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cinco de may recipes

Pork Loin With Mole Verde

Serve this traditional piquant dish over brown rice or with sprouted tortillas.

pork loin mole
Makes  | 
 four to six servings


  • 1 tsp. plus 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 tomatillos, husked, halved, and cored
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, halved
  • 1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus 1/2 cup for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 pound pork loin roast, cubed


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and lightly oil a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  2. Arrange onion, tomatillos, garlic, and jalapeños on the baking sheet and roast until softened, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Toast the pumpkin and cumin seeds in a dry skillet for three to five minutes.
  4. Blend together with the roasted veggies, oregano, cilantro, and salt. (For a more rustic approach, skip the blender and simply mix the mole ingredients together.)
  5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan, and sear the pork on all sides.
  6. Add the tomatillo sauce and simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat until the pork is cooked through (145 degrees F), stirring occasionally.
  7. Garnish with reserved pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

(This recipe originally appeared in “How to Eat More Seeds: Recipes, Techniques, and More“. Photo by Terry Brennan; Food Styling by Betsy Nelson.)

Chicken Mole

Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce that has many variations and usually takes hours to cook. This adaptation is quicker but still silky and flavorful.

chicken mole

Makes four to six servings | Prep time 20 minutes | Cook time 1 hour


  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 chicken (about 3 to 4 pounds), cut up into pieces
  • 2 1/4 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 tbs. ground ancho chilies or paprika
  • 1 tbs. ground coriander
  • 2 tbs. almond butter
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 oz. Mexican chocolate (80 to 85 percent cocoa), coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkinseeds, for garnish

(This recipe originally appeared in “7 Dark Chocolate Recipes“. Photo by Terry Brennan; Food Styling by Betsy Nelson.)

Pork Carnitas

Carnitas — braised or roasted pork that is shredded — is a staple of Mexican cuisine and great to have on hand for eating in tacos and tamales or with rice and beans.


Makes | four to six servings


  • 4 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, mashed with the side of a knife
  • 1 tbs. smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tbs. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs. red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Cut slits into the pork shoulder every 2 inches.
  2. Mix together the onion, garlic, spices, and salt, and rub over the pork and into the slits. Drizzle the roast with the vinegar. Wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least several hours.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat, and sear the roast on all sides.
  4. Add water to cover the roast, cover the pressure cooker, and bring to high pressure. Turn the heat down and cook for 50 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat off and allow the pressure cooker to come down to normal pressure naturally, about 10 minutes, and uncover. If the pork is not falling off the bone, return to high pressure for another 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the pork shoulder from the cooking liquid. Skim off as much fat as you can, and then simmer the cooking liquid in the pressure cooker, uncovered, until the volume is reduced by half.
  7. Shred the pork using two forks, and serve with the reduced cooking liquid poured over it.

(This recipe originally appeared in “Cooking With Pressure Cookers“. Photo by Terry Brennan; Food Styling by Betsy Nelson.)

Mexican Fruit “Gazpacho” Salad

Recipe from Jeanne Kelley’s Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes.

fruit gazbacho

Makes | six servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds Mexican papaya
  • 3/4 pounds jicama
  • 1 large mango
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 orange
  • 3 tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ground chili (such as New Mexican or other medium-hot chili)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbs. finely chopped cilantro


  1. Peel and dice (and seed, if necessary) the papaya, jicama, mango, cucumber and orange.
  2. Combine the diced fruit in a shallow serving dish or bowl.
  3. Mix the lime juice, chili and salt in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the fruit, add the cilantro, and toss gently but well.
  4. Serve.

(This recipe originally appeared in “The Kitchen Garden“. Photo by John Mowers; Food Styling by Betsy Nelson.)

