Zesty and delicious, Mexican appetizers are so versatile. Sautéed or roasted vegetables, cilantro, scallions, salsa, avocado, corn kernels and refried beans can be easily added or substituted for a recipe’s suggested ingredients. Because Mexican appetizers are often finger foods, they set an informal tone. Perfect for summer fun.

Garlicky Guacamole | Pareve

2 ripe avocados

Juice of ½ lime

3 garlic cloves, squeezed through a garlic press

1 teaspoon cilantro, minced

⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more if heat is desired

Cut the avocados in half. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place it in a medium-sized bowl. Discard the pits and skins. Mash the avocados with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix them in by continuing to mash the avocados until smooth. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Yield: about ¾-cup

Open-Faced Quesadillas | Dairy

2 (8-inch) corn or flour


½ cup canned refried beans

2 cups iceberg lettuce,

cut into ribbons

1 tomato, sliced thin

2 radishes, sliced thin

¼ cup kernels of corn, canned and drained, or cut off of a steamed and cooled corn cob

3 scallions, sliced thin

½ cup cheddar cheese,


2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place 2 tortillas on a cookie sheet and bake them in the oven until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes. Using tongs, remove the tortillas from the cookie sheet and place them on a large platter. Spread the refried beans on the tortillas. Place the ribbons of lettuce on top, followed by slices of tomato, radishes, corn kernels and scallion slices. Sprinkle on the grated cheddar cheese. Place dollops of sour cream over the cheese. Cut the quesadillas in half and serve them immediately on small plates. They can be eaten as finger food, although using silverware is neater.

Serves 4 as an appetizer JN

The article originally ran in the Jewish Exponent, a Jewish News-affiliated publication.

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