
              • one tsp salt
              • one tsp black pepper 
              • one tsp cumin 
              • juice of half a lime 
              • eight medium tortillas 


                Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Add the bell peppers, onion, beans, cilantro, corn, spices, and lime juice. Sauté this mixture for three minutes, then remove from heat. 

                Lay each tortilla flat and add a spoonful of the bean mix, rice, and cheese. Keep the fillings two inches from the corners of the tortilla. Fold in the edges and roll the burrito upwards. 

                Add a drizzle of oil to another skillet. Place the burritos on the skilled for two minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with salsa and sour cream.

                8. Mexican Rice 

                This rice recipe is great as a side dish or for other Mexican recipes. You can whip this up in minutes! 


                • one cup uncooked basmati rice 
                • two cups of chicken broth 
                • one 10-ounce can of red enchilada sauce 
                • salt and pepper
                • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (optional) 
                • one tomato chopped 
                • one green onion sliced 


                  In a large saucepan, combine the rice, chicken broth, and enchilada sauce and bring to a gentle boil. Once boiling, cover the saucepan and turn the heat too low. 
                  Cook for ten to fifteen minutes until the rice is tender. Stir the rice and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato and green onions to the top and serve.

                  Knowing These Classic Mexican Dishes Means You're Always Close to a Good Meal 

                  You can still cook delicious classic Mexican dishes if you are a newbie in the kitchen. You'll wow your friends and family with the recipes you create for them to eat!

                  If you need a break from the kitchen, Casa Verde can help! Choose one of our delicious ready-to-eat Latin meals.

                  Shop our selection today for an easy meal you'll be excited to eat. 

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