From all different types of peppers to avocados to black beans, we are covering 50 types of Mexican vegetables in this helpful guide to Mexican veggies.
Mexico is home to so many wonderful vegetables and Mexican recipes use even more variety of vegetables! Our list of 50 Mexican veggies has some everyday world-wide veggies and a few less common regional specialties native to Mexico.
What are mexican vegetables?
Mexican vegetables can range from vegetables that are native to Mexico and those that are common in Mexican cuisine. Like many regions of the world, Mexico’s culinary scene has been influenced by other nations through colonization, trade routes, and more. This is also how some non-native vegetables arrived in Mexico and thus showed up in classic Mexican dishes.
We will go into a deep dive of all the vegetables that originated in Mexico and those that did not but are used in Mexican cuisine. Some are technically fruits, but if we use them in the kitchen in Mexican recipes like vegetables they’re included.
Which of these is not a food from Mexico? The answer is at the end of this post!
Types Of Mexican Vegetables
Click the links below to jump to a certain type of Mexican veggie, or just keep scrolling to explore all the vegetables!
- Amarillo Pepper
- Ancho Chile Pepper
- Ayocote Morado (Purple Runner Beans)
- Bayo Bean
- Bell Pepper
- Black Beans
- Cactus (Nopales)
- Calypso Beans
- Canary Bean
- Chile de Árbol
- Chile Pasilla (Pasilla Chile)
- Flor de Mayo
- Garbanzo Bean
- Guajillo Chile
- Habanero Pepper
- Jalapeño Pepper
- Lechuga (Lettuce)
- Moro (Black-Eyed Pea)
- Onion (Cebolla)
- Peruano Pepper
- Pinto Bean
- Poblano Pepper
- Purple Corn
- Sangre de Toro (Kidney Beans)
- Serrano Pepper
- Tomate (Tomato)
- Vaquita Roja (Red and White Bean)
Origin and Flavor: Alberjón is also known as “guisante de nieve” in Spanish, which translates to “snow pea.” They have a crisp and sweet flavor with a mild pea taste. The pods are tender and edible.
Uses: Alberjón is commonly used in Mexican cuisines like tamales and tlacoyos. Its edible pods are often enjoyed raw as a crunchy snack or added to salads for a burst of sweetness. It’s a versatile vegetable that adds both flavor and texture to cooking.
Origin and Flavor: Amarillo peppers are known as “chile amarillo” in Spanish. The word “amarillo” translates to “yellow” in Spanish, but the peppers can range from pale yellow to orange when ripe. They have a moderately spicy and fruity flavor with a hint of citrusy notes.
Uses: Amarillo peppers are used to add flavor and heat to various Mexican dishes. They can be roasted, chopped, or blended into sauces, salsas, and marinades. They are also commonly used in traditional dishes like “chiles en nogada,” where the peppers are stuffed with a mixture of meats and fruits and topped with a walnut-based sauce.
These types of peppers are an essential component in many Mexican dishes, contributing not only heat but also a distinct fruity flavor. They are often used alongside other chili peppers to create balanced and complex flavors in Mexican cuisine.
Ancho Chile Pepper
Origin and Flavor: Ancho peppers are the dried form of poblano peppers. The word “ancho” itself means “wide” in Spanish, which refers to the flattened, heart-shaped appearance of the dried peppers.They have a rich, slightly sweet, and smoky flavor with mild to moderate heat. They are often described as having fruity undertones.
Uses: Ancho chiles are commonly used in Mexican cuisine to add depth of flavor and a touch of heat to various dishes. They are often rehydrated and blended into sauces, such as mole, enchilada sauce, and adobo. Ancho peppers are also used in stews, soups, and meat marinades.
Origin and Flavor: Avocado is commonly referred to as “aguacate” in Mexican Spanish. The avocado is native to Mexico and has been cultivated there for thousands of years. Avocado has a creamy, buttery texture and a mild, nutty flavor.
Uses: Avocado is a versatile ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Its super power, of course, is being mashed into guacamole, a popular dip made with avocados, lime juice, onions, cilantro, and other seasonings. Sliced avocado is also used as a topping for various dishes like tacos, tostadas, and soups. In some regions of Mexico, avocado is even used in sweet dishes like ice cream.
