Fiesta of Flavors - Hispanic Recipes for People with Diabetes - University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension



Derivative of achiote and is used to produce a red food coloring.


Also called yucca or mandioca. Long and tapered root with a firm homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1 mm thick, rough and brown on the outside.


Also known as christophine; roughly pear-shaped squash, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles, ranging from 10 to 20 cm in length.

Chihuahua Cheese

Soft white cow's-milk cheese of Mexican origin available in braids, balls or rounds; has favorable melting properties and becomes softly stringy when heated--very similar to unaged Monterey jack cheese.

Chile Ají

Yellow South American hot pepper (not to be mistaken for the sweeter type: Ají dulce.)

Chile Piquin

Very small red hot pepper that has a bullet shape.

Chile Poblano

Larger mild pepper; flat in shape. Darkens in color as it matures. Can be stuffed or used as a spice when dried.


Type of sausage made from coarsely chopped fatty pork and usually is seasoned with chili or paprika.


Also known as chayote; roughly pear-shaped squash, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles, ranging from 10 to 20 cm in length.


A green leafy herb. The fresh leaves are an essential ingredient in Mexican salsas and guacamole.

Cumin Seeds

A spice known for its distinctive aroma; similar to fennel seeds, but smaller and darker in color.

Green Chile

Hot pepper similar to a jalapeño but smaller in size.


Or nixtamal is dried white corn (maize) kernels. Commercially available canned hominy often has a strong and unique odor.

Jalapeño Peppers

Small to medium sized oval shaped hot pepper (usually green).

Jamaica Flower

Also called hibiscus; dried red flowers are 8–10 cm in diameter; adds a flavor that is sour and fruity.


A tuber with a flavor that is sweet and starchy; the inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles that of a raw potato or pear.


Vegetable made from young stem segments of prickly pear cactus, carefully peeled to remove the spines. Also commercially available canned and in jars.

Pink Beans

Small oval-shaped beans, pale pink in color, also known by the Spanish name habichuelas rosadas.


Starchy fruit similar to a banana; tends to be firmer and lower in sugar content than bananas and are used either when green or underripe.


Also known as a Gordita; thick hand-made corn tortilla.

Red Dried Chile (Chile Pods)

Whole dried red hot peppers.

Serrano Peppers

1-2" long hot pepper.


Long podded fruit with a distinct sweet yet sour taste; often used to flavor candies and drinks.

Tecojote (Crabapples)

Orange colored fruit with three or more hard brown seeds. It is also a main ingredient used in Ponche, the traditional Mexican hot fruit punch that is served at Christmas time and on New Year's Eve.


Green fruit similar in shape and taste to a green tomato; has dry leaf-like covering that must be peeled off; often used as the base of green sauces.


Is a sprawling aromatic herb. Refers to the particular local species of mint in Latin America.