<!–googleoff: index–>Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.<!–googleon: index–>
Taco Tuesday is a fairly commonly seen type of deal in bars or a pretext for an early week treat for the family. This works great as taco night is sure to go down a treat with pretty much everyone since if you host a taco bar party all those eating will be able to choose their favourite taco toppings to truly make the meal their own. However, if you’ve never assembled one before, you may be unsure what to serve with a taco bar. If so, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered.
Table of Contents
What Are Tacos?
For those who are unaware tacos are simply a small tortilla that is roughly hand sized that is wrapped around a filling before being eaten. Often they will be kept soft and folded by hand around said filling. However, they can also be folded into a U shape and baked until hard and crunchy/crispy.
Commonly the fillings for tacos will typically primarily consist of some sort of taco meat. This can vary but will often be deliciously seasoned ground beef, pork, chicken or fish seasoned in taco seasoning. These will then be paired with shredded lettuce, fresh lime juice, melted or grated cheese, sweet onions/green onion, peppers, diced tomatoes and an assortment of dips.
The result of this is a dish that is truly a party in your mouth with the assortment of different textures and tastes that can be found within the tacos. Of course, though the above-mentioned ingredients are truly just the tip of the iceberg since tacos are truly at their best when served with a great side dish or two.
What Goes With Tacos?
When deciding what to serve with tacos there are a wide array of options that are available for you to choose from. Each of which will make for a truly delicious dish. Truly when it comes to Mexican food the beauty of it is how versatile it is and how much it enjoys strong flavours.
As such, when deciding on sides for your tacos you should strive to pick options that both contrast with and reflect the diverse traits already found within the core dish. That said though, you should always keep the ingredients of your main dish in mind when picking your side dish choices, as they should always be complementary to the main event.
What To Serve With A Taco Bar
With the above information in mind, you may already have some ideas forming for accompaniment ideas for your salad bar. Equally though, you may find yourself at something of a loss when it comes to thinking of taco bar ideas. Fortunately though, just like with sides for enchiladas, accompaniments for fajitas or extras for chili, there are a wide array of options available to you. Some great examples of which include the following:
- Refried Beans
- Creamy Guacamole
- Tortilla Chips
- Mexican Coleslaw
- Mexican Street Corn
- Corn Pudding
- Black Beans
For a choice that can work perfectly as either a side dish or a dip for your tacos refried beans are a wonderful choice. Despite, what you may think because of the name these aren’t beans that you fry multiple times. in fact, they are pinto beans that are first boiled and mashed and then fried with cheese and an assortment of seasonings.
The result of cooking the pinto beans in this manner is a dish with a texture that is wonderfully creamy, plump and tender. The fried beans will also bring even more diversity in terms of flavours to the overall dining experience. Primarily these tastes will be sweet and earthy, with the addition of cheese bringing extra sharpness and creaminess.
When paired with tacos, a wonderful balance of flavours and textures will blend interact in a way where they contrast and reflect in the most delicious way possible. For instance, the cheese in both will harmonise perfectly, meanwhile, the sweet beans contrast spicy peppers and seasoned mince beef as does the creamy texture.
On the theme of the dipping sides, another great pairing for your tacos is of course some guacamole. Honestly, the combination of guacamole and any Mexican dish will make for a sublime combination. However, with tacos, this is especially true.
The reason that this combination works so well though is because the cheesy, tangy, crunchy and meaty aspects of your main meal will be contrasted wonderfully by the cool rich and creamy guacamole. Additionally, the guacamole will also add a light amount of tartness extra freshness and richness to the overall meal.
Of course, the temptation to use a store-bought pack due to convenience when serving guacamole with your taco bar will be there. However, you should resist this urge as homemade guacamole is guaranteed to be more delicious. Additionally, it will also be satisfying and incredibly simple to make. To make your own guacamole, simply mix a combination of ripe avocados, lime juice, white onion, fresh Roma tomatoes and cilantro and mash them together until nice and smooth
In a similar vein to the prior two options, a wonderful topping or dip for your delicious tacos is of course some salsa. Of course, most people will mainly associate salsa with classic tomato variation or only be aware of that type of salsa full stop. Now of course this variety goes great with tacos as do an assortment of other saucy salsa options such as mango salsa or green salsa (also known as salsa verde). These provide some fresh zestiness along with some extra moisture to the meal.
