With the warm weather, sunshine, and summer right around the corner, it gives you yet another reason to celebrate. I love Cinco de Mayo because it gives me the chance to indulge in one of my favorite types of cuisines. Here are a few simply recipe ideas that will make it easy to get into the Cinco de Mayo spirit and are certain to be crowd pleasers with the entire family!!
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
3 large dried pasilla (negro), ancho or New Mexico chiles
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups vegetable broth or “no-chicken” broth
4 cups water
1 large sprig epazote (optional; see Note)
1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu
4 cups chopped chard, spinach or kale leaves
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ripe large avocado, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups roughly broken tortilla chips
3/4 cup shredded Mexican melting cheese, such as Chihuahua or asadero, or Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar (optional)
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges
1. Holding the chiles one at a time with metal tongs, quickly toast them by turning them an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until the aroma fills the kitchen. (Alternatively, toast chiles in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing them flat for a few seconds then flipping them over and pressing again.)
2. When cool enough to handle, stem and seed the chiles, break them into pieces and put them in a blender along with tomatoes and their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chiles.)
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 6 to 9 minutes. 4. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and transfer to the blender with the tomato mixture. Process until smooth.
5. Return the pot to medium heat. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add broth, water and epazote (if using). Bring to a boil, then adjust heat to maintain a simmer.
6. Drain tofu, rinse and pat dry; cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook in a single layer, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes total. Add the tofu to the soup and simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Add chard (or spinach or kale) to the soup and season with salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of the broth. Cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes, depending on the type of greens.
8. Ladle the soup into 8 soup bowls. Divide avocado, tortilla chips and cheese (if using) among the bowls. Serve warm, with lime wedges.
Baked Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas
8 6-inch corn tortillas
Canola oil cooking spray
1 6- to 7-ounce can boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons minced pickled jalapeños, plus 2 tablespoons pickling juice from the jar, divided
2 cups coleslaw mix (see Tip) or shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared salsa
2 scallions, chopped
1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375°F.
2. Coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Place on 2 baking sheets. Bake, turning once, until light brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
3. Combine salmon, avocado and jalapeños in a bowl. Combine cabbage, cilantro and the pickling juice in another bowl. Process black beans, sour cream, salsa and scallions in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on High until hot, about 2 minutes.
4. To assemble tostadas, spread each tortilla with some bean mixture and some salmon mixture and top with the cabbage salad. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.