Nutrition Information: It’s not just a delicious fruit, but avocado is also a nutrient-dense food, rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Ayocote Morado (Purple Runner Beans)
Origin: These are purple beans related to kidney beans, but a bit smaller. Ayocote morado is sometimes referred to simply as morado beans or purple runner beans. Ayocote morado beans are native to Mexico and have been cultivated by indigenous peoples for centuries. They are part of Mexico’s culinary heritage and are cherished for their contribution to traditional dishes.
Flavor: These beans have a mild, nutty flavor and a slightly starchy texture. The deep purple color of the beans adds visual appeal to the dishes they’re used in.
Uses: Ayocote morado is often used in traditional Mexican dishes like stews, soups, and refried beans. They hold their shape well when cooked and are valued for their rich flavor and color. The beans are also sometimes used in salads or as a side dish.
Flavor: Bayo Beans have a creamy, buttery texture and a slightly nutty flavor. They have a distinctive pale yellow color when cooked, which sets them apart from other bean varieties.
Uses: One of the reasons bayo beans are popular in traditional Mexican cooking is their ability to absorb flavors well, making them excellent for absorbing the spices and seasonings often used in Mexican cuisine.
Origin and Flavor: Sometimes referred to as “betabel”, beets have a mildly sweet and earthy flavor with a tender texture. They did not originate in Mexico. They are native to areas around the Mediterranean sea, and were probably first cultivated in Ancient Egypt. They are, however, commonly used in Mexico especially around Christmas.
Uses: In Mexico, pickled beets are sometimes added to traditional dishes like tacos or used as a topping for tostadas. Additionally, the leaves of the beet plant, known as “betabel greens” or “acelgas,” are also consumed as a leafy green vegetable in Mexican cooking.
Origin: Bell peppers are commonly known as “pimiento morrón” or simply “pimiento” in Mexico. Many peppers are native to Mexico, but the bell pepper isn’t one of them. Peppers were taken back to Europe by Christopher Columbus on one of his several voyages, and became popular there.
Bell peppers were developed in Europe and brought to North America in the early 19th Century. Today the world’s largest producer of bell peppers is China, but we are still going to include these as a Mexican vegetable because we can’t make fajitas without them. Personally, I tend to stack them so high in fajitas that I can’t fold over the tortilla!
Flavor: Bell peppers have a sweet and slightly tangy flavor, and their flavor can vary slightly based on the color which is generally green, red, yellow, or orange. There are, however, also purple, white, brown, and stripped bell peppers. They are one of the few peppers with no spiciness. This is known as a Schiller Heat Unit rating of zero.
Uses: For our money, the best use of bell peppers, not just in Mexican cuisine, is in fajitas. That said, they are great in chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers), salsas, and stir-fries. Their vibrant colors and crisp texture make them a versatile ingredient in both cooked and raw preparations.
Origin: Also known as Frijoles Negros, they have a dense, earthy flavor with a slightly creamy texture when cooked. Black beans are native to Central and South America, and were eaten by indigenous people over 7,000 years ago.
Uses: Black beans are a staple in Mexican cuisine, and refried beans may be their most popular use. In short, the beans are cooked, mashed, and then fried. Black beans are also used in burritos, refried beans, enchiladas, tacos, and bean soup.
Nutrition Information: Black beans are not only delicious but also highly nutritious. They are a good source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.
Flavor: Nopales have a mild, slightly tart and tangy flavor with a crunchy texture, similar to green beans or okra.
Uses: Nopales are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine and are often used in salads, stews, and side dishes. They can be grilled, sautéed, or boiled and used in tacos, scrambled eggs, or even blended into sauces and salsas.
Nutrition Information: Nopales are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are known for their potential health benefits, such as helping to regulate blood sugar levels and aiding digestion.
Origin: Also known as Mexican Squash or West Indian Pumpkin, calabaza has a sweet and nutty flavor, similar to butternut squash. Squash are native to Central and South America, and have grown in Mexico for thousands of years.
Flavor: Calabaza is used in a variety of Mexican dishes, including soups, stews, and even desserts. It can be roasted, sautéed, mashed, or pureed. One popular dish is “Calabaza en Tacha,” which is candied calabaza often enjoyed during the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration.
