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Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a broader celebration of Mexican culture. Many communities use Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to enjoy Mexican music and dance -- and especially food!
Although many traditional Mexican dishes use meat, we’ve collected a number of plant-based recipes that are just as delicious. Whether you’re vegan or just trying to choose healthier options, these plant-based Cinco de Mayo recipes are quick, easy, and irresistible. They’re the perfect addition to a Cinco de Mayo party, Mexican food night with the family, or any occasion.
Check out our favorite easy plant-based recipes for Cinco de Mayo:
No Cinco de Mayo spread is complete without guacamole! Avocados are full of healthy fats and this spicy vegan recipe also adds the anti-inflammatory, immune boosting power of healthy ingredients like garlic, onion, hot peppers, and lime.
For guacamole lovers who prefer a milder flavor, you can use fewer peppers or leave them out completely. You can also make a creamier version of this Cinco de Mayo favorite by adding a few spoonfuls of plant-based sour cream or plain yogurt.
Cut avocados in half, remove pits, and scrape insides into a large mixing bowl. Use a large fork or potato masher to mash avocados to desired consistency (we like to keep it fairly chunky).
Next, finely chop peppers, onion, tomato, and cilantro. Add these ingredients to the mixing bowl along with pressed garlic, lime juice, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Fold ingredients into the mashed avocado and mix until well-blended.
Just because you’re having a plant-based Cinco de Mayo doesn’t mean you can’t have “cheese”! This easy queso dip from Minimalist Baker is completely vegan, gluten free, and ready in just five minutes. Note: You will need a blender for this recipe.
Add all ingredients to the blender, starting with only 3/4 cup hot water. Blend until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency, adding more water as needed.
Quinoa is a great to any plant-based Cinco de Mayo spread. It’s a complete protein that’s high in fiber and naturally gluten free. We love this Mexican style quinoa salad as a side dish, burrito filling, or mixed with leafy greens.
If you’re short on time, you prepare the quinoa and dressing the night before and store in your fridge.
Cook quinoa in water and set aside to cool. While the quinoa is cooling, combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake thoroughly.
Mix black beans, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, and red onion into the quinoa. Then, pour in the dressing and mix again until well distributed. Serves six.
For a plant-based main course, black bean enchiladas are always a Cinco de Mayo hit! This recipe uses homemade enchilada sauce, but you can substitute with store-bought if needed.
These vegan enchiladas are extra tasty with a dollop of fresh, spicy guac or a melty drizzle of cashew queso from the recipes above.
First, prepare the enchilada sauce by warming the oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to sizzle, add the flour and spices. Whisk vigorously for about one minute or until the blend becomes fragrant and slightly deeper in color.
Add tomato paste and vegetable broth, then reduce to simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, then add vinegar, pepper, and salt.
For the enchiladas, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil, add onions, and sauté until tender. Add bell peppers and broccoli or cauliflower, then reduce to low heat and cook for 8-9 minutes or until veggies are softened and starting to brown.
Add cumin, cinnamon, and spinach. Stir until the spinach has wilted. Next, transfer the contents of the skillet to a mixing bowl. Add black beans, vegan cheese shreds, and 2 Tbsp enchilada sauce. This will be the filling of your enchiladas!
To assemble the enchiladas, grease a large baking pan and pour 1/4 cup enchilada sauce into the bottom of the dish, coating it evenly. Begin scooping enchilada filling into the tortillas and form them into wraps. Place each wrap into the pan, forming tight rows.
Once the pan is full, pour remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle cheese shreds over the top. Then, bake for 20 minutes or until golden-brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.
Finally, no Cinco de Mayo celebration would be complete without margaritas!
At Little West, we love making this watermelon margarita from NY Times Cooking -- but we’ve modified the recipe to include The Quench for a healthy, anti-inflammatory twist. (Using cold pressed juices in cocktails helps your body replenish vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes as you drink, plus there’s no added sugar so you’re less likely to experience a hangover.)
Pour sea salt or Tajin into a shallow bowl or on a plate, then spread out to evenly cover the bottom. Moisten the rims of your margarita glasses and press them down, twisting gently until the rims are lightly dusted.
In a shaker filled with ice, combine liquid ingredients. Shake 3-4 times, then pour into glasses. Garnish with a slice of fresh lime or watermelon.
For an alcohol-free “mocktail” version, use a splash of Orange juice instead of Cointreau and substitute pickle juice or tonic water for tequila.
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