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Cuisine of the Southwestern United States

A pot of Chili con carne with beans and tomatoes

The cuisine of the Southwestern United States is food styled after the rustic cooking of the Southwestern United States. It is also known to be very popular in the west coast state of California. It comprises a fusion of recipes for things that might have been eaten by Spanish colonial settlers, cowboys, Native Americans,[1] and Mexicans throughout the post-Columbian era; there is, however, a great diversity in this kind of cuisine throughout the Southwestern states.

Southwestern cuisine is similar to Mexican cuisine but often involves larger cuts of meat, and less use of tripe, brain, and other parts not considered as desirable in the United States. As with Mexican cuisine, Southwestern cuisine is also largely known for its use of spices (particularly the chile, or Chili pepper). Recently, several chains of casual dining restaurants specializing in Southwestern cuisine have become popular in the United States.

New Mexican cuisine is known for its dedication to the chile (the official "state question" is "Red or green?" which refers to the preferred color of chiles), most notably the Hatch chile, named for the city in New Mexico where they are grown. The New Mexican Cuisine is most popular in the southwestern states of New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Texas has a version called Tex-mex, while Arizona's style of Southwestern cuisine is often called Sonoran.


  • States 1
  • Southwestern dishes 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5


Southwest and Tex-Mex cuisine are also present in other states such as Oklahoma, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington.

Southwestern dishes

Black beans
A burrito with enchilada sauce, often referred to as a "smothered burrito"

See also


  1. ^ "Native Americans." (cached version). Accessed July 2011.

Further reading

  • Nusom, Lynn (1999.) "Authentic Southwestern Cooking." Western National Parks Association. ISBN 1-877856-89-4
  • Curtis, Susan (1995.) "The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook: Spirited Southwestern Recipes." Gibbs Smith. ISBN 0-87905-619-3, ISBN 0-87905-873-0
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