Recipe report: Cinco de Mayo

cinco de mayo chips margaritas

Now’s the time to start planning for Cinco de Mayo, the May 5th holiday commemorating victory for the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla. It’s an excuse for operators and customers of every nationality to celebrate, most often with guacamole, chips and margaritas. But why not set your menu apart this year by adding something a little different to the lineup? Get the party started with these festive Cinco de Mayo recipes. 

Pork Street Tacos with Blueberry Ginger Chutney

pork tacos

These smaller, portable tacos are sold from street vendors in Mexico City and other towns throughout the country. Customers have their choice of toppings, including a variety of fresh salsas. For this rendition, a blueberry chutney stands in for salsa, adding a jolt of sweet heat to the pork filling. 

Click here for the recipe.

Crunchy Queso Fundido

queso fundido pistachios

Shareable dishes like queso fundido get customers into a celebratory spirit. This easy-to-execute starter combines two cheeses, onions, tomatoes and poblanos, all quickly cooked together until hot and melted; chopped pistachios add extra crunch. Keep it warm in a skillet, small saucepan or ceramic bowl and serve with warm tortillas or chips.

Click here for the recipe.

Smoked Pina-Rita

los chingones smoked pina rita

At Los Chingones, beverage director Nikki Guard varies the margarita with a splash of smoky mezcal in addition to pepper-infused tequila. Pineapple juice and orange soda balance the cocktail with fruity flavors and turn it a rosy hue.

Click here for the recipe.

Mole de Cacahuate Bowl

mole de cacahuate bowl

Operators looking to offer more substantial fare to celebrants can serve up this hearty but healthy version of mole. The meal-in-a-bowl, created by UFood’s chef Keith Seeber, starts with grass-fed beef and incorporates quinoa, farro, butternut squash and beet greens. The recipe also supports zero waste, as it uses ribeye trim as the meat portion.

Click here for the recipe.

Arugula Salad with Tempura Avocados

tempura avocados

Avocados are plentiful now, so get some into the kitchen and experiment with preps that take them beyond guacamole. In this application, avocado wedges are battered and fried to contrast with fresh arugula and sweet-tart grapefruit sections for an appetizer, side or small plate.

Click here for the recipe.

Charred Tomato and Onion Salsa

charred tomato onion salsa

This lively salsa can multitask as a dip with chips, a topping for tacos and quesadillas or a condiment for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Charring the tomatoes, onion and garlic, then blending in paprika and chipotle peppers creates layers of smoky flavor. Lime juice and cilantro are added at the end to add acidic and herbal notes.

Click here for the recipe.

Frozen Mango Margarita

mango margarita

Margaritas are the go-to cocktail for Cinco de Mayo, but if May 5 turns out to be a warm day, a fruity frozen version may be in order. This drink requires no special slushy machine—just a blender and cracked ice—and it can double as a refreshing cocktail or a boozy dessert. Or omit the alcohol for an icy mocktail.

Click here for the recipe.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

FSD Resources