Tamales are a classic Mexican dish consisting of masa (corn flour dough) that has been filled with sweet or savory fillings, wrapped in corn husks and then eaten!
Tamales pair well with side dishes that provide complementary textures and flavors; classic examples are refried beans, Mexican rice, and fresh fruit.
Black Bean Soup
Black bean soup is an easy and quick way to complement tamales. Prep takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and has great flavors and textures while being packed with essential nutrients – not to mention it can use up any leftover beans from your pantry!
Salsa verde is another delicious side dish that pairs nicely with tamales: its velvety sauce made from fresh and dried ingredients is the perfect complement to the crunchy texture of tamales. Typically prepared using tomatillos – Mexican fruit that look similar to green tomatoes but have an irresistibly tart taste – salsa verde adds another delicious layer to an already satisfying meal!
If you want to add a light element to your meal, try serving salad with your tamales. Salads are easy and fast to make; their combination of sweet and savory flavors pair beautifully with the sweet-saltiness of tamales when dressed with tangy dressing. In addition to salads, other light dishes such as corn elote or macaroni salad would work nicely.
While tamales are traditionally enjoyed with plantain or banana leaf wrappers, it’s a good idea to serve a bowl of tortilla chips as part of the meal to balance out its richness and add an additional dimension of flavor. Seasoned chips with salt and pepper add even more dimension, or try different dipping sauces like salsa roja and verde for extra variety and flair!
Fresh fruit makes an ideal accompaniment to any meal, including tamales. The sweet flavors of fruit perfectly balance out the spicy notes of masa, making this combination one of my personal favorites. Fresh fruit should ideally be enjoyed alongside your tamales for breakfast or lunch but can be enjoyed anytime throughout the day!
When selecting fruit, aim for varieties low in sugar such as apples or pears. Avoid fruits high in added sugar such as pineapple and bananas which contain high concentrations of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which have been linked with various health conditions.
Black beans make an irresistibly delicious and nutritious accompaniment to tamales, and can be customized by seasoning with garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder and coriander to enhance their flavors. For optimal health benefits use a large pot and soak your beans overnight – this makes for easier cooking tomorrow.
Grilled shrimp is another fantastic accompaniment for tamales. Easy and low in calories, it provides loads of protein. Pair your grilled shrimp with salsa, guacamole or ranchero sauce – traditional condiments of tamales!
To create tamales, a steamer basket must be used to wrap husks around their filling. After this step is complete, they are then steamed for 50 minutes until done – best done in batches to avoid them cooling too rapidly, which could ruin their texture and taste. For this batch to steam properly, fill a large pot halfway with water until just below the steamer basket; once finished removing from steamer allow to sit until cool enough to handle before removing from steamer basket and placing onto serving plates until cool enough to handle.
Mexican Rice is an iconic side dish and makes the perfect accompaniment for tamales. Packed with flavor thanks to tomato sauce, onions and garlic – not to mention being high in carbohydrates!
Roasted poblano peppers in cream sauce is another delicious side dish to complement tamales, making an effortless side dish option that suits any palate. If spicy food is not your cup of tea, other vegetables like carrots or zucchini could easily replace roasted peppers for this tasty side dish!
Mexican pickled vegetables make an excellent side dish to go along with tamales. Not only can they add variety and nutrition to any meal, but you can find various pickled vegetable products at your local supermarket or you can make your own by following instructions on the label.
Grilled shrimp makes an excellent protein-rich option that pairs beautifully with tamales. The sweet, smokey flavors of the shrimp provide the ideal contrast against the dense yet delicate texture of tamales – creating a tasty yet filling meal!
Add some fruity flare to your tamale feast by serving it alongside a bowl of fresh fruits such as watermelon, mangoes or oranges – watermelons, mangoes or oranges all make delicious choices – or spice it up by mixing in chili powder or cayenne pepper for extra spice!
Finally, tamales are often served with a traditional green salad to balance out their richness. Together with its zesty vinaigrette dressing, this meal makes an excellent option for those seeking healthier meals.
Mexican Cabbage Salad
This light salad is an energizing side dish to pair perfectly with your tamales. Romaine lettuce, roasted croutons and parmesan cheese combine for an unforgettable Mexican-style salad; its addition adds extra flair. Plus it is quick and simple to prepare in advance so it will arrive ready-to-serve at any tamale party with no stress involved!
Chicken Noodle Soup is an exceptionally simple yet popular side. It makes an excellent complement to doughy tamales as its creamy consistency boasts intense chicken flavors that will balance them out nicely. Plus, this rich and hearty soup will go perfectly with their filling!
Corn chowder makes for an excellent sweet but non-doughy side dish that pairs wonderfully with tamales, offering an irresistibly creamy and sweet balance to their salty and spicy fillings.
Whenever looking for a healthier side dish, the Jicama Cabbage Salad should definitely be on your radar. With its delicious combination of sweet and zesty flavours, this salad pairs beautifully with your tamales. With crunchy ingredients like Jicama, carrots and cabbage providing added texture for an interesting crunch.
Dressing this salad is extremely straightforward, and can incorporate various ingredients such as lime juice, olive oil, honey or agave syrup and any spices suitable to your tastes – or alternatively you could go for more traditional vinaigrette dressing if that is what appeals.
Serve hot tamales with salsa verde, an easy and tangy Mexican sauce featuring cilantro, onions and jalapeno peppers. Blend tomatillos into the mixture for maximum spiciness or swap out for regular green tomatoes if you prefer less fiery salsa verde! This recipe uses roasted poblano peppers as it provides extra heat; regular green tomatoes may provide less spicy alternative.
This salsa verde makes a delicious complement to any Mexican-inspired meal, including grilled meats, fish, soup and tortilla chips. Make a larger batch for even greater convenience – refrigerate before refeerring as an appetizer or add as part of a fresh salad salad!
As an alternative to using a blender, this salsa can also be made by hand by finely chopping tomatillos and peppers, then mixing with other ingredients and seasoning to taste. For optimal results, make this dish shortly before eating as fresh ingredients can quickly lose their flavor if left sitting out too long.
To begin assembling tamales, place one corn husk on a flat surface with its smooth side facing up and scoop out 1/3 cup of masa. Spread this out evenly along the wider bottom half before topping with shredded chicken and 2 tablespoons of chile verde sauce. Fold over and secure this side using tape; repeat for all four tamales if necessary – you may also add additional amounts of either chili verde sauce or chicken as desired!