15 Recipes to Help You Escape to the Southwest

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COVID-19 has made us all think differently about our vacations. Crowded resorts and theme parks are probably off the menu for most of us as we look to avoid being around a lot of people at once. Maybe you’re dreaming of the exact opposite, a place where you can get away with no one around. If you find yourself getting jealous of the social life of a cactus, maybe you want to escape to the Southwest!

But you don’t have to travel far to visit the wide-open spaces of the Southwestern United States… even if you don’t already live there! If it’s too soon for you to visit its legendary natural features like the Grand Canyon or experience the diversity of the cultures and peoples who call the region home, you can still give your family a taste of the Southwest with these recipes.

From sweet to spicy, these recipes are inspired by the unique cuisine and ingredients of the Southwest. Its dry climes are practically bursting with flavor! These recipes might remind you of Tex-Mex roadhouse fare, cowboy trail breakfasts, or holiday celebrations south of the border. There’s something for everyone here.

Southwestern-Inspired Recipes

1. Apricot Mango Smoothie

Apricot Mango Smoothie

Start your day in the morning sun sipping this tasty smoothie. You may not be hiking the desert hinterlands, but it’s just as good for a day of cleaning the house or playing in the backyard.

Recipe: Apricot Mango Smoothie (With A Hidden Veggie!)

2. Strawberry Grapefruit Margaritas

Strawberry Grapefruit Margaritas

Strawberry Grapefruit Margaritas are a refreshing cocktail perfect for spring and summer. And Taco Tuesdays. And Girl’s Night. And Cinco de Mayo. And Friday Nights. Really…. when is a margarita NOT the right choice?

Recipe: Strawberry Grapefruit Margaritas

3. Breakfast Tacos

Southwestern Recipes: Breakfast Tacos

Is there a better breakfast than one you can eat with your hands? These breakfast tacos are made with juicy cherry tomatoes that burst in your mouth!

Recipe: Breakfast Tacos

4. Lollipops® Kale Sprouts and Potato Breakfast Hash

Lollipops® Kale Sprouts and Potato Breakfast Hash

Now here’s a hearty breakfast treat — the kind you might make on a skillet while you’re out on the cattle trail! This one-skillet wonder is a mix of kale sprouts, potatoes, bacon, carrots, and yellow onions. It’s a feast for the belly and the eyes.

Recipe: Lollipops® Kale Sprouts and Potato Breakfast Hash

5. Tropical Avocado Mango Pico de Gallo

Southwestern Recipes: Tropical Avocado Mango Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo is Spanish for “the little things the chicken eats.” But it’s really a fresh, delicious topping made with onions, cilantro, peppers and even fruits. This recipe from our partners at Desbry is perfect for digging into with some tortilla chips, or using as a topping or filling for other recipes!

Recipe: Tropical Avocado Mango Pico de Gallo

6. Guacamole-Stuffed Mini Peppers

Southwestern Recipes: Guacamole-Stuffed Mini Peppers

Guacamole is always a hit, but it really shines in this recipe for stuffed peppers! Our recipe calls for Concord Fresh Success Guacamole Seasoning Mix, which makes preparing these mini peppers a breeze.

Recipe: Guacamole-Stuffed Mini Peppers

7. Avocado and Tortilla Soup

Southwestern Recipes: Avocado and Tortilla Soup

Few things in life are as comforting as a warm bowl of soup, even in the Southwestern desert. It still gets cold out there! Feel free to add a sprinkle of queso fresco cheese to top off this avocado soup.

Recipe: Avocado and Tortilla Soup

8. Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

This gluten-free side dish makes a nice alternative to a heavy pasta salad. Add some chicken for a delicious and fresh entree! It’s also a good on-the-go meal to pack in a cooler for a social-distancing hike or other outdoor excursions.

Recipe: Southwestern Quinoa Salad

9. Elote Salad  (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

Elote Salad, or Mexican Street Corn Salad

Elote Corn is corn on the cob that has been roasted on a grill and coated with mayo (or crema fresca), chili powder, and cojita cheese. Elote Salad incorporates all of these flavors but we also added a few ingredients to take the deliciousness-factor to a whole new level!

Recipe: Elote Salad

10. Green Papaya Fajitas

Green Papaya Fajitas

Although commonly grown and used in Asia, papaya is actually native to the tropical regions of Mexico and Central America so we thought it would be fun to add it to a Mexican dish. Give this recipe for Green Papaya Fajitas a try and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been adding this special fruit to your fajitas all along!

Recipe: Green Papaya Fajitas

11. Sheet Pan Smoky Lime Chicken Fajitas

Sheet Pan Smoky Lime Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas are all about options at the table, so we thought we would give you a couple of recipe options, too. This recipe shines in a pinch: throw everything on a sheet pan in the oven and you’re good to go!

Recipe: Sheet Pan Smoky Lime Chicken Fajitas

12. Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole

Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole Southwestern Recipes

This recipe is stuffed bell peppers on easy mode! Everything is made in one pot on the stove, and the peppers are cooked right into the casserole. Freeze it to save for later, or repurpose your leftovers by wrapping them in tortillas and making enchiladas.

Recipe: Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole

13. Salad Savoy Southwestern Slaw

Salad Savoy Southwestern Slaw

This slaw is full of Southwest flavor courtesy of sweet corn, avocado, mangos, and a small kick of chili and chipotle powders. Salad Savoy makes a crunchy and colorful base. It’s light and delightful!

Recipe: Salad Savoy Southwestern Slaw

14. Fruit Tacos

Fruit Tacos

What makes taco night even better? Simple: more tacos! The trick to making delicious fruit tacos is to sweeten your taco shell. You could use crepes or even slices of sponge cake as your shell.

Recipe: Fruit Tacos

15. Sandía Loca | Mexican-Style “Crazy” Watermelon

Sandía Loca | Mexican-Style “Crazy” Watermelon

Turn your backyard into a beach party! This Mexican party dessert is sure to bring smiles to your family’s faces. It’s sweet, fruity, and nutty, with a little Tajín seasoning zing!

Recipe: Sandía Loca – Mexican-Style “Crazy” Watermelon

Staying close to home and preventing the spread of COVID-19 is the right thing to do right now — for you, for your family, and for your whole community. But that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to some travel-inspired meals! We hope these delicious recipes help you take your family on a Southwestern adventure right at your own dining table.

What are some of your favorite Southwestern recipes? Share in the comments below or tag us in your food photos on Instagram @theproducemoms. 

Want to escape someplace else? Try these beachy recipes or these Mediterranian-inspired dishes.

Southwestern Recipes

About Kristin

Kristin Ahaus is the Director of Content and Communications for The Produce Moms. Her focus and passion is helping all of TPM's brand partners share their stories while also helping consumers understand how to select, serve and store fresh produce. Connect with Kristin on LinkedIN.

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