Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Taco Sauce

I don’t usually celebrate Cinco de Mayo to the fullest. I mean, I think Mexico’s freedom is a wonderful thing, but Cinco de Mayo is a little like St. Patrick’s Day to me…It’s a good reason to have a parade, and I don’t really like parades. But, then again, both holidays are a good reason to eat and drink, and I can definitely get excited about that.

This year, I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with food that’s probably not Mexican at all. But it still tasted good, and I like the idea of Mexican-inspired anything. I say “close enough.” 

First, I took a look at Rachel Ray’s 30-minute Mexican lasagna. Two things:

1 – I made my own taco sauce, so it definitely took longer than 30 minutes. Even if I had used the bottle stuff I still think 30 minutes is optimistic. (Sorry, Rachel, that’s just how I see it.)

2 – She said to lay out the tortillas in halves or quarters. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure that out. I’m not a strong spatial thinker, and I was trying too hard to cover every inch of the pan. My bad.

torn up spinach tortillas
I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I got into the lasagna I made that taco sauce, which I based on One Particular Kitchen‘s recipe. Here’s my version.

Taco Sauce Recipe

*1 can of basic tomato sauce (15 oz.)

*1/2 red onion

*3 garlic cloves

*2 tsp. Mexican chili powder

*1 tbsp. cumin

*3 tbsp. white vinegar

*1 tbsp. salt

*1 tbsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions: Warm tomato sauce in medium sauce pan. Mince onion and garlic in food processor. Add onion mixture and all other ingredients to sauce. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

taco sauce

Taco sauce can be used over just about any Mexican dish, I think. With the Mexican lasagna I added a ladle full in every layer. Turned out great. Will definitely be making this one again.

I would’ve posted a picture of the final product here–all bubbly right out of the oven. But I burned three of my fingers on the oven rack and was too ticked off to take out the camera again. Thank goodness for cerveza.

ps – The Saucy Dipper Facebook group is about to be archived. Please join us on the new Facebook page.


  1. Thanks for the comment, you’ll have to let me know if you try out the shortcake cookies and if you like them!

    Love your blog btw and this recipe, I’m a HUGE mexican food fan. I could eat it every day, every meal. Glad to be your new follower!

  2. Rachel Ray and her 30 minutes are a joke. Maybe if everything we bought was already prepped? She’s just a step shy of Sandra Lee in my book for lacking real authenticity because of that series.

    I’m with you on the holidays…I don’t care for a big parade or lots of rabble rousing…but it is a good excuse for some great food. I have never made my own taco sauce either…wondering why not and now I have absolutely no excuse!

  3. I wouldn’t say that I really CELEBRATED other than making Mexican food for dinner…and i could always use an excuse for that!

    This sounds so delicious! I bet you could top it on so many things!

  4. My sentiments exactly on the holidays. My daughter celebrated Cinco de Mayo this year but she’s in college and they’ll gladly celebrate anyone’s independence. Of course, I’ll eat Mexican food for any reason. This looks really good.

  5. Oh man, I’m sorry about your fingers! I have to admit that I did smile when reading that though, just because I can identify. Sometimes it’s so hard to get a picture when your food is hot and you have to work fast.

    Love the idea of spicing up basic tomato sauce to make taco sauce. Yum!

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