You’ll Love the Flavor of These 10 Latin-Inspired Recipes

With bold flavors, plenty of spice, and rich cuts of meat, Latin-inspired cooking is one way to ensure you’re eating a meal that will stick to your ribs and satisfy your taste buds.

We’ve compiled some of our favorite recipes with Latin roots—meaning they use key flavors and ingredients from countries throughout Latin America. They may not all be the authentic iterations of regional dishes, but they are delicious nonetheless.

Take, for example, our own Instant Pot carnitas, wrapped in soft lettuce leaves and topped with a quick salsa fresca. Not your typical, authentic taco, but certainly a nutritious meal you’ll gobble up in minutes.

Lettuce wraps pair beautifully with some bacon guacamole—all the usual guacamole mainstays with, of course, a touch of crispy bacon.

Combine Brazilian steak with Argentinian chimichurri in one steakhouse-worthy dish, or whip up a quick and easy Cuban picadillo for an easy dinner.

These Latin-inspired recipes are the perfect way to pack an explosion of flavor into any night of the week.

Brazilian Picanha with Spicy Chimichurri Sauce

If you’ve never had the beef cut now as picanha, this Brazilian picanha with spicy chimichurri sauce recipe is the place to start. Picanha is a Brazilian steakhouse standard, which is known as sirloin cap in the U.S. It features plenty of fat to pack in a rich beefy flavor.

This recipe pairs juicy picanha with a vibrant chimichurri, a spicy, herb-packed green sauce hailing from Argentina. This bright and spicy meal is perfect for serving a crowd.

Cuban Picadillo

Warm, well-spiced, tangy, with a touch sweetness, this Cuban picadillo is a quick, flavor-packed meal for any night of the week.

The key to this picadillo is quality ground beef and a bottle of adobo seasoning, which gives it a distinctive Cuban flair. Other flavorful ingredients include garlic, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cumin, sugar, plus green olives and a bit of their brine.

Mexican Chicken and Rice

This Mexican chicken and rice gets its inspiration from Mexican ingredients, though it is a distinctly American dish. It is, nevertheless, delicious.

You’ll rub chicken thighs down with paprika, cumin, coriander, and more, then cook them in a pot loaded with rice, corn, black beans, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, jalapenos, and lots of Mexican-inspired seasonings and flavors.

Top this one-pot dinner with sour cream, avocado, and cheese for added richness!

One-Pot Chicken and Spanish Rice

The one-pot meal train continues with this one pot chicken and Spanish rice, which cooks up quick with rich, saffron-flecked flavors.

You’ll love the flavorful combination of garlic, peppers, onions, chicken, rice, crushed tomatoes, and green olives, spiced with paprika, and cilantro.

You’ll only need a tiny pinch of saffron, so a bottle works as a long-term investment.

Top Sirloin Steaks with Cumin, Peppers, and Chickpeas

These top sirloin steaks with cumin, peppers, and chickpeas capture Spanish flavors while being low carb—perfect for a carb-light, colorful dinner.

This meal is simple to throw together. All you have to do is marinate and sear some lean top sirloin steaks. The quick marinade includes olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, and cumin.

The veggie medley cooks up quick and easy too. Simply pan-free peppers, onions, and chickpeas with garlic, chili powder, paprika, and plenty of salt and pepper.

Crockpot Mexican Meatballs with Fire-Roasted Chipotle Sauce

Not only are these crockpot Mexican meatballs with fire-roasted chipotle sauce Paleo and gluten-free, but they’re also spicy and rich—perfect for entertaining.

The meatballs themselves are made with ground pork, onion, garlic, almond flour, eggs, and seasonings like paprika, cumin, and cilantro.

They’re lacquered with a spicy sauce made with tomatoes, onions and garlic, Anaheim pepper, chipotle peppers in adobo, chili powder, oregano, and cumin.

It all cooks up in the crockpot, making for quick and easy cleanup.

Instant Pot Carnitas Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Fresca

Tacos are a perennially Mexican dish, and these Instant Pot carnitas lettuce wraps with salsa fresca are a tasty, healthy iteration.

You’ll use the Instant Pot to make crispy-edged carnitas in a fraction of the time it typically takes, then whip up a spicy salsa fresca to top your lettuce wraps.

Buttery Bibb lettuce is the perfect, pliable wrap for these carnitas, especially when paired with creamy avocados.

Bacon Guacamole

The only thing better than guacamole? Bacon guacamole!

In this simple recipe, you’ll combine perfectly ripe avocados with guacamole mainstays like lime juice, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. The only difference is that you’ll also throw some super-crispy, finely diced bacon into the mix.

And trust us, that bacon makes all the difference in the world. You can eat this with tortilla chips, or try it with fresh veggies for a Paleo and keto option.

Smoky Chili-Rubbed Coulotte with Fancy Red Pepper Salsa

You might be surprised to learn that this smoky chili-rubbed Coulotte with fancy red pepper salsa is the cousin of Brazilian picanha. That’s because Coulotte is another word for sirloin cap or, as Brazilians call it, picanha.

This simple Coulotte roast gets rubbed down with a sweet heat blend of smoked salt, chipotle powder, Aleppo chili powder, ancho chili powder, cinnamon, smoked paprika, and ground coffee.

Meanwhile, the fancy salsa topping combines bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, roasted red peppers, cilantro, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and plenty of salt and pepper.

This Latin-inspired dish is one delicious flavor explosion.

Cilantro Lime Hickory Grilled Flank Steak

Craving fajitas? This cilantro lime hickory grilled flank steak is pretty close, and arguably cooks up even easier on the grill.

All you’ll need to whip this up is some flank steak—the ideal cut for grilling —lime zest, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. You’ll also need to grill this over hickory wood chips to impart a bold, smoky flavor.

You can wrap sliced flank steak in tortillas with all your favorite mix-ins, or serve it alongside rice and beans for a truly Latin-inspired meal.

Courtney Hamilton
Courtney Hamilton is a writer and editor with over seven years' experience in journalism, blogging, communications, and other media. She has written for publications like PaleoHacks, PaleoPlan, The Center for American Progress, OC Weekly, and more. 
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