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National Hispanic Heritage Month

15 Recipes That Can Help You Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Plantains, pupusas, paella, and more!
National Hispanic Heritage Month September 2022

Originally a week-long commemoration started in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month is now a four-week celebration of the culture and history of Spanish-speaking people in the United States. Its timing—from September 15 to October 15—is significant, beginning on the day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua all declared independence from Spain. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. In honor of this special month, we thought we’d take a look at some delicious dishes inspired by the food traditions of Central and South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Spain. But first, a quick explainer.

What does Hispanic mean?

Though sometimes used interchangeably, the terms Hispanic and Latino, or gender neutral Latinx, mean different things. Hispanic refers to the Spanish language—Spanish-speaking people and their descendants from predominantly Spanish-speaking countries. Latinx refers to a geographical region that includes parts of the Caribbean, Central, and South America.

There are 21 countries that officially fall under the umbrella of Hispanic, including: Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Venezuela.

What are some Hispanic dishes?

Drawing on such a wide range of cultures, history, and geography, it’s impossible to fit all the deliciousness that encompasses Hispanic cuisine into a single definition. “Hispanic food is very diverse and every country has its own unique dish from ancestors that have been passed down,” explains Roberta Pipito, a Latina food blogger (@homemadedelish ) who’s going to be walking us through her recipes for Brazilian cheese bread and passion fruit moose later this month on Instagram.

This list is, by no means, comprehensive, but it’s a good jumping off point, if you want to immerse yourself more in Hispanic culture. “Take the time to learn about our beautiful culture and food,” says Roberta. “We are the most heartwarming people that love to dance, sing, and eat and drink delicious food.” These recipes are all inspired by Hispanic cooking and ingredients. Let’s take a look.

Fried Sweet Plantains

A family-friendly side popular in the Caribbean and Latin America, fried ripe plantains, also known as maduros, are tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside.

Salvadoran Cheese-Stuffed Pupusas

The national dish of El Salvador, pupusas are tasty corn cakes cooked on a griddle. Stuff them with refried beans, chicharrón (fried pork rinds), or keep things simple and go with melty cheese.

Peruvian-Style Drumsticks with Spicy Green Sauce

These Peruvian-inspired grilled drumsticks come out extra-juicy thanks to the marinade. Pro tip: Do not skip the herby, spicy dipping sauce.

Sheet Pan Seafood and Chorizo Paella

Paella usually calls for a special pan (a paella pan, which has sloping sides and a wide surface area to cook a layer of rice nice and evenly), but this Spanish-inspired recipe cooks up perfectly on a simple sheet pan. 

Dominican-Style Fish Stewed in Coconut Milk

Pescado con coco, a northern Dominican recipe, combines two island treasures: fresh-caught fish and tropical coconut milk. Serve it with white rice or fried plantains.

Argentinian Beef Kabobs with Chimichurri

These beef kabobs get a ton of flavor thanks to a sprinkle of store-bought seasoning that’s packed with garlic, herbs, and spices. Also: Any leftover chimichurri sauce can be used in sandwiches, on top of eggs, as a pizza sauce, or over pasta.

Mango Raspberry Ice Pops

These ice pops are based on paletas, which are Mexican frozen treats made with fresh fruit. If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use an ice cube tray or paper cups.

Cuban-Style Black Bean Dip with Plantain Chips

This Cuban-inspired no-cook recipe comes together in just 10 minutes and with only 5 ingredients. Topping it with cotija takes it, well, over the top.


Empanadas (baked or fried turnovers with filling) appear throughout many Hispanic countries. These are stuffed with spicy ground beef and boiled eggs, but you can make them with all kinds of sweet and savory fillings. 

Ham and Cheese–Stuffed Venezuelan Corn Pancakes

These easy savory pancakes are mixed in a blender and are inspired by Venezuelan cachapas. Keep them warm in a low oven to serve hot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Stewed Pink Beans and Rice

A staple in every Puerto Rican kitchen: a simmering pot of plump, creamy pink beans, or habichuelas. A sofrito base gives the beans a flavor boost while steaming white rice makes them a well-rounded side dish or simple meal.

Puerto Rican–Style Yuca with Onion and Garlic Sauce

A tangy, garlic-spiked mojo sauce pairs beautifully with yuca, which goes from a starchy root to a creamy, mild-tasting veggie once boiled.

Tortilla Soup

This richly flavored soup, Sopa Azteca, from the Oaxacan region features tender poached chicken and a fragrant broth. Pile on garnishes like crunchy tortilla strips, melty cheese, avocado, and sour cream.

Arroz con Leche

Turn leftover rice into a sweet cinnamon-spiked rice pudding that both kids and adults will gobble up.

Slow Cooker Chicken Pozole Verde

This traditional Mexican stew practically makes itself in the slow cooker. And a jarred salsa verde helps you save even more time.

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