Cinco de Mayo (May 5th)

Here is the menu from my 2009 posting with a new recipe added that uses coconut wraps instead of corn or wheat tortillas (See below repeat posting to New Recipe Idea).

Reprint of Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Menu

Cinco de Mayo or the Fifth of May is not really Mexican Independence Day, as many people believe. Instead, it commemorates the 1862 victory by Mexican forces, including ordinary citizens, over French soldiers. This battle — La Batalla de Puebla or The Battle of Puebla — took place on May 5th. This day is considered by many Mexicans (and those with Mexican ties) as an important cultural event. From a culinary perspective, it is a wonderful “excuse” to create a Mexican meal that is both delicious and nutritious, or reflects my motto, “The Good Taste of Health.”

Mexican Menu

Cinco de Mayo

Note: The menu below can be expanded or contracted, depending on how ambitious you feel. Since I find cooking a kind of meditation in motion, I like the idea of cutting and chopping the salad bar ingredients, but you are free to buy many of these items already prepared. Trader Joe’s is a good place to purchase shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, etc. so don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients or their preparation. Also, although some of the items may not be traditionally Mexican, they seem to fit with the meal, so I have taken some culinary liberties. Feel free to do the same.

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, grater, bowls, pot for rice and pot for beans
Prep. Time: Varied, depending on which items you choose, but allow about 45 minutes.
Cooking Time: About 35 minutes to cook rice and beans, although they may be cooked ahead of time and served at room temperature if the weather is warm.

Ingredients for Salad Bar
one package corn, wheat, or rice tortillas, warmed in the oven or quickly warmed on a cast iron pan
1-2 cups shredded cabbage or lettuce
1-2 grated carrots (Or substitute Broccoli Slaw from Trader Joe’s, which has carrots in it)
Sprouts of choice (optional)
Sliced black and/or green olives (if canned, drain well first.)
1 cup slivered bell peppers or a small container of mixed sweet peppers
one avocado, mashed with garlic, lemon, salt & pepper (or substitute ready-made guacamole)
one cup chick peas and/or one cup black/pinto beans, cooked
one-two cups cooked Spanish rice, brown rice, or white rice (your choice)

Optional Side Items:
Cooked tofu, chicken or fish, sliced (The last 2 items are a nod to my non-vegetarian son)
Corn on the cob
Salsa and or tabasco
Sour Cream or Yogurt
Shredded cheese (I purchased Pepper Jack because it is spicy)
Chopped onions

1. Arrange all the salad bar ingredients in bowls or small dishes in a circle with the tortillas in the center.
2. Add whatever optional items you wish to use. Some will be served on the side, such as corn on the cob
3. Make your tortilla wrap using any of the items on the table. For example, I spread my warm tortilla with avocado, top that with some black beans, rice, and olives; then I top that with broccoli slaw and sprouts. If it’s not too full to wrap, then wrap it up and enjoy. Otherwise, eat the tortilla as an open-faced Mexican feast.
4. You can also create a dish of beans, rice, salsa, and sour cream as a side dish. The tofu (or chicken or fish) can also be added to the tortilla or added to the beans & rice dish.

Note: The best feature of this meal is that you can create whatever kind of feast you want, choosing any of the above ingredients separately, because nothing is mixed together. It is a perfect meals for picky eaters as well as those who like a wide variety of foods to pick from. Salud!

NEW RECIPE IDEA: Cinco de Mayo Coconut Wrap:

Instead of using wheat or corn, which some people avoid because of their high carb count or because they are allergic to either ot both, here is a gluten-free, low carb version, using small amounts of the ingredients you choose from the buffet menu above.

I used a coconut wrap that is not only gluten-free but also suitable for a Paleo diet, does not need refrigeration, and is delicious if you like coocnut.One type is made with turmeric and has a yellow color, while the one I used is just coconut for this wrap, so it is white.

Instead of making a regular recipe, I am posting the pictures to show how I built the wrap and let you use 1/4- 1/2 cup of the items you like, but be sparing so you don;t make the wrap so fat it won’t roll.First, I mashed 1/2 avocado onto the wrap.
Second, I added about 1/2 cup grated yellow carrot.
Third, I added a few slices of leek.

Fourth, I added about 1/2 cup cooked quinoa.
Fifth, I put about 1/4 cup of cooked black beans on top of the cooked quinoa.
Finally, I added sprouts (actually microgreens I grew in a small tub on my windowsill). Then I rolled the wrap as tightly as I could, and realized I put too much stuff in it, so as I tried to eat it, some of the filling fell out.

If you look back at the buffet, you will see that my tastes have simplified and I used only a few ingredients.

Despite the “fallout” the recipe was delicious! Happy Cinco de Mayo.

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