Uses: Calabaza is a versatile ingredient and is used in both savory and sweet dishes. It’s a staple in Mexican cuisine and is often paired with other ingredients like cinnamon, brown sugar, and piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar) to create unique flavors.
Origin: Also called Frijoles Calypso, Yin Yang Beans, or Orca Beans, calypso beans have a creamy texture and a mild, nutty flavor. They originated as a hybrid of kidney beans in the Caribbean about 400 years ago. The unique black and white markings on Calypso beans resemble the yin and yang symbols, which is how they got their alternate name “Yin Yang Beans.” They are not only tasty but also visually appealing, making them a popular choice for both cooking and decorative purposes.
Uses: These beans are commonly used in traditional Mexican dishes such as soups, stews, and refried beans. They are a good bean to use in any beans and rice recipe, and hold their shape well when cooked. They are also a great addition to salads or as a side dish.
Flavor: Canary beans have a mild, creamy flavor and a slightly starchy texture, and are often used in soups, stews, and refried bean dishes.
Uses: They’re a staple in Mexican cuisine and are prized for their smooth consistency and ability to absorb flavors well.
Origin and Flavor: Sometimes known as the vegetable pear, mirliton, or choko, the chayote is native to Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Chayotes have a mild, slightly crisp texture similar to a cross between a cucumber and a potato. Its flavor is subtle and often described as a mix between zucchini and pear, with a hint of cucumber.
Uses: Chayote is used in a variety of Mexican dishes, including soups, stews, salads, and side dishes. It can be cooked or eaten raw. It is also sometimes used as a filling for enchiladas or added to salsas for a refreshing crunch.
Chile de Árbol
Origin and Flavor: Sometimes called the bird’s beak chile, it is known for its fiery heat and a bright, slightly smoky flavor. The heat level can vary, but generally, it’s quite spicy. The Shiller Heat Unit (SHU) score is 15,000-30,000. If you aren’t familiar with the SHU ratings, this puts it several times hotter than Jalapenos. You can learn more about the SHU and other hot peppers here.
Uses: These chilies are often used to make spicy salsas, sauces, and marinades. They can also be dried and ground into a powdered spice to add heat and flavor to dishes. They are a staple in many Mexican recipes that require a kick of spiciness.
Chile Pasilla (Pasilla Chile)
Origin and Flavor: This chile is known as Pasilla Bajio (when fresh) and chile negro (when dried). Pasilla chiles have a rich, smoky, and complex flavor with fruity undertones. They are mildly spicy, and their heat level is significantly lower than that of many other peppersl with an SHU of 250-2500.
Uses: Pasilla chiles are often used in sauces, moles, and stews to add depth of flavor and a touch of mild heat. They are commonly dried and rehydrated before use, and their versatility makes them a key ingredient in various traditional Mexican dishes.
The name “pasilla” translates to “little raisin” in Spanish, which references the chile’s dark color and wrinkled appearance when dried. Pasilla chiles are an essential component of the “holy trinity” of chiles used in traditional mole sauces, along with ancho and mulato chiles.
Origin: Chiles can have a wide range of flavors, from mild and slightly sweet to intensely spicy and earthy. The flavor depends on the type of chile, ranging from fruity to smoky to citrusy.
Uses: Chiles are a fundamental ingredient in Mexican cuisine, used to add heat, flavor, and depth to dishes. They are used in salsas, moles, sauces, stews, and even in beverages like Micheladas. They can be dried, roasted, pickled, or used fresh.
A bit on the names chile & pepper. When Spaniards arrived in the “New World” chiles were a whole new thing to them. They took the name directly from Nahuatl (the language spoken by the Aztecs). Spaniards decided the word “chili” would mean “hot pepper,” because it reminded them of the spicy flavor of black pepper, which had been used in Europe for centuries.
Origin: Chipotles are smoke-dried ripe jalapeño chili peppers used for seasoning, often referred to as “smoked chiles” due to the process by which they are prepared.
Flavor: Chipotles are typically smoky and have a moderate level of heat. They also have a unique depth of flavor due to the smoking process. The name “chipotle” comes from the Nahuatl word “chilpoctli,” which means “smoked chili.”
Uses: Chipotles are usually sold in canned adobo sauce. They are used to flavor dishes like chili, salsas, marinades, and soups. They add a rich smokiness and a touch of heat to your cooking.
