6 Latina Foodstagrammers Share Their Favorite Navidad Dishes That Remind Them of Home
Ahh, the holidays are here and what could be more comforting during this time than a delicious and traditional meal shared with the familia and close friends? If you're Mexican-American, you probably refer to this time as Las Posadas, the time between December 16 to 24, when folks get together to commemorate the celebration of the Christmas story over warm and hearty meals and enjoy side dishes like Christmas tamales. If you're not, you're most likely already menu-planning for Nochebuena. Because the truth is, Latinx communities love to find ways to incorporate food into any gathering. So, it's no surprise to anyone that we put food at the center of all of our holiday festivities. But if you're hosting this year and looking to offer more of a diverse palette for your guests — we got you! From ponche to nacatamales or arroz con leche, we asked top Latinx food influencers to share their favorite traditional dishes, desserts and drinks that make them feel right back at home during Christmas.
Besides the chicken or turkey, if you want to innovate this year and are looking for inspiration to curate a killer Navidad menu, keep scrolling to discover new dishes from all parts of Latin America you might not know and find out how to make them. Here we round up some of their favorite Latinx-inspired dishes to balance out your holiday dinner table this year. In fact, we guarantee you'll find something you love here that would make your holiday evening even merrier. ¡Buen provecho!
-Additional reporting by Johanna Ferreira
Cola de Mono
"The Chilean version of eggnog, with coffee! Every December, I make Cola de Mono, a milk and eggs cocktail, not unlike eggnog, but with the significant addition of coffee to temper the sweetness," says Chilean cookbook author and influencer Pilar Hernández. "In Chile, we drink it iced, refreshing for our hot end of the year weather. Many families, including mine, do a virgin version without alcohol for the kids. I felt so grown-up [being able to] drink it!" If you want to surprise your family this year, find the step by step on her blog.
"Mexican Ponche Navideño is one of my favorites! I even make it before Christmas time. As soon as the weather starts feeling cold, the aroma of a pot of "Christmas Punch" simmering in the kitchen fills the whole house with that Holiday Spirit. It is made with apples, pears, piloncillo, cinnamon, and many other seasonal fruits," explains Mely Martinez from Mexican food blog and Instagram account Mexico in My Kitchen. Here's the full recipe if you want to try it this Christmas.
Follow her on @Mexicoinmykitchen.
Arroz con Leche
"I've tweaked the traditional recipe a little using non dairy milks, but I still get the aromatics from the cinnamon and cloves that immediately transport me to my grandmas house," says author and chef Lauren Arboleda, who won the 2019 edition of Masterchef Latino. "That's why I love it so much, every time I feel a little homesick I'll make this for breakfast, specially during Navidad on those cold mornings missing the warmth of my family and country." Find all the steps to make this vegan version of the iconic dessert here.
Follow her on @foodfromtheheart.
"This bacalao navideño is a tradition for the Christmas table in Mexico city, where I grew up," rememebers Pati Jinich, chef and host of PBS' Pati's Mexican Table. "Funny thing is that though most people expect to see it at the Christmas table, truth is, everyone wants to have it the next day, tucked inside of a crunchy torta! So if you make it, make sure to make a big batch. The bacalao gets better and better the more time it has to sit and its flavors and textures become even more delicious after its reheated. To make a good bacalao, make sure that you soak the salted cod, it softens and releases the extra salt." Here's everything you need to make this memorable bacalao! .
Follow her on @patijinich.
"In Mexico, we have our big celebration on Christmas Eve. My grandmother made this salad every Christmas Eve and she always prepared a double batch because she knew we would ask for seconds. This salad was always on the table, and it brings out some of the best memories of my childhood," says Alejandra Graf, Mexican foodstagrammer and expert in plant-based recipes based in Texas. "The ingredients for this Mexican Christmas salad are really simple and easy to find and there is no unique or challenging cooking technique to prepare it. The only secret is that you have to find the best apples around. The crunchier and sweeter, the better!" Do try it at home following Graf's recipe.
Follow her on @piloncilloyvainilla.
"This is a recipe that reminds me of my childhood and my home country, Honduras, during Christmastime. These are a type of tamales common in Central America that usually have beef or pork in them, along with a bunch of fixings and a red recado [a blend of spices]," says Maria Sierra, founder of blog and Instagram La Cooquete. "They stand out because they are wrapped in banana leaves. They are common in Central America and my tías, grandmother and mom used to do HUNDREDS of them all at once at the beginning of the holidays and freeze them. Every family gathering featured tamales, they were the perfect snack and thing to offer just in case more visitors showed up!". Find the full recipe on her blog.
Follow her on @lacooquette.