Not all Mexican food is created equal, and there are a lot of different variations on specific dishes depending on where you are enjoying your dish. However, for much of the fare that we serve at authentic Mexican restaurants, there are a few main ingredients that are nearly always present in our dishes. Today, we are going to discuss those ingredients that you can always find in your favorite items on the menu. 


Though wheat-based tortillas and rice are used for much of the Mexican cuisine that we enjoy, corn is at the heart of every authentic Mexian dish that has a tortilla. Corn was the main source of grains in much of the cooking by the Aztecs and Mayas — from whom several of our most beloved dishes come from. Corn is also used to make tamales, some beverages, soups, and even some salsas. 


We can’t have Mexican food without frijoles. Many dishes have a healthy helping of beans that are spiced to perfection. Beans are one of the main ingredients for our famous Monterey-approved burritos and burrito bowls. Several types of beans are used in our dishes, including black and pinto beans. Beans offer many nutritional benefits including fiber, protein, and more. 


If you read our last blog, you will know that tomatoes originated in Mexico and were brought to Europe as a result of the Spanish conquistadors. Tomatoes play a significant role in Mexican cuisine as they are incorporated into dishes as a fresh garnish, salsas, and more. However, it’s important to note that in Mexico, many of the red sauces you find aren’t made from tomatoes but are made from red chili peppers. 


Cheese has been a recent addition to Mexican cuisine as most traditional Mexican fare doesn’t include cheese. The type of Mexican food that you are eating will determine how much and the type of cheese that is included in your meal. Many authentic Mexican restaurants use Mexican cheeses such as Penela, queso blanco, and queso fresco, and these cheeses are used lightly versus Tex Mex that makes cheese a primary ingredient. 

Herbs & Spices

The star of any authentic Mexican meal are the spices and herbs. Spices are used to marinate many of our favorite dishes, and fresh herbs are used to garnish our favorite meals and even used as a foundational ingredient for sauces. As a result, Mexican food is always rich in flavor — a delightful experience for the taste buds and soul. 


The avocado is one of the most beloved ingredients of much of Mexican cuisine. Not only is it used in some pico de gallo recipes, but it is used as a fresh garnish, and is one of many people’s favorite dips — guacamole! Mexican food wouldn’t be what it is without a healthy helping of avocado. What’s more, avocado is an excellent source of good fats, making it an even more welcome ingredient in much of what we serve at our authentic Mexican restaurant. 

If you are looking for the best Mexican food in Salinas, look no further! El Charrito offers you a menu of delicious options that you can enjoy first thing in the morning with a breakfast burrito or during the day with a regular burrito, torta, or burrito bowl. Stop into our restaurant, or get food delivery!