Are you ready to level up your taco night game? Well, look no further than carnitas tacos!
This Mexican dish is just as delicious as it is fun to make. But what should you pair with carnitas tacos for a complete meal?
Fortunately, there are plenty of side dishes that go great with this traditional dinner option.
From guacamole salsa to pico de gallo and roasted vegetables — the choices are varied and overall very tasty.
Here we’ll take a deep dive into 10 perfect sides that will complement your carnitas tacos and guarantee an unforgettable evening! Let’s get started.
What to Serve with Carnitas Tacos? 10 Side Dishes
1 – Spicy Black Beans
Black beans are a staple in many Latin American cuisines, and for good reason – they’re delicious.
These hearty beans have a slightly nutty flavor and a firm, yet creamy texture that makes them perfect for dishes like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.
If you’re looking to spice up your black beans, there are a few easy ways to do it.
First, try adding some chopped onions, garlic, and chili peppers to the beans as they’re cooking.
You can also add a splash of hot sauce or salsa to the finished dish.
For an extra smokey flavor, try adding a bit of liquid smoke to the beans before cooking.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to dishes made with black beans.
Whether you keep them simple or dress them up, these versatile beans are sure to please everyone at the table.
2 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious option for any meal.
They’re especially perfect for carnitas tacos because they add a sweetness that compliments the savory flavors of the pork.
Plus, they’re easy to roast and can be done in advance so that you’re not rushed when it comes time to assemble your tacos.
When roasting sweet potatoes, you want to make sure that they’re nicely browned and slightly soft in the center.
This will give them the perfect balance of taste and texture.
If they’re too hard, they won’t be as enjoyable to eat.
And if they’re too soft, they’ll fall apart and make a mess.
So aim for somewhere in the middle.
There are a few things you can do to elevate this dish.
First, try adding some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top of the roasted sweet potatoes.
The sharpness of the cheese will contrast nicely with the sweetness of the potatoes.
You could also sprinkle on some chopped fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme.
Or, for a bit of heat, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
Whatever you do, just make sure you enjoy your carnitas tacos with roasted sweet potatoes.
3 – Corn Salad
When it comes to tacos, most people think of the classic beef or chicken.
But carnitas tacos are a delicious alternative that deserves just as much attention.
And when it comes to sides, there are endless possibilities.
But we’ve narrowed it down to our top 10 favorite side dishes that go perfectly with carnitas tacos.
One of our favorite sides is corn salad.
It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and the texture goes so well with the carnitas.
Plus, it’s super easy to make.
Just throw some corn, diced tomatoes, diced red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper into a bowl and you’re good to go.
If you want to elevate your corn salad even further, you can add in some avocado or crumbled feta cheese.
Or you could even grill the corn before adding it to the salad for a little bit of smokiness.
No matter how you make it, we guarantee that this corn salad will be a hit at your next taco night.
4 – Cucumber & Tomato Salad
This cucumber and tomato salad is the perfect side dish for your carnitas tacos.
The cool, crisp cucumbers pair perfectly with the juicy tomatoes and the zesty lime dressing ties it all together.
This dish is so fresh and flavorful, you’ll want to make it again and again.
The key to this dish is to use fresh, in-season ingredients.
The cucumbers should be nice and crisp, and the tomatoes should be ripe but not too soft.
I like to use a mix of heirloom tomatoes for some color variety, but any type of tomato will work.
To really elevate this dish, I like to add some fresh herbs.
Basil and mint are my favorites, but cilantro would also be delicious.
If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand, a sprinkle of dried oregano or basil will also do the trick.
This salad is best served cold or at room temperature.
I like to make it ahead of time and let the flavors meld together in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.
5 – Chipotle Rice
Chipotle rice is a delicious and easy side dish that goes great with carnitas tacos.
The rice is slightly spicy and has a great flavor.
The texture of the rice is perfect – it’s not too soft or too hard.
There are a few things you can do to elevate this dish.
First, try using brown rice instead of white rice.
Brown rice has a nuttier flavor and will give the dish more depth.
You can also add some chopped cilantro to the rice for freshness.
Finally, try serving the chipotle rice with a dollop of sour cream on top.
This will help balance out the spice and make the dish even more irresistible.
6 – Refried Beans
Refried beans are a delicious and hearty side dish that pairs perfectly with carnitas tacos.
The beans are usually cooked with onions and garlic, giving them a savory flavor that is offset by the sweetness of the corn tortillas.