Flavor: Corn is known as maíze in Mexico, and is well known for its naturally sweet and earthy flavor. It has been a staple in the diets of people across the Americas for thousands of years, and remains a large part of Mexican cuisine.
Uses: Corn is used to make tortillas, tamales, pozole, and many other dishes. It can be eaten on the cob, roasted, grilled, or ground into masa (dough) to make tortillas and other maize-based dishes.
Origin: It seems like we are cheating by putting cucumbers on the list of Mexican vegetables as they are neither native to Mexico nor vegetables. Cucumbers originated in India, but are today grown around the world to include in Mexico. They are also technically fruits, but we use them in the kitchen like vegetables.
Uses: Cucumbers certainly have a place in Mexican cuisine to include in pepinos con chile, a popular Mexican cucumber snack or street food that translates to “cucumbers with chili”. It is a simple yet delicious dish made with sliced cucumbers seasoned with chili powder, lime juice, and salt.
Origin and Flavor: Also known as green beans or string beans, they are native to Central and South America. Known for their mild, slightly sweet and earthy flavor with a crisp texture, they definitely have their place in Mexican cuisine.
Uses: They can be included in stews like “caldo de ejotes,” in salads, and as a side dish to complement main courses. They are also sometimes included in traditional dishes like “chiles en nogada,” which are stuffed poblano peppers or in ejote a la Mexican (Mexican style green beans)
Origin and Flavor: Also known as Mexican tea, it is an important herb in Mexican cooking, especially bean dishes. Epazote has a strong, pungent flavor with citrus and earthy undertones. Some describe its flavor as a combination of oregano, anise, and mint.
Uses: Epzote is believed to help reduce the gas-producing effects of beans. It’s used in dishes like “frijoles de la olla,” a traditional bean stew, and “quesadillas de flor de calabaza con epazote,” where it’s combined with squash blossoms in quesadillas.
Flor de Mayo
Origin and Flavor: You may see this called mayflower, Mayan dayflower, or commelina diffusa. Flor de Mayo is a type of edible flowering plant, and its delicate blue petals are used in various culinary applications. The flavor of flor de Mayo is mild and slightly sweet, and it is often used in traditional Mexican dishes, particularly in the Yucatan region.
Uses: It’s often added to soups, stews, and salads. It’s known for its use in dishes like “sopa de lima,” a Yucatecan lime soup, in which the petals are added for both flavor and color.
Origin: Also known as chickpeas, they are not native to Mexico. Their origin appears to be out of Europe over 5,000 years ago. Mexico is, however, one of the world’s top 10 producers of chickpeas today. Garbanzo beans have a nutty and earthy flavor with a slightly starchy texture.
Uses: Garbanzo beans have a lot of uses in Mexican cuisine. They are popular in Sopa de Garbanzos, a chickpea soup often made with a tomato-based broth, vegetables, and sometimes chunks of meat. You might also try Ensalada de Garbanzos a chickpea salad made with cooked chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and spices, or perhaps Tacos de Garbanzos.
Chickpeas are not only used in savory dishes but are also used to make sweet treats like garbanzo bean fudge, known as “dulce de garbanzo.” The uses for chickpeas beyond Mexican cuisine is also pretty impressive.
Origin: Guajillo chiles are a popular type of dried chili peppers in Mexico. They are noted for their deep red color, and are one of the most commonly used chiles in Mexican cooking. The name “guajillo” is derived from the Aztec word “huaxin,” which meant “wet” or “drenched,” likely referring to the chile’s vibrant red color and juicy appearance.
Flavor: Guajillo chiles are known for their moderately spicy and slightly sweet flavor. They have a mild to moderate heat level, often described as smoky and tangy with hints of green tea and berries. Their Shiller Heat Unit (SHU) score of 2,500 to 5,000 puts them just a bit milder than Jalapenos.
Uses: Guajillo chiles are widely used in Mexican cuisine, especially in sauces, salsas, and stews. They are often toasted and soaked before being blended into sauces like adobo or enchilada sauce. Guajillo chiles are also used in marinades for meats and poultry. When buying guajillos look for peppers that feel firm but not too tough.