However, other less saucy salsa options also make for great choices for pairing with tacos such as pico de Gallo salsa. This is brilliantly simple to make and delicious homemade salsa that simply combines onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, lime, and fresh cilantro. Each component plays wonderfully off the textures and taste found in your main with the result being a side that is wonderfully zesty, flavourful and refreshing.
No matter the type you choose though salsa will always make for a perfect side dish choice for your tacos thanks to the cool, light and refreshing tastes and textures it adds. Of course, each being traits that will brilliantly contrast with those found in your main dish.
An excellent choice for Mexican style chips (or crisp in the UK) to serve with your tacos is of course some delicious tortilla chips. The reason for this is that they can add a deliciously crispy crunch texture and a slight light corn taste to your meal. This contrasts in particular with soft-shelled tacos brilliantly. Meanwhile, it can bring a sense of synergy and cohesion when serving hard-shelled ones.
When tortilla chips are combined with the two prior options they can bring even more tastes and textures to your taco meal. Both tacos and tortilla chips pair perfectly with guacamole and salsa, along with potentially some sour cream and queso dip. As such having some of each along with some dips makes for an excellent pairing of dishes,
By making a full-blown nacho dish, this can even be taken a step further. To accomplish this, simply add even more toppings to tortilla chips. Some possible examples of which may include the sauces mentioned above, along with cheese, jalapenos for extra spiciness or alternatively some extra meat. Truly though the beauty of this direction is that a plate nachos works perfectly whether you wish to make a light appetizer or a rich and hearty feast with two main dishes.
Somewhat similar to the type of coleslaw found in America and Europe, Mexican coleslaw has the same premise of raw crunchy veggies in a dressing. The average coleslaw will add extra creaminess to the dish with the use of mayonnaise. However, with Mexican coleslaw, this is not the case.
Mexican coleslaw will instead of using mayonnaise will instead incorporate some fresh cilantro along with some tangy apple cider vinegar into its dressing. This makes the coleslaw more light and refreshing and light instead of creamy and therefore dramatically alters the nature of the dish. Mexican coleslaw will also incorporate a much more diverse array of ingredients, flavours and tastes. Such ingredients include things like jalapeno, black beans, avocado, corn, red onions, and cumin.
Mexican coleslaw dish provides an excellent contrast to your main taco dish. This mainly being accomplished via the wonderful crunch and refreshing air that the slaw adds to an otherwise somewhat hearty meal.
Similarly to the Mexican coleslaw outlined above, some simple salad works excellently as a pairing for your tacos. Like with coleslaw some taco salad will be adding some freshness, zesty flavours and crunch to your dish. However, salad is something of a vague term as many different options can come under the umbrella of salad.
Of course, you may want to keep things simple, a classic green salad. Naturally, this makes for an excellent choice to add some crunch and fresh flavour. However, there are an assortment of other options that work even better.
A particularly excellent option is to serve a pepper salad, made primarily from chilli peppers and bell peppers adds that extra bit of spice to the meal. In order to make this, combine red, yellow and green peppers along with some red onion. Then make dressing consisting of minced garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and either red wine or champagne. This will result in an option that is not only flavourful but also quite healthy.
Meanwhile, you can also serve some Mexican sweet potato salad alongside your tacos. This salad as you may be able to guess revolves around sweet potatoes. That said though this option also mixes in a large amount of corn. Additionally, it will then be topped with a fresh cilantro dressing along with some hearty black bean salsa. The result is that it adds some delicious crunchy texture and sweet tastes along with some zest from the dressing and salsa. All of which wonderfully contrast with the flavours found in your enchiladas.
Speaking of corn though, another iconic option is Mexican street corn salad. This simple salad is deliciously bold and varied in terms of taste and texture. To make it, simply mix some corn with diced red onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and fresh cilantro. Following this, combine it with a dressing made from sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice and an assortment of seasonings. Then finally mix in a generous amount of cotija cheese, or if you can’t find it crumbles feta or parmesan will do.
