As a Midwesterner, nothing matters to me more in a dish than the sauces and condiments in it. To me, these are the real stars of the show. They make a meal all the more delectable, and can take dinners from dull to delicious in seconds. So, when I saw online that people couldn’t stop talking about a TexMex paste (of all things!), I knew I had to try it out myself.
The paste is from HelloFresh, that meal kit delivery service you’ve probably heard of — or maybe even tried out yourself. The paste is included in a number of Mexican-inspired recipes you can order, like beef and poblano enchiladas, and is so revered that home chefs everywhere have been scouring the web for dupes or recipes they can concoct themselves.
Unfortunately, I have bad news for these people: After trying out the paste myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that no human can replicate its deliciousness. The only thing we can actually do is sign up for HelloFresh and pick out recipes that include it or find the paste as an extra in the Market to add onto your order.
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The good news is that this is actually an objectively good deal. A subscription of three meals for two people costs about the same as the amount my boyfriend and I usually have to spend on just one meal out together where we live. Plus, it gets you cooking at home, the pre-portioned ingredients mean no food waste and the recipes give some good-to-know kitchen tips, like how to chop veggies or properly roast meat in the oven.
Now, back to why we’re here: the TexMex paste.
After receiving my HelloFresh box of three meals — I ordered Pork and Poblano Enchiladas, Ricotta Tomato-Stuffed Ravioli, and Szechuan Beef Noodles — I jumped to inspect the paste that has inspired so much wonderment online. It comes in a vibrant blue pouch and works similarly to typical tomato paste. You stir it into sauces and mixes to add a flavorful kick to the dish you’re making.
Pork & Poblano Enchiladas
I first tasted a little bite of the paste on its own, and was shocked by the sweet and savory combination of flavors. It reminded me a bit of the Sloppy Joe sandwiches my grandma used to make, and also gave me hints of a glorious-tasting barbecue sauce I once had while visiting Texas. When I mixed it into the pork and pepper mixture, it evenly coated the filling and gave it just the right amount of flavoring. Sometimes, sauces can overpower meats and veggies, but this one left just enough room for the ingredients to flourish as their own flavors, as well.
This tasted so good, I added the excess paste to the sour cream included in the meal kit. Mixing the cool cream and the flavorful paste made for a sauce with just the right amount of kick. It’s the kind of thing I’d want to add to nachos, use as a dip for veggies, or to top chili.
Now that the paste is gone (I gobbled up the enchiladas faster than the time it takes me to type out the word), all I can think about is all of the potential dishes I want to make with it. To ensure that these daydreams become a reality, I’m getting a HelloFresh subscription ASAP. My next concoction I’ve got planned? TexMex ranch dressing. My fellow Midwesterners know the delicious potential that this combo has.
To get your hands on this beloved paste — and other delicious food discoveries — get started with HelloFresh here. Trust me when I say you won’t regret it. Below, check out five recipes featuring the TexMex paste that I’ll be ordering next.
Longhorn Turkey & Black Bean Chili
Nothing says comfort quite like a heaping bowl of chili. This turkey and black bean version seems like it’ll have the ideal amount of spice I look for thanks to the combo of jalapeños and TexMex paste.
Grilled Chicken & Steak Fajitas
You know the excitement that comes with ordering some sizzling fajitas at a restaurant? Multiply that by two, and that’s what I experience when I make the dish at my home. This is the flavor fiesta I dream of.
Mexicali Black Bean Soup
When fall weather hits, I almost exclusively chow down on soups like this one. It’s so easy to make (you throw in all the ingredients into the same dish to simmer), plus a batch lasts for days.
One-Pan Cheesy Black Bean Tacos
Meals taste better when you have less to clean up after eating them, and this hearty vegetarian one-pan dish is no exception.
Yucatan Citrus Chicken Bowls
There’s nothing yummier than a tangy citrus marinade. The pickled onions are an added bonus.