What are the best sides for chicken tacos? Chicken tacos go well with traditional Mexican flavors, so choose sides with cumin, chili peppers, lime, and coriander, like Tex-Mex potatoes, grilled corn, peppers, vinegary onions, or kidney bean salad. Calm a spicy palate with creamy refried beans, veggie-filled macaroni salad, or luscious squash puree.
Taco Tuesday is a great institution, but sometimes you need some inspiration to keep it fresh. Let’s look at some delicious sides to accompany your tacos and some toppings and sauces to make the usual tacos more exciting.
These delicious twice-baked potatoes are oozing with cheese, sour cream, and bacon, making a rich and satisfying side to chicken tacos.
Begin by preheating the oven to 400⁰F (200⁰C).
Wash, dry, and pierce two baking potatoes. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and bake for about 45-55 minutes until soft.
Combine ⅕ cup of grated peppery cheese, ¼ cup of sour cream, two crispy bacon rashers, one chopped spring onion, ½ teaspoon of cumin, and ½ teaspoon of hot sauce.
Slit open the baked potatoes and squeeze and scoop out the pulp, leaving the shell intact. Mix the potato pulp with the cheese mixture and restuff the potatoes.
Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle with fresh coriander.
Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
Grilled corn is a traditional Mexican street food that makes a delicious side dish, especially in summer, when serving tacos.
Grill or oven bake corn on the cob in its husks. It will take about 15 minutes. Turn the grilled corn a couple of times to cook evenly.
Remove the husks and grill the corn a little longer to get a beautiful char.
Meanwhile, combine ½ cup of sour cream, ½ cup of mayonnaise, and the juice of one lime in a flat dish. Grate in a clove of garlic.
Grate or crumble a cup of cotija or Parmesan cheese.
Using tongs, roll each cob in the mayonnaise and then the cheese to coat. Sprinkle with chili powder and cilantro to serve.
This simple salad, Ensalada de coditos, is the staple of birthday parties in Mexico and is a hearty side when you have lots of children to feed.
Cook 8 oz of elbow macaroni, drain and set aside to cool.
Chop 10 oz of Cheddar cheese and 10 oz of cooked ham into small cubes. Stir through the cold macaroni.
Combine 1½ cups Mexican crema and ¼ cup of mayonnaise, seasoning generously. Fold the creamy dressing through the salad.
Refrigerate the pasta salad for at least four hours. Serve garnished with parsley.
Sweet Winter Squash Puree
When it’s chilly outside, a comforting squash dish is a hearty side for fresh chicken tacos.
Bake a small winter squash until soft. Remove the seeds and fibers, and scrape the pulp into a bowl.
Add butter, brown sugar, ground ginger, salt, and pepper. Beat in warm whipping cream until smooth and soft.
A soft, creamy heap of refried beans goes well with chicken tacos, providing a plain contrast to the spicy tacos.
Heat three tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add ¼ cup of chopped onion and dry until transparent and browning, about 4-5 minutes.
Add three cups of cooked or canned pinto or black beans, along with ½ cup of liquid from cooking or the can. Mash the creamy beans in the skillet until they become a paste.
Use a spatula to spread the beans from the edge of the pan towards the center to cook thoroughly. Season.
Kidney Bean Salad
Serve this Mexican-style salad as a fresh, zesty side for your tacos or a different taco filling for vegetarians.
Make a marinade with ½ teaspoon of mustard powder, ½ teaspoon of cumin, two tablespoons of wine vinegar, four tablespoons of olive oil, and salt.
Chill a cup of cooked or drained canned kidney beans in the marinade for two to three hours.
Make a vinaigrette using a tablespoon of vinegar, three tablespoons of olive oil, one clove of crushed garlic, and a pinch of salt.
Combine one shredded lettuce, one cubed avocado, ½ chopped green pepper, two chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano, and half a cup of grated or diced Cheddar cheese.
Drain the beans of their marinade and add them to the salad. Pour over the dressing and serve.
If you’re a fan of fiery food, this simple chili pepper side is an excellent accompaniment to chicken tacos.
You’ll need four jalapeno peppers or 6-8 serrano peppers. Gently roll the peppers under your hand to release their spiciness and heat from the veins and seeds. Make a slit in each pepper so that it won’t burst when cooking.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and gently fry the peppers whole until their skins blister. Take care not to let them burn – you’ll only need four or five minutes.
Place the cooked peppers in a serving bowl and dress them with a tablespoon of lime juice and two teaspoons of soy sauce.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Quick Pickled Onions
Add zing to Tuesday taco night with these easy homemade pickled onions. Make them the day before so that they can soak up the flavors.
Peel and slice two red onions.
Bring four cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and add the onions. Once bubbling, turn off the heat and let the onions stand for two minutes.
Drain the onions.
Put the onions in a glass bowl with a bay leaf, two allspice kernels, three black peppercorns, ½ cup of water, and ½ cup of white vinegar or lime juice. Season.
Refrigerate the onions for at least a couple of hours. They will last for a week.
Best Beverages Pairings For Chicken Taco
When taco night becomes party night, bring out some Mexican drinks to accompany your meal.
Sangria is a Spanish favorite, combining wine, orange juice, pineapple, and lemon or lime soda. Make your sangria extra-special by using a good Rioja red wine and adding cinnamon, orange liqueur, and brandy to your mix.
A jug of margaritas also goes down well, combining tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Always serve in a salt-lined glass.
Mojitos are always popular and refreshing. Make sure you have white rum, sugar, soda water, and fresh limes and mint.
Mexican beers are ideal with tacos – choose Dos Equis, Tecate, or Modelo to stay in the spirit.
If you prefer wine, avoid heavily oaked or tannin wines. Stick to light, low-alcohol wines with a touch of sweetness and acidity to cut through the spices of the tacos.
A fruity Pinot Noir goes well with chicken tacos for lovers of red wines, while good white wine pairings are Sauvignon Blanc or Vinho Verde. Sparkling rosé is also an excellent accompaniment.
Best Sauce Pairings For Chicken Taco
Tacos are best with generous amounts of sauce and toppings.
Here are some topping ideas for chicken tacos:
- Chopped fresh cilantro and parsley
- Finely chopped onion
- Shredded lettuce or cabbage
- Sliced tomatoes
- Crumbled queso fresca
- Chopped pickled jalapenos
- Sliced avocado
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced radishes
- Lime wedges
Sauces that are great with chicken tacos are sour cream, Mexican crema, guacamole, and spicy salsa.
An amazing multipurpose red salsa isn’t hard to make. Place two chopped tomatoes and one jalapeno pepper in a saucepan.
Cover the ingredients with water and cook for about 12-15 minutes until tender.
Drain the water and reserve.
Blend the tomatoes, pepper, a clove of garlic, and a tablespoon of diced onion until smooth.
Add the reserved water as necessary.
Season and serve.