Mexican food took the US by storm, and its popularity isn’t slowing down. Unfortunately, what’s contributed to that popularity are restaurants like Taco Bell and Chipotle, which while ok if you’re in a hurry, they hardly classify as authentic Mexican. And, if you’ve never had authentic Mexican food, you don’t know what you’ve been missing.

However, getting out and getting authentic Mexican food is tough, especially if you live in an area dominated by food chains. Fortunately, you can make a delicious, authentically Mexican dish at home, and we’re going to give you several ideas to try.

Now, the first thing to remember is not to be intimidated when making authentic Mexican food at home. True, good Mexican food is made with complex flavors and spices and is a far cry from what you get at the fast food joints. But, if you’re willing to take a gamble, and do some experimentation, you’ll become a pro at making great Mexican dishes in no time. So, let’s take our taste buds south of the border and see what we can come up with!

Tacos

If you’re talking about easy to make Mexican dishes, then tacos are the first one everyone’s list. Just get either hard or soft taco shells and fill them with whatever kind of meat you want as well as other ingredients such as rice, beans, and vegetables. Also, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, fill your taco shell with a meat substitute and add veggies, beans, and rice for a healthy alternative to the traditional taco.

Burritos

The burrito probably ranks right behind the taco regarding popular Mexican food. And, like the taco, the burrito is easy to make and can be customized to your liking. Just get your flour or corn tortilla and fill it up with your favorite cooked meats, rice, vegetables, cheese, and condiments. You can make a different burrito for each member of the family if you have picky eaters, too.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a favorite with restaurant-goers, and they’re not too hard to make at home. The great thing about enchiladas is that while they’re traditionally made with chicken, you can use virtually any kind of meat you want as well as other ingredients. If you’re hungry for seafood, why not make a seafood enchilada? It’s a great way to make a meal that everyone in the family will love.

Quesadillas

Another favorite Mexican dish, the quesadilla is showing up on menus in chain restaurants like Applebees and even small-town diners. Like tacos, the quesadilla is easy to make and can be stuffed with just about anything you can think of. Most quesadillas are made with corn tortillas, but others are made with flour. What makes this dish so popular is the melted cheese inside the toasted shell. And, like tacos, you can make this with any meat or go vegan and use a meat substitute.

Fajitas

Besides the taco and the quesadilla, the fajita is a favorite dish that you can find in a variety of restaurants other than Mexican. This dish is a famous Tex-Mex meal in which grilled meat is wrapped in a corn or flour tortilla. What sets the fajitas apart from some of the other recipes we looked at is the addition of sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. However, like the previous dishes, the fajita is open to interpretation. Use whatever veggies, beans, rice, meat, and condiments you like.

Tamales

Although the tamale isn’t the first meal one thinks about when they think about Mexican, it’s one to consider if you want to change it up and offer the family something other than the usual tacos or fajitas.

Making tamales is a little more involved than the meals we’ve looked at before, and they take a bit more time. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, you and your family will be rewarded with a delicious Mexican meal that you don’t see every day.

Nachos

When you think of nachos, you probably think of those corn tortilla chips that you see in the grocery store, but, we’re talking about authentic Mexican foods you make at home, so forget about that stuff. And what’s great is that you can make homemade nachos in about 30 minutes. The key is to get fresh tortillas and season them to your liking. Most store-bought tortilla chips use way too much salt, so this allows you to control how much you take.

Once you bake up fresh tortilla chips, it’s time to add the toppings. Again, most people prefer chili with cheese and salsa, but you can opt for vegan meatless toppings if you wish.

Guacamole

One topping that you must have if you’re serving authentic Mexican food is guacamole. What’s great about guacamole is that it’s simple to make and it’s healthy to boot. The trick to making good guacamole is using the best avocados, and most agree that Haas avocados are the best. Another trick is to get avocados that are ripe enough to eat, and it’s easier said than done.

Look for avocados that are more black than green. Squeeze it gently. It should be firm, but slightly pliable. That’s when you know it’s ripe and ready to use.

Salsa

Like guacamole, salsa is a no-brainer when it comes to making authentic Mexican dishes. And, like guacamole, while you can always buy some at the store, it’s better if you make it fresh yourself.

The key to making good salsa at home is to use the freshest garden tomatoes, red onions, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime. What’s great about salsa is that there are a variety of recipes you can check out to make a mild salsa all the way up to three-alarm fire salsa. And, salsa isn’t just for dinner either. It’s great for snack time, and the kids love it.