Mexican Street Corn
Speaking of corn and Mexican street corn in particular, an excellent idea when serving tacos as your dish is to accompany it with some grilled corn on the cob. Doing so adds some extra smoky flavour alongside the sweet tastes and soft but slightly crunchy texture. However, to make it even more interesting, why not turn it into some Mexican street corn.
Mexican street corn (or elote corn as it is also known) is essentially grilled corn that has been slathered with a mixture that consists of lime juice, cotija cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and chili powder. As a result of which this corn on the cobb based dish becomes wonderfully creamy, spicy, cheesy and zesty, in addition to being brilliantly sweet and smokey.
When paired with tacos, these add a variety of flavours that both mirror and contrast those of your main dish. As such they make for a phenomenal pairing. Additionally, like tacos and the aforementioned tortilla chips, this option is also excellent finger food. Meaning that if that type of meal is what you’re after then this makes for an excellent choice.
Sticking to the corn theme though, another excellent option is of course to serve your tacos alongside some deliciously sweet corn pudding. This dish is often compared to and sometimes mistaken for a corn casserole, however, they are very much distinct from one another. This can most obviously be seen with how corn pudding is typically much smoother and creamier than a corn casserole. In fact, corn pudding is often considered to be closer to a thick custard in texture than anything else.
The beauty with this dish though is that it is quite simple to make with it only consisting of the core ingredients of corn and egg. However, other ingredients will often be added to it such as vanilla extract, sugar or nutmeg for flavouring. Meanwhile, corn starch may also be used to thicken it up somewhat.
The result is a side dish that will perfectly pair with near enough any Mexican main dish and can be served either hot or cold making it extra versatile. With tacos though, it is particularly delicious though as it adds some distinctly thick by a creamy texture that will contrast perfectly with either hard or soft shelled tacos. Additionally, sweet variations of corn pudding will contrast in a yummy way with the savoury and spicy ingredients. Meanwhile less sweet varieties will play well with the zesty and sweeter ingredients used in your main dish.
A list of sides for Mexican dishes like tacos would of course not be complete with if failed to recommend that you serve a side portion of rice with your main. The brilliant part of using this incredibly versatile dish though is that rice is extremely customisable as far as sides go. As such, they can be made in a way that imbues them with simple flavours or more complex ones.
For the simple side of things, a simple bowl of steamed brown or white rice is always a fantastic option is to serve with any dish. The reason is that it allows the flavours already present within your tacos to truly shine by themselves whilst also bringing in that extra texture of fluffy and absorbent rice further and thereby diversifying the overall feel of the dish.
That said though serving a more varied and flavourful rice dish adds more nuance, as it can better reflect or contrast with the taste and texture of your tacos. The result of this is that the rice makes the overall meal far more flavourful, complex and layered.
Dishes such as Mexican rice (often compared to Spanish rice due to their similarities) or black beans and rice or black rice all make for excellent choices. The reason being that each one brings something new to your tacos whilst also some of the traits that were already present.
Answered: What To Serve With A Taco Bar?
When you are planning to set up a taco bar for either a delicious taco Tuesday treat, a social gathering or for any other reason, you will be spoiled for choice when choosing your sides. Whether you go for tortilla chips, rice, salad, some dips or anything in between though, you’re guaranteed to be a delicious and rewarding dining experience.
In truth though, the above suggestions are merely the tip of the iceberg though. As such when assembling your own taco bar feel free to bring in some ideas of your own. Truly a combo of options based on your own previous preferences and some tried and true options is often the best way to make a taco bar that you will get the maximum amount of satisfaction from.
With that in mind then, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get cracking on with your own custom taco with all the extra sides of your desires.
FAQ – What To Serve With Asparagus?
What do you serve at a taco bar?
There are a wide variety of sides that you can serve alongside your taco bar. Some great options include refried beans, elote corn, tortilla chips and dips like guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
What should I bring to a taco bar party?
A wide variety of sides are always a guaranteed hit when attending a taco bar party. Some great options though include Mexican salad, corn pudding, elote corn, refried beans, tortilla chips and dips like guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
What should I bring to a taco bar potluck?
When attending a taco bar party potluck/party there are a wide variety of options you bring. However, some classic instant hits will be of course refried beans, Mexican coleslaw, elote corn tortilla chips and dips like guacamole, sour cream or salsa.