Grilled Fish Tacos With Cilantro and Lime Coleslaw

Recipe from Jeanne Kelley’s Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes.

grilled fish tacos

Makes | four to six servings of fish


  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. minced or puréed canned chipotle chilies in adobo
  • 1 tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 or 3 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • Picante sauce, such as Valentina


  • 1 small head cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Prepare the fish:

  1. Mix the olive oil, chipotles, lime juice and cumin in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Add the fish and turn to coat. (Can be prepared to this point up to eight hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  2. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the fish fillets on the grill and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the fish until just cooked through, about three minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a platter.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the tortillas over an open gas flame or on a griddle. Wrap them in aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Breaking the fish into large pieces with a serving spoon, serve it with warm tortillas, avocados, coleslaw and picante sauce, allowing your guests to assemble their own tacos.

Make the coleslaw:

  1. Quarter, core and thinly slice the cabbage (you should have about 6 cups).
  2. Stir the sour cream, lime juice, cumin, garlic and salt together in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, onion and cilantro, and stir together.
  3. Refrigerate. (Can be prepared to this point up to one day ahead.)

(This recipe originally appeared in “The Kitchen Garden“. Photo by John Mowers; Food Styling by Betsy Nelson.)

Spanish Shrimp & Orange Olive Salad

Recipe excerpted from Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler (Thomas Nelson, 2007).

salad with shrimp

Makes | four dinner or six appetizer salads


  • 3/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced Spanish green olives
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange peel
  • 1 bag (5 ounces) baby arugula

Sherry Vinaigrette

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs. sherry wine vinegar
  • 6 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, mustard and vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1/4 cup.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle in the pan. Add the garlic and shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are opaque in the center, three to five minutes.
  4. Set aside and cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp, orange slices, olives, orange peel and baby arugula.
  5. Add the sherry vinaigrette to taste, and gently toss.
  6. Serve immediately.

(This recipe originally appeared in “Let There Be Salad“.)

Mango Salsa

A sumptuous, tropical delight that’s rich in antioxidants and sweetly refreshing.

Makes | 4 1/2 cups


  • 4 cups chopped mango
  • 1 tsp. finely shredded fresh mint
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened orange juice
  • 2 tbs. finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped jalapeño chili
  • 2 tbs. finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tbs. finely chopped green bell pepper


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour before serving.

Cilantro Soup

Recipe excerpted from Latin Chic: Entertaining With Style and Sass.

cilantro soup

Makes | six to eight servings


  • 4 1/2 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 small parsnips, sliced
  • 6 celery stalks with leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or plain yogurt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbs. dry sherry
  • 2 handfuls of blanched almonds, coarsely chopped, for garnish


  1. Melt the butter in a medium pan. Over low heat, sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is soft. Add the potatoes, parsnips, celery, stock and cilantro. Simmer over low heat until potatoes and parsnips are cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  2. When slighly cooled, purée the soup in a blender or food processor (you will probably need to do this in a couple of batches). You may also use a handheld immersion blender. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the cream and salt and pepper. Warm over low heat, but do not bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the sherry. Garnish with the almonds just before serving.

(This recipe originally appeared in “Latin Inspiration“.)

Ecuadorian Shrimp Ceviche

To host your perfect fun-in-the-sun fiesta all you need are finesse and a few fabulous details, Latin-style.

shrimp ceviche

Makes | eight servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (26 to 30 shrimp)
  • Salt
  • 2 large garlic gloves, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves


  • 1 bunch scallions (about 6), white parts only, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, canned or fresh, peeled
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Popcorn: natural, microwave or stovetop (optional)


  1. Peel and devein the shrimp. In a small pot, boil enough water to cover the shrimp. When the water is boiling, add a small palmful of salt, and then the shrimp, garlic and bay leaves. When the shrimp turn pink, in about a minute, remove them and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the shrimp stock to use in the marinade.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp stock and all the marinade ingredients, except for the cilantro. Toss in the shrimp, add salt and pepper to taste, and refrigerate, covered, for at least two hours.
  3. When ready to serve, sprinkle the fresh cilantro over the ceviche. If desired, make popcorn to serve on the side.

(This recipe originally appeared in “Latin Inspiration“.)

Looking for more ideas? Try these recipes:

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Lead Photo by: Terry Brennan; Food Styling by: Betsy Nelson

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