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VEGETARIAN

El Patio Recipe: DIY gazpacho

Celebrating at home? El Patio chef Becky Smith recommends a batch of cool, homemade gazpacho. Cucumber, lime, onion and tomato join to make the chilly soup that's perfect for slurping on a sunny spring day. Serrano pepper packs some heat while cilantro and avocado slices (as garnish) cool it down. Get the recipe here.

Malo: Nacho Daddy's Mac & Cheese ($15.99)

I tip my hat to the mad genius who figured out how to combine two of my loves: mac and cheese and guacamole. The Nacho Daddy is basically a meatless nacho platter that substitutes macaroni noodles for chips. Instead of overpowering the mac and cheese taste, the salsa, guacamole, sour cream and fried tortilla chips add interesting flavors to this uniquely textured dish. And, hey, you get to feel all classy by eating nachos with a fork!

Mi Mexico: veggie enchiladas ($7.95)

The key to good vegetarian Mexican food is featuring more than just bell peppers, beans and cheese. Sure, anything can be made vegetarian by removing meat, but that doesn't mean it'll be flavorful. The veggie enchiladas at Mi Mexico are layered with crunchy, and rarely used, carrots, celery and green peas and smothered in a tangy carrot puree. Don't worry, greasy Tex-Mex lovers, these enchiladas still have plenty of cheese, rice and beans.

— Courtney Crowder

FUSION

Malo: Cajun Grilled Mahi Mahi Caesar Salad ($15.99)

Enjoy Cajun-spiced grilled Mahi Mahi on a bed of romaine lettuce. Charred poblano peppers and corn salsa bring the spice while the Mexican Cotija cheese mellows out the flavors. Crispy tortillas are added for crunch and a creamy Caesar dressing ties it all together.

Tacopocalypse: Red Curry Tofu Burrito ($8)

The East Village taco joint infuses Asian flavors into the blank canvas of the burrito. Fried rice and tofu are rolled up in a generous "burrito baby" portion and smothered in a rich red coconut curry sauce and zigzagged with a hot sauce.

— Mackensie Smith


Read more about celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Des Moines:

Fiesta drinks: Cinco de Mayo sangria, margaritas

Fiesta food: Cinco de Mayo splurges and desserts to try

Fiesta food: Cinco de Mayo chips, dips, tacos and salsa

2 central Iowa Cinco de Mayo events

Where can you get Mexican food in central Iowa? Try these places

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