Origin: Habaneros are referred to as “habaños” in Mexico. The habanero pepper is native to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and has become one of the most well-known and widely cultivated chili peppers in the world. It was named after the Cuban city of La Habana (Havana) though it originated nowhere near Cuba.
Flavor: They are extremely spicy, known for their intense heat and fruity, tropical flavor. They can range from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the Scoville scale, making them one of the hottest chili peppers. Despite its heat, the habanero’s unique fruity and citrusy flavor has made it a sought-after ingredient in various cuisines globally.
Uses: Habanero peppers are used to add heat and flavor to salsas, marinades, and sauces. They are also used to make the famous “salsas de habanero,” which are condiments that accompany a variety of dishes. Additionally, they can be pickled or added to soups and stews to infuse them with their fiery flavor.
Origin and Flavor: Also known as Aztec broccoli, huauzontle has a mild, earthy flavor with a slight bitterness, somewhat reminiscent of spinach or chard. Huauzontle is a traditional Mesoamerican crop that has been cultivated for centuries. It was a staple in Aztec cuisine and remains popular in Mexican cooking today. The plant’s clusters of small green flowers, often referred to as “chayotes,” are harvested for their edible parts.
Uses: Huauzontle is often used in traditional Mexican dishes like soups, stews, and casseroles. The tender young shoots and leaves are commonly used in dishes like “huauzontle en caldillo,” which is a soup made with a tomato-based sauce. The plant’s edible flower clusters are sometimes battered and fried, similar to tempura, and served as a side dish or appetizer.
Origin: Also known as corn smut or Mexican truffle, huitalacoche is a type of fungus that infects maize (corn) plants. It forms distinctive black or grayish galls on the ears of corn.
Flavor and Uses: Despite its unusual appearance, huitalacoche has been consumed in Mexico for centuries, and it’s often used in quesadillas, tamales, and soups. It has a unique earthy, smoky, and slightly sweet flavor that adds depth to cooking.
Origin: The name “jalapeño” is derived from the city of Xalapa (sometimes spelled Jalapa) in Veracruz. The jalapeño pepper is a medium-sized chili pepper, usually green when young and maturing to red or orange. It has a slightly wrinkled appearance and a medium to high level of spiciness.
Flavor: This is the first pepper that for most people starts getting “hot”. As the SHU rating (1000-8000) suggests, there is a pretty wide range of heat here.
Uses: The jalapeno is one of the most commonly used peppers in cooking and is a great add to blender salsas, vegetarian chilis, or try it stuffed with cheese in the form of these vegetarian jalapeno poppers! This may not be a Mexican recipe, but they sure are good.
Origin and Flavor: Jicama, also known as the Mexican yam bean or Mexican turnip, is a root vegetable with a rough, brown outer skin and crisp, juicy, white flesh inside. Jicama is very low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, making it a healthy addition to dishes. Its mild, slightly sweet flavor and crisp texture make it a versatile ingredient.
Uses: Jicama is commonly enjoyed raw in Mexican cuisine. It’s often sliced into thin sticks or rounds and served with lime juice and chili powder as a refreshing and crunchy snack.
Origin and Uses: Lettuce is native to both North America and Mexico. It forms the base for Mexican salads to include, of course, the popular US taco salad. It is also used in Mexican sandwiches (tortas) and tacos.
Moro (Black-Eyed Pea)
Origin and Flavor: In Mexico, black-eyed peas are often called Moro or Ojo de Venado, which translates to “deer eye.” Black-eyed peas have a slightly nutty and earthy flavor with a creamy texture when cooked.
Uses: Moro is commonly used in traditional dishes like “Sopa de Ojo” (black-eyed pea soup), and it can also be found in stews, salads, and sometimes even incorporated into tamales or fillings for tacos.
Origin: Mushrooms have been an important part of Mexican cooking since before the Spanish arrived. One of the most noteworthy forms of fungus in Mexican cuisine is the huitlacoche that grows on corn and is used in some specialized Mexican cuisine. Check out the huitlacohe’s entry above.
Uses: More common mushrooms are also used in Mexican cooking like sauteed mushrooms as a popular filling for griddled quesadillas and corn empanadas in central Mexico.
Origin and Flavor: Also known as prickly pear cactus pads, nopalitos have a mild, slightly tart flavor with a texture that’s somewhat slimy when cooked. The taste is often compared to a mix between green beans and green peppers.
