It’s taco time! Want to make them into a complete meal? Here are all the best sides to go with tacos, from coleslaw to bean dip.
It’s taco night! How much do you love tacos? In our house, Alex and I eat them very often. So often, in fact, that we’re often looking for great sides to serve them with! And honestly, it can be difficult to find the right sides to compliment the the meal: outside of chips and salsa, that is. So what are the best sides to go with tacos?
Here, we’ve put together a list of our very favorite side dishes to go with tacos! Yes, we’ve got the standard chips and salsa: but lots of other options too! A crisp coleslaw flavored with cumin and lime, traditional Mexican street corn, a tangy black beans and rice salad…well, let’s just get to the recipes!
And now, the best sides to go with tacos!
These refried beans are one of the simplest recipes there is. Why we love them as a side to go with tacos? They bring in a hit of plant-based protein, which makes the meal more filling. These are seriously simple: you need just a handful of ingredients and 20 minutes.
Next up in the best sides to go with tacos: Mexican coleslaw! What we love about it? It's fresh and flavor-filled, a healthy contrast to the richness of tacos. It has no mayo: instead there's tangy vinaigrette to compliment the crunchy cabbage, red onion, cilantro, and cumin. It’s got both cumin seed and ground cumin for a double hit of flavor. Bonus: it doubles as a taco topping.
This black beans and rice recipe is the perfect side to go with tacos! You've got black beans, jumbled with rice and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro. It’s a tasty, zesty side dish, and leftovers save well for lunch throughout the week. So good!
If sweet corn is in season, you absolutely must try this Mexican street corn recipe. (We're not joking.) Elote is a traditional street food in Mexico: sweet corn is charred to smoky perfection on the grill. Then it's slathered in creamy mayo and sour cream, seasoned with chili powder, and topped with feta or queso fresco cheese. The sweet burst of the corn against the creamy sauce is perfection.
Why eat salsa when you could eat the BEST salsa? This salsa is to be made only when fresh, ripe juicy tomatoes are in season. (If it's the winter, use this Roasted Tomato Salsa recipe instead: it's for canned tomatoes.) This one is a salsa fresca recipe, featuring tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lime: it's the perfect way to enjoy great tomatoes. Serve with purchased or Homemade Tortilla Chips.
This refried bean dip is one of our favorite sides to go with tacos that we make for entertaining! You can make it with either Instant Pot refried beans, stovetop refried beans, or canned refried beans: it tastes great either way! It's a healthy spin on bean dip, which is usually loaded with cheese. Instead, this one is loaded with flavor: and 100% plant based.
This cucumber tomato avocado salad is all about fresh simplicity: ripe and juicy tomatoes, cool cucumbers, and creamy avocado. They’re mixed with lime juice and cilantro for a tangy pop that perfectly accentuates their flavors. This one is great as a side dish for tacos or any Mexican-style meal.
Here's a tasty and healthy side to go with tacos: Mexican quinoa! It's a mix of colorful vegetables and quinoa, and pretty simple to put together. Featuring black beans, tomatoes, corn, and zucchini, it's spiced up with fajita seasoning. Bonus: leftovers save well and make a great lunch!
Last but certainly not least in our sides to go with tacos: this Mexican cheese dip! Check out that gooey, melty cheese! This one is s a play on white chili, using white beans, mild green chiles, corn, and a gooey mess of Mexican cheeses (sans the typical chicken so it’s vegetarian!). It's a rich side for dipping with chips while noshing on tacos. And maybe clinking some margaritas?
It’s so simple to make refried beans at home, and they taste amazing! All you need is a few simple ingredients and 15 minutes.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans or 3 cups cooked pinto beans, plus 3/4 cup can liquid or water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Mince the garlic. Drain the beans and reserve the can liquid in a glass measuring cup. (Use water if using cooked beans.)
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant but before it browns.
- Turn the heat to medium low and carefully add the beans (liquid hitting oil can cause it to spit!), 1/2 cup of the reserved can liquid, cumin, chili powder, and kosher salt. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding the remaining 1/4 cup can liquid when it starts to become drier. (How long you cook will depend on the bean brand or whether you’re using beans cooked from dry.) When the liquid gets thick and the beans become easy to mash, remove from the heat. Mash with a potato masher until the desired texture is reached. If you’d like to loosen up the texture, add more water. Serve immediately.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: Sides to Go with Tacos, Refried Beans Recipe
And some favorite taco recipes
Of course, we couldn’t leave you with just the sides! Here are our top favorite vegan and vegetarian taco recipes:
- Cauliflower Tacos with Yum Yum Sauce: This one gets the most rave reviews: crispy breaded cauliflower is paired with refried beans and a rich Yum Yum Sauce.
- Best Jackfruit Tacos: A fruit that tastes like pulled pork? Yes, add the right spices and you’ve got a very convincing vegan carnitas taco.
- Epic 5 Minute Tacos: Can you really make tacos in 5 minutes? You’ll have to try this one! The highlight is a spiced scrambled egg filling that tastes meaty and satisfying.
Tip: Try a tortilla warmer!
The best way to keep those tortillas warm while you eat? A tortilla warmer! Alex and I don’t buy many gadgets that have only one purpose. But we haven’t found a better way to keep tortillas warm! It’s basically an insulated pouch traps in the heat and keeps them perfectly heated. At the rate that we eat tacos around here, it’s a godsend.
Get one: Tortilla warmer $14
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.