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Viva Mexico Dip Trio

Chips and trio of dips
Viva Mexico Dip Trio

This recipe and photography was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at 

Viva Mexico Dip Trio, which deliciously symbolizes the red, white and green colors of the Mexican flag. Easy and lightly spicy, Tomato and Chipotle Salsa will represent the red. It’s flavorful, fast, and because we are using canned fire-roasted tomatoes, this recipe can be a year-round favorite. There’s no hunting down ripe tomatoes, so this salsa whips up in minutes. The chipotle chili adds an irresistible smoky heat that you won’t find in most jarred salsas and the fresh cilantro is addictive. It’s the only salsa we make at our house and it’s destined to be a favorite in yours as well.

White Queso Fresco Sour Cream Dip will stand in between the red and the green with the wonderful flavor of cheese and just a touch of lime and cilantro. Sour cream, mayo, queso fresco and a hint of cumin make this cool and refreshing dip a nice counterpoint to the spicy heat of the tomato salsa. Guacamole is the obvious choice for green. Not only is it everyone’s favorite, it’s a great way to get the kids in the kitchen. Just hand them a potato masher and set them to work mashing up the avocado. This version is basic, but brilliant with the addition of only cilantro, onion, chile and lime. When it comes to guacamole, simple is always best.

Simple Tomato and Chipotle Salsa

I find myself making this salsa more often than any other. It’s fast to pull together, without the knife work or roasting that’s necessary for other salsas and it tastes even better than the salsa at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

It’s that easy: You’ll find chipotle chilies canned, in the international food aisle. They’re spicy and you won’t use them all at one time, so place the remaining chilies on a parchment-lined sheet pan and freeze them. Once frozen, they go into a zip lock freezer bag to be used at a later date.

Start-to-Finish: 40 minutes
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Makes about 2-1/2 cups


  • 1 28 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus more if necessary
  • 1 or 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo (See “It’s that easy” tip)
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, garlic, lime juice and chilies. Puree until smooth and pour into a medium bowl.
  2. On a large cutting board, dice the onion and transfer to a colander and rinse under cold running water (this step makes the onion less strong).
  3. Drain the onion and add it to the tomatoes. Chop the cilantro and stir it into the salsa. Season with salt, a few grinds of pepper and more lime juice, if desired. Let salsa to sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend and refrigerate until serving.

Make-ahead: The tomato salsa can be made 1 day ahead of time and can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator up to 3 or 4 days.

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Simple Tomato and Chipotle Salsa.

Sour Cream, Lime & Cilantro Dip

This cool and creamy dip is the perfect antidote to the spicy dip before it. Cooling and cheesy with a hint of lime and cilantro, it’s perfect whether on a chip or a fajita.

Start-to-Finish: 10 minutes
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Makes about 2-1/2 cups


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of one lime
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  1. On a large cutting board, mince the garlic, chop the cilantro and zest the lime.
  2. Squeeze the juice into a medium bowl and stir in the garlic, cilantro, zest, sour cream, queso, mayonnaise, milk, cumin and salt. Stir to combine well and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lime juice as needed. Refrigerate until serving.

Make-ahead: Dip can be made 2 days before serving.

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Sour Cream, Lime & Cilantro Dip.


Think about how much guacamole you need, then double it because this cool, creamy, mildly spicy dip is always the most popular thing on the table. I like to serve it with chips, but my family absolutely can’t eat a fajita, taco or taquito without it.

It’s that easy: For the best guacamole, try to find the dark- skinned Hass avocados that give slightly when pressed. They are much creamier and more flavorful than the light, smooth- skinned variety.

Start-to-Finish: 20 minutes
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Makes about 2-1/2 cups


  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white onion, minced
  • 1 fresh Serrano chile, minced
  • 3 ripe California Hass avocados, quartered, pitted, and peeled
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste


  1. On a large cutting board, chop the cilantro and mince the onion and chile (careful it may be hot). Halve and pit the avocados and scoop the flesh from the skin with a large spoon into a large bowl.
  2. Mash the avocados with a fork or potato masher until creamy, but with some lumps remaining. Stir in the cilantro, onion, chile, lime juice, and salt and stir to combine.

Make-ahead: Guacamole can be made one hour ahead and chilled with its surface covered with plastic wrap.

Viva Mexico Dip Trio

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Guacamole.

Carla Snyder in her kitchen
By Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes.

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