Uses: Nopalitos are widely used in Mexican cuisine and are considered a traditional ingredient used before the Spanish arrived in Mexico. They are commonly prepared by cleaning and removing the thorns, then either grilled, boiled, sautéed, or pickled. They can be used in a variety of dishes, such as salads, tacos, stews, and scrambled eggs.
They add a unique texture and flavor to the dishes they are used in. The sliminess of nopalitos can be reduced by cooking them or marinating them with acidic ingredients like lime juice.
Origin and Flavor: Onions are well known for their pungent and slightly sweet flavor when cooked. Their flavor intensity varies between the many varieties.
Uses: Onions are a staple in many cuisines around the world. In Mexican cuisine, they are often used to provide flavor to a wide variety of dishes to include fajitas, guacamole, salsas, and a host of others normally grilled or sauteed. Though not a hard rule, white onions are generally used in cooked cuisine and red onions in raw like salads or guac.
Origin and Flavor: Peruanos are also known as the Peruvian yellow pepper or Aji peruano amarillo. They have a moderate to high level of heat, ranging from around 5,000 to 15,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) which is a bit hotter than jalapenos. They are also sweeter and less spicy than some other chili peppers.
Uses: Peruano peppers are often used to make various sauces, such as the popular “Aji Amarillo” sauce. This sauce is a staple in Peruvian and some Mexican cuisines, used to add flavor and a hint of heat to dishes like ceviche, stews, and grilled meats.
Origin and Flavor: The name “pinto” means “painted” in Spanish, referring to the mottled appearance of the bean’s skin. Pinto beans have a creamy texture and a slightly earthy, nutty flavor, and are a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine.
Uses: They are commonly used in dishes like refried beans, burritos, enchiladas, and soups. They can also be served as a side dish or as a filling for tacos.They are also often mixed with rice and corn flour to make posole.
Nutritional Information: Pinto beans are a good source of protein, dietary fiber, and essential nutrients, making them a nutritious addition to meals.
Origin: Poblano are also used to make the dish “Chiles en Nogada,” which is a festive Mexican dish typically served during Independence Day celebrations. The colors of the dish (green, white, and red) represent the Mexican flag.
Flavor: Poblano peppers have a mild to medium level of heat, usually lower than jalapeños. They have a rich, slightly sweet flavor with earthy undertones.
Uses: Poblano peppers are a versatile ingredient in Mexican cuisine. They are often roasted and used to make dishes like chiles rellenos, where the roasted pepper is stuffed with cheese, meat, or other fillings.
Poblano peppers are one of the key ingredients in the famous dish “mole poblano,” a complex sauce that includes ingredients like chocolate, spices, and various types of chili peppers. When dried, poblano peppers are known as “ancho” peppers, which are used to make chili powder.
Origin and Uses: We don’t normally associate the potato with Mexico, but they have been cultivated in Mexico since the Spanish introduced them in the 16th Century. They are, of course, used in soups and stews, but also some gordita and burrito recipes, often deep fried.
Origin: We believe that pumpkins originated in North America about 9000 years ago, and ancient pumpkin seeds, estimated to be 7-9,000 years old, have been found in Mexico.
Uses: Pumpkin is commonly used in Mexican cuisine to make dishes like “calabaza en tacha,” which is a candied pumpkin dish often served during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. It’s also used to make soups, stews, and fillings for tacos and tamales.
Pumpkin seeds, known as “pepitas,” are a popular snack and also used as a topping for various dishes. If that isn’t enough, the flowers of the pumpkin plant, known as “flores de calabaza,” are also edible and commonly used in Mexican cuisine, often battered and fried.
Origin: Purple corn, known as “maíz morado” in Spanish, is an ancient variety of maize that has been cultivated in the Andean region for centuries. The deep purple color of the corn is due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that also give other purple and blue fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors.
Uses: Purple corn is used to make traditional Mexican drinks like “chicha morada,” a sweet and refreshing beverage made from purple corn, fruits, and spices. Pasilla chiles are dried versions of the chilaca pepper and are commonly used in mole sauces, which are a hallmark of Mexican cuisine.