Refried beans are typically made with pinto beans, but you can also use black or kidney beans.
The texture of refried beans is creamy and smooth, making them the perfect filling for tacos.
If you want a bit more of a crunch in your tacos, you can add some chopped onions or green peppers to the refried beans.
You can also top them with shredded cheese or sour cream.
Refried beans are a staple in Mexican cuisine, so they are easy to find at your local grocery store.
You can also find them online or at specialty food stores.
If you want to elevate this dish, you can make your own refried beans from scratch.
This will take some time, but it is worth it for the flavor and quality of the ingredients.
7 – Fried Plantains
Fried plantains are a delicious and popular side dish in many Latin American cuisines.
They are typically served as a side to savory dishes like carnitas tacos, but can also be enjoyed on their own as a snack.
Fried plantains have a unique taste and texture that is both sweet and savory.
The sweetness comes from the natural sugars in the plantain, while the savoriness comes from the frying process.
This dish is usually served with a dipping sauce or salsa, which helps to balance out the flavors.
There are many ways to elevate this dish and make it even more delicious.
One way is to fry the plantains in coconut oil, which gives them a richer flavor.
Another way is to top them with shredded cheese or sour cream before serving.
Whatever toppings you choose, fried plantains are sure to be a hit.
8 – Salsa Verde
The perfect accompaniment to carnitas tacos is a simple salsa verde.
Salsa verde, or green salsa, is made with tomatillos, jalapeños, cilantro, and garlic.
The combination of these ingredients results in a bright and acidic salsa that pairs perfectly with the rich flavors of carnitas.
When it comes to taste and texture, salsa verde is traditionally on the thinner side.
This thin consistency allows it to be easily poured over tacos or used as a dip.
If you prefer a thicker salsa, simply add less water when blending the ingredients together.
As for flavor, the acidity of the tomatillos is balanced out by the sweetness of the jalapeños and the earthiness of the cilantro.
There are endless ways to elevate a simple salsa verde.
One easy way is to add some chopped fruit, such as mango or pineapple.
This will add sweetness and depth of flavor to the salsa.
Another option is to swap out the jalapeños for serrano peppers if you like your salsa on the spicier side.
Or, for a smokey twist, try roasting the tomatillos before blending them together with the other ingredients.
9 – Guacamole
Guacamole is one of those dishes that’s so simple, yet so delicious.
All you need is a few ripe avocados, some diced onions, fresh lime juice, and salt and you’re good to go.
The perfect guacamole should be creamy with a little bit of texture from the onions and lime juice.
There are a few things you can do to elevate your guacamole game.
First, make sure your avocados are ripe.
You can tell if an avocado is ripe if it gives a little when you squeeze it.
If it’s too hard, it won’t be as cream and if it’s too soft, it will be mushy.
Second, add in some diced jalapeños for a little bit of spice.
And finally, use fresh lime juice instead of bottled for the best flavor.
So next time you’re looking for a simple but delicious dish to serve up, try making some guacamole.
Your guests will be sure to love it.
10 – Pico De Gallo
Pico de gallo is a fresh and flavorful salsa that originates from Mexico.
It is typically made with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
This salsa is perfect for adding a pop of color and freshness to any dish.
The best part about pico de gallo is that it is incredibly versatile.
It can be used as a dip for chips or vegetables, a topping for tacos or nachos, or even as a salad dressing.
Pico de gallo is also relatively easy to make at home.
Simply dice up the ingredients and mix them together in a bowl.
If you want to elevate your pico de gallo, consider adding some chopped fruit such as mango or papaya.
You could also add avocado for an extra creamy texture.
For a bit of heat, add in some diced jalapeño or serrano peppers.
Get creative and experiment until you find a combination that you love.
In conclusion, there are many delicious and easy to make side dishes that go great with carnitas tacos.
I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration on what to make next time you’re serving carnitas tacos.
Be sure to try out some of these recipes and let us know how they turned out.
What to Serve with Carnitas Tacos? 10 Side Dishes
- 1 – Spicy Black Beans
- 2 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 3 – Corn Salad
- 4 – Cucumber u0026 Tomato Salad
- 5 – Chipotle Rice
- 6 – Refried Beans
- 7 – Fried Plantains
- 8 – Salsa Verde
- 9 – Guacamole
- 10 – Pico De Gallo
- Select your favorite sides from the list above.
- Prepare the side dish according to the recipe instructions.
- If you’re short on time, some of these can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving.
- Serve and enjoy!
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!