From Plantains To Aji Amarillo, These Ingredients Make Latino Recipes Lo Mejor De Lo Mejor
Making your weekly grocery shopping list as we speak? Whether you need masa harina to make tamales or a tree’s worth of cilantro in your life, DoorDash is taking the guesswork out of groceries for you. While you might already use the app for takeout, ordering your groceries from DoorDash means more selection for all your can’t-miss ingredients… and the freshest pimientos rojos, plátanos, and more — because they get it.
If you’re thinking about what to cook for dinner tonight, hear us out. Whether you’re in need of comfort de casita, miss your abuelos, or just want something that reminds you of your roots, why not start with authentic ingredients derived straight from Latinoamérica?
We’re talking flavors like aji amarillo, poblano peppers, guayaba, and cotija cheese — ingredients that are sure to take any casual dinner (or lunch, or dessert!) up around 1,000 notches. It’s no secret Latino dishes are top-tier, bringing all the flavor you could ever want on a plate, while also creating a textural masterpiece. Whether you loved nopales as a kid, or your mom low-key threatened you with the chupacabra until you ate them (just us?), one thing is for sure: the more we grow, the more we realize how diverse and delicious Latin America’s gastronomy is.
Below, you’ll find ingredients our countries wear like a badge of honor, bringing centuries of history right to the dinner table. Plus, we included recipes you’ll love that make each of these ingredients the star of the show. Buen provecho!
Alternatively, while not snap up some plantains instead? Whether you call the fruit plátano, plátano macho, macho banana, or plátano verde, we can all agree that it makes some of the best dishes ever created. I mean, who can contest the sheer deliciousness of maduros, mofongo, and tostones? Well, next time, try this recipe for Mangú, a Dominican specialty that mashes plantains to create a perfect breakfast plate or side.
2. Poblano Peppers
Next up, we could never, ever forget about poblano peppers — the hero ingredient originating from Puebla, Mexico that is the star of the show in chiles rellenos. The dark green chili pepper is mild in spice, but brings a distinct flavor that makes them ubiquitous in Mexican cooking. A recipe you need to try? This Rajas Con Crema dish is what dreams are made of, stirring in poblano peppers with Mexican crema, onion, garlic, and queso Oaxaca. Thank us later.
3. White Cheese
If we could pick just one cheese out of all the cheeses (you know, the cheese version of the age-old “desert island” question), we’re pretty sure it would be queso blanco. Sometimes referred to as queso fresco, it can come in the form of Oaxaca cheese, or Venezuelan queso de mano. No matter your preference, it’s always soft, crumbly, slightly-salty perfection — and we don’t know a better use for it than in this delicious Esquites recipe.
4. Chili Peppers
Conversely, stocking up on chili peppers might be what you need to revive your dinnertime experience. For one, can opt for extra-spicy Habanero peppers, which are often compared to Scotch Bonnets and can be used to make delicious salsa picante. While you can also go for jalapeño peppers for a spicy margarita, why not go for Peruvian aji amarillo instead? Use your chili peppers in this Aji De Gallina recipe, which is a creamy chicken dish that also brings in potatoes, milk, and cheese. The perfect comfort food (with a kick).
5. Mexican Coriander
If you’ve always heard of sofrito when it comes to cooking but aren’t sure exactly what it is, you’ve come to the right place. But first, you’ll need culantro — an herb with long leaves that’s also known as Mexican coriander. It is common throughout Latin America, and is a very important aspect of sofrito, an aromatic puree that blends garlic, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and more — all to make the perfect base for your dishes. Try this authentic Puerto Rican Sofrito recipe, also known as recaíto on the island, which works great when making pernil.
Another can’t-miss ingredient to add to your shopping list is yuca, also known as cassava. The starchy root vegetable is delicious in all kinds of preparations, such as boiling it to make a tender, traditional Cuban side dish that we could live in. Another option? Frying it instead — because if frying is an option, we’re taking it! Try this classic Yuca Frita recipe for the crispiest yuca “fries,” and serve with any sauce on the side… like anything with cilantro and garlic. BRB, going to make some yuca frita now.
7. White Corn Meal
Harina P.A.N. is the kind of Latin American staple that immediately makes our heart happy — especially if you’re Venezuelan… or have Venezuelan friends. The pre-cooked white cornmeal is a must-have when making either Venezuelan or Colombian arepas, but we have a soft-spot for this Reina Pepiada Arepa recipe. Use your bag of cornmeal to get the recipe started, where you will eventually stuff your arepas with a mix of avocado, shredded chicken, mayonnaise and more.
We couldn’t think of our Argentine friends without thinking of chorizo — at least where summer barbecues and birthdays are concerned. Of course, pork cured meat is popular throughout the world, and within Latin America, you can find it in dishes from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Bolivia and more. We’re big fans of Argentine choripanes though, which consist of barbecued chorizo served on a bun with a tasty chimichurri sauce. Try this Choripan recipe for lunch or dinner — it’s perfect for relaxed, sunny weekends.
Name a better dessert than anything with guayaba in it — we’ll wait. While chocolate lovers may disagree, guava’s mix of sweetness and tartness is special, particularly when combined with cream cheese. Why not put guava paste on your shopping list to try your hand at this Pastelitos De Guayaba y Queso recipe? These crispy, buttery pastelitos will immediately transport you to a Cuban bakery — just add the colada. In a pinch, try your hand at making other cream cheese-based dishes with fresh or dried guava instead. Your tastebuds will thank us.
All your favorite authentic ingredients that will remind you of warm, childhood meals are conveniently found on the DoorDash app. Happy shopping!