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4 Unusual Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

by Taylor Miller

Tags: Recipes, Cooking, Cinco de Mayo, Taylor Miller, The Garden Gnome, Holidays,


The fifth of May, or Cinco de Mayo, is traditionally celebrated in the Mexican state of Puebla. It is a commemoration of Mexico’s defeat of French forces in its 1862 war toward gaining independence (not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16).

The date has become a celebration of Mexican culture worldwide, often jubilated with traditional Mexican dishes, which feature some fun and flavorful herbs, and is a cherished part of my life as a Spanish-speaker and, let's face it, as a future-crazy-Spanish-teacher!

To celebrate, I’ve gone and scanned the InterWebs to find four great, unusual recipes that my friends and I can enjoy using some of the herbs growing in my garden!

Cinco de Mayo 2008... PAD #1123 by BenSpark.
Photo by BenSpark/Courtesy Flickr 

1. Cilantro is used often in Mexican dishes as the perfect tangy offset to its strong, spicy components. I planted my cilantro a little too early in the season, but it started coming back last week with a vengeance! 

Try this recipe for Black Bean Salsa With Cilantro, courtesy of

2. Featuring a less common herb, epazote, these authentic Mayan tortillas are stuffed with a hard-boiled egg filling covered with a pumpkin-seed sauce. Sounds wild, right? I also discovered last fall while making a cheese plate for work, that the biting, spicy flavor of epazote tastes great sandwiching a slice of white cheese; I used Manchego.

Try this recipe for Papadzules, courtesy of  

3. An important dessert herb in Mexican cooking is what is known regionally as la hierba buena (yerba buena), which we often call wild spearmint, the perfect ingredient in a fabulous mojito, and a great companion to my party dishes.

Try this recipe for Mint Mojitos, courtesy of      

4. I also found a strange dessert, that really has no mention of herbs, but sounded so fantastic I felt compelled to include it! To make it even tastier, add a bit of chocolate mint to the recipe to give it that extra herbal kick.

Try this recipe for Chocolate Banana Burritos, courtesy of

Wow, yum. Stomach pangs. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat. But, in the mean time, if you've got a gardening question, I've got your answer! Shoot an email over to, and I'll try to answer it on the site!