This is a roundup on Mexican recipes you can cook in Portugal and other parts of the world. Let’s talk about local ingredients and substitutions. I’ll also share resources I use for authentic Mexican ingredients.
Recipes With Mexican Ingredients & Sources
When doing my Portugal research in Facebook groups, I quickly learned that the number #1 cuisine people miss the most is Mexican food! It warms my heart to know there are so many Mexican food lovers all over the world.
As a native Mexican moving to Portugal, it was very important to me that I would be able to cook my favorite Mexican recipes and also continue to do my work for this blog. This website is my bread and butter, after all, and how I got my visa approved.
We are fortunate that Portugal has MANY ingredients available year round that make making Mexican food at home very easy! Cilantro? not a problem, you can find cilantro everywhere! Limes? you can buy year round. Fresh peppers? there are a few you can buy to substitute on many dishes.
After 8 months of living in Portugal, I can confidently say that you can find most ingredients that will allow you to cook real Mexican food. Here is what I have found so far in Lisbon and Setúbal (where I live with my hubby).
There are a few local peppers you can use to make Mexican salsas without compromising much of the flavor. You can find them at the markets and grocery stores.
Pimento Padrão – can be used instead of jalapeños or anaheim pepper.
Pimento Picante – use instead of jalapeños or anaheim serrano pepper.
Piri Piri – use instead of serranos or combine with other peppers to add a kick.
Staple pantry items
Pickled Jalapeños – Auchan or Continente
Tortilla Chips – Aldi, Auchan or Continente
Flour Tortillas – Homemade are better but in a pinch I like the ones from Aldi the best.
Pinto Beans – I buy them at local Frutarias where they have them in buckets. They look like regular pinto beans although they have a little red tint. The flavor is close enough. Note: I did not like the texture from the pre-packaged ones at grocery stores.
Hard Shell Tacos – Pingo, Auchan or Continente. Not really for authentic tacos but once in awhile I like to make “American tacos” lol!
Lard – I mostly use vegetable oil but if you prefer lard in some of the recipes get Banha de Porco Preto found in the refrigerators at most grocery stores.
Mexican Crema (sour cream in the U.S.) – Creme Freiché or even Greek yogurt will do. Also, Natas Acidas from Aldi.
Queso fresco – queso fresco
Source for authentic Mexican ingredients
Martha Tome – A great source for everything you need! Including dried peppers like chile de arbol, delicious corn tortillas, maseca, canned tomatillos, spices and even treats! Based in Lisbon where she has a little store you can visit but also ships all over Portugal.
The Chili Experience – Great source for seasonings, fresh peppers and dry peppers like my beloved guajillo, pasilla and New Mexico. Alan’s farm is located in central Portugal where he grows all of this peppers. Follow his Facebook page where he’ll announce when fresh peppers are available.
With the sources I mentioned above, I’m confident to say that you can make almost every Mexican recipe while living in Portugal. Feel free to explore my recipes and if you have any questions, just ask in the comments section below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are just a few recipes to inspire you to make a Mexican feast!
Let’s start with the staple of all recipes. Once you master this recipe, you can make anything you want! If you plan on making flour tortillas often, I highly recommend getting a stand mixer as making the masa will be so much easier! It will saves a lot of time. After playing around with different local ingredients, I like the texture of tortillas made with vegetable oil the best. These are the measurements I use:
Calabacitas is a delicious and healthy side dish recipe, perfect for any meal! It just might be the Best Healthy Calabacitas Recipe I’ve ever had. This side dish is good enough to eat on its own, but it pairs well with other Mexican recipes.
This quick Mexican Pickled Onions recipe is so easy – no cooking required! These onions are a great addition to most Mexican dishes and more. Come learn how simple it is to make these quick and easy pickled onions.
This Tacos De Carnitas recipe may well be the most tender, moist, and flavorful you’ve ever had! High returns for minimal effort. The pork is cooked in the oven (versus deep fried in lard) until the meat pulls apart effortlessly.
These Vegetable Tacos are so fresh and delicious with just the right amount of spices. The veggies are super healthy and can be enjoyed in many ways! You can grill them, roast them or even sautéd in a skillet.
This Healthy Crockpot Cochinita Pibil recipe is a perfect easy, filling weeknight dinner. Made in the slow cooker with only a few ingredients, it’s low in fat, packed with protein and loaded with flavor!
This healthy Ceviche De Pescado (Fish Ceviche) is made with raw fish marinated in lime juice and plenty of fresh vegetables, such as avocado, cucumber, and tomato, to boost its nutritional value and add some extra crunch and texture.
Ensalada De Atun is undoubtedly a classic recipe. Canned tuna is tossed with creamy textures and dotted with crisp celery and mixed veggies. But the Mexican version has a little something extra to make it the ultimate tuna salad recipe.
Sopa De Fideo is a comforting soup that's easy to become nostalgic for. Like many of our familial recipes, it's a dish whose exact combination of pasta and broth makes us think of our parents or grandparents who lovingly prepared it for us as children.
Sopa De Verduras is one of my favorites because it’s so healthy and delicious! Use whatever vegetables you have at hand but I do recommend you incorporate most of them. I know you’re going to love this vegetable soup! This soup serves 8 people but you can also make this much as a meal prep for the week!
Learn how to make the authentic Horchata drink that everyone loves! With this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll be able to make the best homemade Horchata recipe made with a few simple ingredients. Skip the store-bought mixes and use this easy recipe right at home!