Favorite Vegan Cinco de Mayo Recipes 🌶 From nachos to tacos to pico de gallo, here are some of our top picks & tips for enjoying a festive fiesta!
Originally published April 1, 2021 8:04 pm
Those of us who live in the Southwestern United States are fortunate to be surrounded by the influence of the Mexican people and culture that has shaped our region. From the architecture, music, and folk art, the terra cotta brick, colorful tiles, hand blown glassware, gorgeous textiles, and Talavera pottery - the rich history and heritage of Mexico is a part of our everyday lives. And the food. Oh, the food.
Few cuisines have captured the popularity and collective appetites of people in the U.S. like that, which a plate of enchiladas, tacos, beans and rice can command. When I get a food craving, it's usually for Mexican food. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to find restaurants that prepare dishes with all vegan ingredients. As a result, my husband and I have figured out ways to 'veganize' many of our favorite Mexican food recipes, which I am sharing with you in this vegan Cinco de Mayo recipe roundup.
One of the great things about Mexican food is it's perfect for serving at parties and large groups, particularly when the weather is warm and comfortable for outdoor entertaining. A Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) event can the perfect kick-off for patio party season! Learn more about Cinco de Mayo in the FAQ's below.
Table of Contents
- 🌶 Top tips for a fun fiesta
- Fabulous 4 Bean Fiesta Salad
- Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce for Nachos
- Easy Cheesy Pepper Poppers
- Fresh & Easy Watermelon Pico de Gallo
- Potato Tacos with Cabbage
- Easy Garden Fresh Gazpacho
- California Breakfast Burritos
- Southwestern Quinoa Salad
- Vegan Tamale Pie
- Pulled Jackfruit Street Tacos
- Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Easy Vegan Mexican Rice
- Easy Vegan Chili
- Easy Vegan Potato Enchilada Casserole
- Vegan Palmier or Orejas Pastries
- 🌶 FAQ's
In San Diego, where I live, Cinco de Mayo events are extremely popular. If you're planning on celebrating, here are a few of my top tips and favorite vegan Cinco de Mayo recipes to take to a potluck or serve at your own event.
🌶 Top tips for a fun fiesta
TIP #1 - Load up on fresh tortilla chips
🥑 Want to make the best guacamole? Simply mash up a few fresh, ripe avocados. Stir in some freshly squeezed lime juice & salt. That's it. Sure, you can always add chopped tomato, onions, and cilantro etc., but not everyone likes the same things. Try to have a few different salsas and hot sauces on hand for those who like to kick up the heat. Important - Make sure to have plenty fresh chips on hand!
TIP # 2 - Put together a nachos bar
What's more fun than a build-your-own nachos bar? This is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. All you need is a countertop or table draped in a colorful cloth or serape blanket. Add a basket of fresh (preferably warm) tortilla chips and an assortment of toppings such as:
- Refried pinto beans or black beans (see below for our quick & easy recipes)
- Vegan cheese sauce
- Diced tomatoes
- Sliced black olives
- Sliced jalapeños
- Diced green or white onions
- Vegan sour cream
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- A variety of salsas
- Pico de gallo
- Slices of fresh lime
- Tajin or chile lime salt
TIP #3 - Serve vegan beans
No Cinco de Mayo celebration is complete without beans! Particularly for vegans, since beans are such an easy and delish protein source.
Just like making your own guacamole, whipping up a batch of beans is a lot easier than you might think. Once again, simple is best. Since you'll likely have a variety of toppings like vegan cheese, salsas, guacamole, etc, you don't need to add a lot of seasonings or spices to beans. I often don't add any seasonings to beans, other than a bit of salt.
Preparing beans from scratch (using dried beans) is a good way to save money. If you use an Instant Pot, you might already know how to cook them quickly. I'll be honest, I have an Instant Pot but have yet to try it. One of these days I will pull it out of the box and give it a try. I'm sure I'll kick myself for not testing it out sooner.
🌶 Here's how we prepare quick & easy black beans and frijoles
At our house we typically stock a variety of canned pre-cooked beans, including black beans, and pinto beans, which are ideal for Cinco de Mayo. Depending on the number of guests, I'll use one 15 oz. can of beans per 2 people.
Drain the liquid. Begin heating beans in a pan with a small amount of cooking oil or vegan butter. Add a pinch or two of salt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice (to taste). That's it! If you want to make them more interesting, add a can of diced tomatoes or a spoonful or two of fresh tomato pico de gallo, some cumin and chili powder. Remove from heat and serve.
Pinto Beans (for frijoles)
I first drain the pinto beans (reserving the liquid in a cup) and then heat them in a pan with a small amount of vegan butter or oil (you can also skip the oil, just use a small amount of the liquid from the can). Add a pinch or two of salt to taste and mash them with a potato masher or large fork. Add liquid as needed until they're the consistency you like. I don't like to over-mash them, keeping a few whole beans along with the mashed beans. Remove from heat and serve.
Enjoy the party! 🌶 Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Fabulous 4 Bean Fiesta Salad
Fabulous 4 Bean Fiesta Salad 🌱 A festive, flavorful and colorful combo of delicious beans, peppers, red onion, corn and cilantro in a light & zesty citrus dressing. Perfect for potlucks, patio parties, picnics & outdoor entertaining! GF. Oil-free option.
Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce for Nachos
Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce for Nachos 🌶 Make the creamiest, dreamiest, tastiest cheese sauce made with healthy plant-based ingredients like cashews, carrots, potatoes and fresh lemon. Gluten-free and oil-free.
Easy Cheesy Pepper Poppers
Easy Cheesy Vegan Pepper Poppers 🌶 Get the party started with these roasted mini sweet bell peppers loaded with plant-based cheeses, spices, herbs & topped with toasty crisp breadcrumbs.
Fresh & Easy Watermelon Pico de Gallo
Fresh & Easy Watermelon Pico de Gallo 🍉 This spicy, sweet and refreshing combo of fresh watermelon, cucumber, lime and mango will brighten up any patio party, potluck, or picnic. Oil-free & gluten-free.
Potato Tacos with Cabbage
Vegan Potato Tacos with Cabbage 🌮 Crispy corn tortilla taco shells filled with lightly seasoned mashed potatoes and savory sautéed cabbage generously topped with rich and creamy vegan cheese.
Easy Garden Fresh Gazpacho
Easy Garden Fresh Gazpacho! 🍅 This healthy & refreshing chilled soup is loaded with fresh veggies right from the garden! Ripe red tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, celery, and a splash of citrus make this vibrant 100% vegan garden fresh gazpacho so flavorful! Yes, this is a Spanish recipe, but the ingredients lend themselves perfectly to a Cinco de Mayo theme. Gluten-free.
California Breakfast Burritos
Vegan California Breakfast Burrito ☀️ Start your day with a delicious plant-based & protein-packed meal rolled up in a warm tortilla! A colorful combo of the best tofu scramble with hash brown potatoes, avocado, vegan cheese & salsa is a great grab & go meal!
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Southwestern Quinoa Salad 🌱 Super food. Super good. This vibrant colorful salad is full of bright, fantastic flavor, protein & fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients. You’ll love this easy and healthy vegan recipe. Oil-free option & gluten-free.
Vegan Tamale Pie
Vegan Texas Tamale Pie 🌶 A simply delicious and satisfying Southwestern Tex-Mex inspired recipe filled with zesty flavor and a colorful combo of beans, peppers, tomatoes, and sweet corn, topped with fluffy homemade cornbread.
Pulled Jackfruit Street Tacos
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Vegan Stuffed Bell Peppers 🌱 Bright & colorful roasted peppers filled with veggies, brown rice and plant-based protein in a savory rich tomato-based sauce. Stuff them with our Mexican Rice (see below) for a traditional flavor!
Easy Vegan Mexican Rice
Easy Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe 🌶 This recipe continues to be a fan favorite. An easy & delicious plant-based dish made with rice, vibrant veggies, peppers & zesty bright flavor! GF and oil-free option.
Easy Vegan Chili
Easy Vegan Chili ❤️ A budget-friendly hearty, delicious & nutritious one-pot vegan recipe that will be ready to eat in under 30 minutes! This is the perfect easy & satisfying to feed a crowd. Oil-free option. GF
Easy Vegan Potato Enchilada Casserole
Easy Vegan Potato Enchilada Casserole 🌶 This zesty festive dish is like a party on your plate! Add a side of beans, rice & salad and you’ll have the whole enchilada! Easy to prepare & gluten-free.
Vegan Palmier or Orejas Pastries
Vegan Palmier Heart Pastries 💚 A simple traditional caramelized pastry enjoyed around the world, including Mexico where they are popularly known as Orejas or "ears".
Cinco de Mayo is a very popular holiday, but do you know why it is celebrated?
There is a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day. Instead, it commemorates a single battle in Mexico's history. According to history.com
Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. That day, which occurred on May 5, 1862, is also known as Battle of Puebla Day. While it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.
Select your avocados based on when you plan on making guacamole. If you want to prepare it the same day, choose ripe avocados. A ripe avocado will be fairly firm, but will yield to light pressure. The skin will be snug to the fruit, not brittle or pulled away. A perfectly ripe avocado will be neither hard nor mushy.
My husband always checks to see that the stem is still intact on the avocados he buys. If it has been removed, the avo will tend to over-ripen from the top, so he only buys the ones with the stems.
There’s a fine line between ripe and over-ripe and you’ll know it when you cut into an avo. One of the first signs of it being too ripe is the color of the flesh. Once those brown spots show up, it’s too late. Another way to check if it’s over ripe is by smell. An acrid or sour smell is a sure sign that you won’t be using that avocado.
If you don’t plan on using your avocados the day you buy them, it’s better to error on the side of caution and choose firmer ones. If you have ripe avos that you won’t use the same day, put them in the fridge. It will slow down the ripening process and might give you a few extra days to use them.
Mexican food doesn't have to be spicy to be tasty. That's where salsa and hot sauces served as add-ons or condiments to the meal are a great way to go, particularly for parties. I suggest using a light touch with peppery/hot ingredients (or none at all) when cooking meals for others. Some adults and children can't tolerate spicy food. Keep everyone happy by providing options for guests who want to kick up the heat, and mellow toppings like vegan sour cream, cheese, and guacamole for those with tender tongues!
Favorite Vegan Cinco de Mayo Recipes 🌶
Did you enjoy these recipes? I’d love to know about it!
Please rate them on the recipe pages. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks a bunch!🥕
very vegan 🌱 very good