Origin: Quelites refer to various edible wild greens and herbs commonly used in Mexican cooking. Quelites can include a wide variety of plants, such as amaranth leaves, purslane, lamb’s quarters, and more.
Uses: They are often sautéed with garlic and onion, used in soups, added to tamales, or used as a filling for quesadillas and tacos.
Sangre de Toro (Kidney Beans)
Origin: Also known as frijol sangre de toro or red kidney beans, they are native to Peru. They are part of a larger group known as common beans, and likely go back 9,000 years. They spread across South and Central America with the migration of native people, and today are an integral part of Mexican cuisine. The name “Sangre de Toro” translates to “Blood of the Bull” in English, referring to their dark red color.
Flavor and Uses: Kidney beans have a rich, hearty flavor with a slightly starchy and earthy taste, and are used in dishes like frijoles refritos (refried beans), soups, stews, and salads. They are often cooked with various spices and herbs to create flavorful dishes.
Origin: Also called chile serrano, these peppers are known for their bright, fiery heat and vibrant flavor. Serranos are from the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. Their name comes from the Sierras Mountains in those regions.
Flavor:The Scoville Heat Scale (SHU) measures the spiciness of peppers, and Serrano peppers typically range between 10,000 to 25,000 SHUs. So, they can actually be a good bit hotter than jalapenos though their heat level will vary based on growing conditions and maturity.
Uses: Though hotter than Jalapenos, they are often eaten raw, but also used in pico de gallo, salsa, and chili. They are one of the most popular peppers in Mexican recipes.
Origin: Tomatoes are native to the Andes Mountains of South America where they grew wild in what is now Peru and Ecuador. We believe, however, they were first cultivated in Mexico well before the Spanish came.
The name is derived from the Aztec word tomatl. Early domesticated tomatoes appear to have been small and yellow, but over time growers bred them into the huge variety of tomatoes we know today that can be red, green, yellow, orange, or even purple when ripe.
Uses: Tomatoes are a staple in Mexican cuisine, and are used in a wide variety of dishes. They are essential for making salsa, guacamole, and pico de gallo. They are also used in stews, sauces (such as mole), and various meat and vegetable dishes.
Origin and Flavor: Tomatillos are also known as tomate verde in Mexico, which translates to “green tomato.” Tomatillos have a tart and slightly citrusy flavor, which sets them apart from regular tomatoes. They are often described as having a more herbal and tangy taste.
Uses: Tomatillos are a key ingredient in many Mexican green sauces particularly salsa verde. They can be used to make tangy and flavorful sauces for dishes like enchiladas, chilaquiles, and tamales.
Vaquita Roja (Red and White Bean)
Origin and Flavor: Vaquita beans are also known as “Vaquita Roja” in Spanish, and they are sometimes simply referred to as red and white beans. The name “vaquita” means “little cow” in Spanish, possibly referring to the spots on the beans that resemble a cow’s hide. Vaquita beans have a mild, nutty flavor with a slightly creamy texture when cooked.
Uses: These beans are commonly used in various Mexican dishes, such as soups, stews, and refried beans. They are a staple ingredient in many traditional Mexican recipes, and are a popular choice for making “frijoles de olla,” which are slow-cooked beans seasoned with herbs and spices.
Origin: Zucchini are commonly known as “calabacitas” in Mexico. Okay, we have two admissions in this last entry. Zucchini are neither Mexican nor vegetables. The humble zucchini is a summer squash, and squash as a family are most definitely Mexican (well really most of the Americas). Squash were taken back to Europe by Christopher Columbus and became popular there. The modern zucchini was developed in Italy and returned to North America in the 1920s.
Flavor and Uses: Zucchini has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a tender texture when cooked. Calabacita is used in a variety of Mexican dishes, such as soups, stews, and vegetable side dishes. It’s often sautéed, grilled, or added to dishes like “calabacitas con elote,” which is a dish made with zucchini, corn, and other ingredients. Zucchini is also a key ingredient in “rajas con calabacitas,” a dish that combines strips of roasted poblano peppers with zucchini.
Well that wraps up our list of 50 Mexican Vegetables. We hope you found the Mexican vegetable you were looking for, even if it is native to some other distant land. As always, happy cooking from your friends at Live Eat Learn.
The Answer is B – chimichangas which are believed to have been introduced in Arizona.