Recipe roundup: Salsas and toppings for Cinco de Mayo

Sweet, savoury, and spicy accoutrements for your favourite Mexican dishes.
Published April 13, 2021

There’s no better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with a selection of your favourite Mexican-inspired meals, especially when they’re served alongside these tantalizing recipes for ultra-fresh salsas, slaws, dips, and desserts.


Tomato-based salsa will always be a classic Tex-Mex condiment, but don’t let a lack of tomatoes prevent you from making your own. These salsas feature a medley of fruits and vegetables, as well as more unusual flavourings such as chocolate and mint. Once you discover how easy it is to make your own salsa at home, you’ll be able to experiment with your own ingredient combinations and heat levels.

Looking for more ways to use salsa?

From soups to kebabs, these recipes feature salsa as both a condiment and a side dish.

Guacamole and other avocado-based toppings

When shopping for avocados, look for fruit that yields to gentle pressure when you press down on the peel. If you aren’t planning on using the avocado for another couple of days, choose fruit that still feels firm. To speed up the ripening process, place unripe avocados in a paper bag with a banana; the bananas naturally release ethylene gas which will cause the avocado to ripen in 24 hours or less.

Slaws, sides, and toppings

Vibrant and easy-to-assemble, the recipes in this section do double-duty as side dishes and colourful toppings. Pile slaws and bean salads onto tacos, egg dishes, tostadas, and any other Cinco de Mayo favourites. Refried beans, which couldn’t be simpler to make from scratch, are a filling and delicious addition to grain bowls, burritos and quesadillas. Even pickled red onions, which take less than five minutes to assemble, can elevate an ordinary dish into a memorable meal.

Marinades, creamy dips, and sauces

You can add big flavour to chicken or fish in a short amount of time using the cilantro-cumin marinade recipe listed below. Steak and tofu can marinate for several hours before cooking, and any remaining marinade can be used as a sauce or dressing for grains and hardy salads. For an easy dinner with Tex-Mex appeal, serve your choice of protein with one or two of the following dips or sauces and a platter of grilled or roasted vegetables.


These Mexican-inspired dessert recipes are inspired by classic south-of-the-border flavours like ancho chile and fresh citrus. For a welcome and simple twist on an after dinner fruit platter, serve cut-up melon or tropical fruit with a pinch of coarse salt and a drizzle of fresh lime juice (chili flakes are optional.)