All Recipes Lunch

5 Traditional Mexican recipes for your lunch

Mexican cuisine is an important aspect of the culture, social structure and popular traditions of Mexico. The most important example of this connection is the use of mole for special occasions and holidays, particularly in the South and Central regions of the country. For this reason and others, traditional Mexican cuisine was inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

1. Slow-cooked chicken with brown rice and avocado

Nothing says comfort food quite like slow-cooked chicken for lunch. Full of flavour and guaranteed to please.


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 whole chicken, quartered (use kitchen scissors or poultry shears to do this)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked, roots cleaned and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp each dried oregano, ground cumin and dried chilli flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 6 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Steamed brown rice, sliced avocado, shredded spring onion, micro coriander and canned tomatillo (Mexican tomatoes – from selected grocers), to serve


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and season chicken with salt. Cook chicken pieces, skin-side down, for 6 minutes or until skin is golden. Turn, then cook for a further 4 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add the onion, coriander root and garlic to the same pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add dried oregano, spices and tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomato and stir to coat, then add stock and bring to the boil.
  • Return chicken to pan, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour 30 minutes or until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Increase heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes to thicken. Season.
  • Remove skin from chicken, then shred the meat, discarding bones. Return chicken to sauce, stirring to warm through.
  • Serve with rice, avocado, tomatillo, and mixed micro coriander and spring onion.

2.Tacos de Carne Asada

The ultimate summer barbecue recipe. Be sure to serve with good friends and good times.


  • 2 x 400g rib-eye steaks (bone in), at room temperature
  • 8 white corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Sour cream, coriander leaves, thinly sliced radish (we used watermelon radishes), and lime wedges, to serve


  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 Asian (red) eschalot, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes


  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, leaves picked, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime


  • For the guacamole, whiz all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill until needed.
  • For the pico de gallo, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Chill until needed.
  • Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue to high heat. Add beef and grill, turning every 10 seconds, for 10-11 minutes for medium-rare (a meat thermometer inserted into the centre will read 54°C), or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and set aside, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes to rest.
  • Meanwhile, grill tortillas for 1 minute each side or until warmed through, then wrap in a clean tea towel to keep warm.
  • Spread warm tortillas with guacamole and top with sliced beef, lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream. Add coriander and radish, and serve with lime wedges.

3.Spicy chicken empanadas

It’s the staple you love to hate, but mince is hotter than ever. Try cooking these chicken empanadas as a mid-week meal that the whole family will love.


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 chorizo, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 350g chicken mince
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika (pimenton)
  • 1/2 cup (75g) sundried tomatoes, blended to a paste
  • 2 tbs Massel Chicken Style Liquid Stock
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, leaves chopped
  • Red and green hot sauces, to serve


  • 5 cups (750g) plain flour, sifted
  • 200g lard, softened
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 extra lightly beaten egg to brush


  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 2 long green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, leaves chopped


  • For the pastry, whiz flour, lard and a pinch of salt in a food processor until just combined. Add egg and 2/3 cup (165ml) warm water and whiz until mixture comes together in a smooth ball.
  • Enclose pastry in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, for the filling, heat oil in a frypan over medium heat.
  • Add chorizo, onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the chicken and spices, and cook, stirring, for a further 3-4 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Add tomato and stock, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and fold in coriander. Remove from heat and fold in coriander. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured work surface until 2mm thick. Cut out 20 x 12cm circles.
  • Place 11/2 tablespoons cooled filling in centre of each pastry circle. Brush the edges with a little cold water, then fold over pastry to form a half moon.
  • Crimp edges together, then fold over pinching to form petals. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up slightly. Brush with extra egg, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  • Meanwhile, for the pico de gallo, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Season and set aside.
  • Serve empanadas warm with pico de gallo and hot sauces.

4. Chilli con carne with spiced guacamole

It’s the mid-week staple you love to hate but mince is hotter than ever. Give your bolognese recipe a rest and swap it for this modern take on chilli con carne, that your whole family will enjoy.


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 2 chillies in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 2 tbs adobo sauce
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1 cup (250ml) beef stock
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • Sour cream, flour tortillas, lime wedges and micro coriander, to serve


  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus extra wedges to serve
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, for 2-3 minutes until browned.
  • Add the chopped chillies, tomato paste, cumin and paprika, and cook, stirring, for a further 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add the stock and chopped tomatoes. Season and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes until reduced. Add beans and stir to warm through.
  • Meanwhile, for guacamole, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt. Serve chilli con carne with guacamole, sour cream, tortillas, lime wedges and micro coriander leaves.

5. Mexican meatball subs

Tasty Mexican meatballs for dinner become subs for lunch with this versatile mid-week meal.


  • 1 pack taco seasoning mixture
  • 1kg pork and veal mince
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ¾ cup (50g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • ½ bunch parsley, leaves chopped
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small red onions, chopped
  • 2 small red capsicums, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g can black beans
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 small dinner rolls
  • Avocado, to serve
  • Coriander (or parsley), to serve
  • Lime, to serve
  • Sour cream, to serve


  • Reserve 1 tsp taco seasoning, then combine remaining with minces, egg, breadcrumbs, parsley and season. Form into meatballs using 1 tbs mixture and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tbs oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning, until cooked through. Repeat with remaining balls and oil.
  • Wipe pan clean and add 2 tbs oil, onion and capsicum, season and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the reserved taco seasoning, garlic and black beans and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and ½ cup (125ml) water, and bring to a simmer. Return the meatballs to the mixture and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • Set aside 8 meatballs, some sauce and remaining ingredients for the subs for lunch.
  • Serve meatballs for dinner with avocado, coriander, lime and sour cream.
  • For the lunch boxes, slice open the dinner rolls then add the meatballs and sauce. Drizzle a little lime over the avocado so it doesn’t go brown, then add to rolls with coriander.


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