Distinctive features of Latin-Southwest Cuisines

The complex Southwest Foods

Long Green and Mellow Red Chiles

The chiles are used for seasoning. The Southwest states (except Nevada) use the signature cooked sauces prepared from dried red or green chile pods known as the New Mexican chile.
Ranging from burritos to enchiladas to scrambled eggs, almost every traditional dish from the Southwest smothers green or red chile sauce blankets. It’s also served with pizza and bagels. The chile sauce is also fried in tempura butter and served whole.
The red and green sauces differ in texture and taste but are prepared the same way. Whereas red chile has a sweet, earthier taste, green chiles have a vegetal, grassy taste (heat).

Recipe for Southwestern chile sauces


  • Cooking fat or oil
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Some flour
  • Red or green chile pods (chopped)
  • Water or stock
  • Tomatoes (optional; for milder taste)
  • Cornstarch


Add the chiles onto your cooking pan using a cup or cups as desired.
Whisk it up with the rest of the ingredients and heat.


Dating back to 7000 B.C.E as North American staple food, Southwest cuisine is made up of three ingredients referred to as the “three sisters”. They include beans, corn and squash.

Dried, slow-simmered pintos can be eaten whole as EL Parasol or smashed and refried with bacon drippings and lard. The beans can be used to fill burritos, tostadas, tacos, etc. They can also be mixed with meat to fill the dishes.

Squash is sautéed with chopped green chile and corn to make the fresh New Mexico vegetable dish known as Calabacitas. It’s a popular filling for vegan tacos and burritos. It’s also eaten as a standalone dish.

The signature blue corn

Dating back to the 1980s, blue corn is rich in proteins and has high nutty quality. It’s used to prepare the blue corn tortilla chips.
Some popular dishes include:

  • Blue corn tamales
  • Blue corn-cheese enchiladas
  • Blue corn pancakes