7 Taco-Flavored Dishes for Cinco de Mayo

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In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, get ready to reignite the age-old debate of what really makes a taco a taco. Many will argue that it’s all about the tortilla, while others claim it’s the filling that counts. And, of course, there are the endless topping options, including avocado, pico de gallo and fresh cilantro.

But let’s not forget the essential herbs and spices that lend a taco its sought-after savory quality. With hints of garlic, onion, chili powder and sometimes cumin, this aromatic blend is synonymous with Mexico’s signature hand-held treat. With the right spice combination, you can have taco-flavored anything. (Think taco pizza or taco potatoes.) Try switching up your Cinco de Mayo menu with any of these clever takes on the authentic Mexican flavor.

Beef and Bean Taco Casserole (pictured at top)

This hearty casserole is a deconstructed version of a taco — and a good option to keep in mind if you’re hosting a Cinco de Mayo get-together, since the recipe yields eight generous servings. The bottom layer of tortilla chips is followed by seasoned ground beef, then a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Repeat these layers a second time, then top with sour cream, lettuce, tomato and avocado.

Chicken Taco Salad

Why wait until dinner to celebrate Cinco de Mayo when you can start midday? This light variation of a traditional chicken taco works perfectly as a healthy lunch. You can use a homemade taco seasoning to flavor the chicken, but a store-bought blend works just as well — and cuts down on time.

Taco Pie

Dig into Food Network Kitchen’s indulgent Taco Pie loaded with corn, ground pork and juicy tomatoes. Corn tortillas stand in for a traditional pie crust and add a wonderful crunch once baked. Onion, garlic and green chiles lend this taco-inspired dish an aromatic quality that’s reminiscent of the hand-held version.

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Kids Can Make: Taco Cheeseburger

Celebrate the intersection of Mexican and American cultures by serving tender beef patties inside corn tortillas with lettuce, tomato, salsa and sour cream. For zesty taco flavor and a crispy, flavorful crust, season the burgers with a generous amount of chili powder and cumin before cooking them in your cast-iron skillet.

Grilled Chicken Taco Pizzas

You’ll be hard-pressed to find an audience that’s able to resist this taco-inspired pizza. Combine the best of both flavor worlds by serving smoky grilled chicken on top of cheesy flatbread. You can tame the heat from the piquant spice blend, which includes cayenne and ground cumin, with cool sour cream, avocado and lime juice.

Taco Pockets

Serve Rachael Ray’s succulent burger patties, flavored with traditional taco seasoning, wrapped in soft tortillas for an easy-to-eat Mexican-inspired feast. You can ensure the burger patties stay moist and tender by mixing the onions directly into the ground sirloin mixture.

Taco Potatoes

Ree Drummond’s crispy oven-baked potatoes are perfectly festive for Cinco de Mayo, and best of all, the recipe comes together with the help of just three ingredients: russet potatoes, olive oil and taco seasoning. When it comes to the seasoning, choose a blend that agrees with your taste buds in terms of smoke and spice. Heat seekers will want to opt for a seasoning that’s heavier on the chili powder and cumin.