Keys to a Stellar Vegan Cinco de Mayo Party

Celebrate Mexican heritage by throwing a festive fiesta with these spicy, south-of-the-border recipes.

We're not sure who is responsible for escalating Cinco de Mayo—an unofficial, regional holiday in Mexico—into a day of epic celebration in the US. Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken as Mexican Independence Day, which actually falls on September 16 and occurred 52 years before the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla—the event that Cinco de Mayo commemorates. While the holiday may not officially observe a landmark event in Mexican history, it does provide the opportunity to celebrate heritage and connect with Mexican-American culture. One of the easiest ways to do this is through food, by learning the history and traditions of another culture's cooking. If you can't escape to a vegan travel hostel in Mexico on May 5, immerse yourself in delicious, authentic Mexican cookery by creating a fiesta feast complete with vegan margaritas and spicy empanadas. Is it coincidence that the Spanish word for "eat" is coma? We think not.

Fiesta Fixings
When planning to host a Mexican feast, remember that it's essential to prepare an equal amount of hot and cool foods. This balance perfectly displays itself with Mexican dips. From spicy, tangy Green Chili Salsa, Mole Poblano, and Bean Dip to smooth, fresh Guacamole and Lime Yogurt Crema—an alternative to sour cream—even traditional Mexican dips are packed with rich, diverse flavors. Make sure that fiesta guests don't fill up on peppery, crunchy Tortilla Chips and dip before the first course, a crispy, colorful Tortilla Salad, can be served. Yes, this spread is sure to be heavy in carbs and yes, we promise you'll love every delicious minute of it. But, if following a tortilla appetizer to a tortilla first course seems like entirely too much tortilla, turn to hearty Beans and Rice, a south-of-the-border standard, or satisfying Black Bean Stew.

Coma, Coma
Choosing an appropriate main course can be tricky, so we suggest foregoing all that mental anguish by preparing a variety of tasty treats. Veganizing traditional Mexican meals, such as fiery Enchiladas, Empanadas, Chile Relleños, Chimichangas, and Tostadas, is a guaranteed way to delight guests, while getting creative with savory Veggie Fajitas and Chipotle Seitan Tacos may just change their lives forever. Ardent casserole lovers will be happy to know that a flavorful, layered Mexican Tortilla Bake or festive, buttery Pueblo Corn Casserole produce a bounty of Mexican goodies, all squarely contained in a tidy casserole dish.

Delicioso Drinks & Dessert
Cap off this festive feast with three delightful mealtime must-haves: margaritas, cerveza, and cookies. Before you break out the salsa music, it's essential to bust out the drinks and dessert. Lucky for compassionate cerveza fans, a variety of companies produce vegan-friendly beers, including Budweiser, Corona, and Miller. If you prefer drinks with a sweet, fruitier kick, make homemade margaritas by blending water, lime juice, frozen lemonade and limeade, DeKuyper triple sec, and Jose Cuervo tequila. Other festive, vegan-friendly mixer options include Bacardi rum, Smirnoff vodka and Malibu rum. For dessert, thrill your sweet tooth with Mexican Wedding Cookies and Mexican Wedding Cake—don't let the name fool you, these sweet treats are always appropriate. Happy Cinco de Mayo!


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