Cinco de Mayo happens in a week. The holiday can feel like May’s version of St. Patrick’s Day — an excuse to drink a lot and find cheap all-day happy hour specials. It isn’t commonly celebrated in Mexico outside the state of Puebla, where the day commemorates the 1862 victory of the Mexican militia over the French army in the Battle of Puebla.
Still, we’ll take almost any excuse to cook up a themed meal, especially one centered on Mexican cuisine. Here are just a few of the suitable recipes in our Recipe Finder. Some can even be made in advance, so you can start planning a menu.
Basic Corn Tortillas (pictured above). A technique worth mastering; once you make homemade tortillas, you’ll never look back.
Guacamole Tradicional. This version does not contain lime juice, so it’s best consumed quickly, before the avocado discolors. (We’ve never found that to be a problem, though.)
Blackened Salsa. Spicy and smoky, serve this condiment with meats or as a dip for chips.
Pickled Chayote Salad. Chayote squash tastes like a combination of zucchini and cucumber and can now be found in most large grocery stores as well as Latino markets.
Lamb Barbacoa in Adobo. This recipe takes some prep work, but you’ll be rewarded with richly flavored, succulent lamb.
Black Bean and Chorizo Nachos (pictured above). Multiple layers of chips and toppings are key.
Red Snapper With Stewed Tomatoes. The lean fish is smothered in a sauce that includes capers.
Triple Orange Mexican Wedding Cookies (Polvorones de Naranja). A citrusy variation of the classic, crumbly cookie.
Rompope. Although it’s similar to eggnog, this rum-spiked drink is excellent served cold. It’s said to have been invented in Puebla, making it especially appropriate for Cinco de Mayo.
Mezcal Margarita (pictured above). From Rick Bayless’s Topolobampo restaurant in Chicago, this was one of the recipes featured in Tom Sietsema’s award-winning America’s Best Food Cities project in 2015.