Because I was raised in San Diego, Mexican food has been my go-to from day one. Shouts to the love of my life (the taquito burrito). However, it wasn’t until this summer that I realized that all Mexican dishes are actually pretty much the same. Take a second and think about it…

Alright are you ready for this? What are the main ingredients of a taco? A crunchy shell, some form of meat or fish, lettuce, tomato, cheese, guac, and hot sauce, if you please. Plus, you know you are making those tacos a combo plate, meaning you’ll be getting beans and rice on the side.

Now, what’s in a burrito? Let’s pretend were taking a trip to Chipotle (a sin here in San Diego). Your classic Chipotle burrito is going to consist of everything that is in a taco – the only difference? A soft tortilla wrapped around the fillings, instead of a crunchy, cupped shell with the fillings stuffed inside.

Mexican Food

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Mind. Blown. Now that we’ve established how similar each Mexican dish seems to be, let’s get the full rundown of other staple Mexican foods and how they relate to one another. You’ll see how easily you can make every single one of them because of their shocking similarities.

1. Taco

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Photo courtesy of @lostacosno1 on Instagram

Your classic taco will most likely consist of your choice of meat or fish, salsa, cheese, shredded lettuce, and maybe some guac on top, all enclosed in a soft or a hard shell. Check out how to make tilapia tacos here.

2. Tostada

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I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, a tostada is basically just an open faced taco with some refried beans added in. The beans act as a base to hold all of your toppings, but it’s still just like a taco. Keep the taco ingredients, add the beans, and you’ve got yourself a tostada. Check out this taco tostada recipe here.

3. Burrito

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Photo by Alexandra Jubault

Most often, a burrito will consist of a meat, beans, rice, salsa, guac, and cheese. If you’re feeling wild, you may even throw in some shredded lettuce and veggies. Wait – isn’t that like a taco? Or a tostada? Combine the ingredients from both the taco and the tostada, wrap it in a soft tortilla (rather than a crunchy shell), and you’ve got yourself a burrito. Check out this recipe for chicken burritos here.

4. Chimichanga

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Dude, literally take the burrito you just made and throw it in the oven. If you need help with ovens (don’t we all), check out this recipe.

5. Enchilada

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Photo by Sofia Gonzalez

This staple dish is quite similar to the taquito, which I’ll cover next. Enchiladas are corn tortillas stuffed with either cheese or meat, rolled up, baked, and then covered with red chili sauce and cheese. Find out how to make one here.

6. Taquito

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Just like enchiladas, taquitos are tortillas rolled up and stuffed with your choice of meat. They are fried instead of baked, and they say no thank you to the red chili sauce found on enchiladas. Most times, they are topped with cheese, lettuce, and pico de gallo. So, basically, fry your enchilada, leave off the sauces, and you’ve got yourself a taquito. Find a recipe for the chicken version of your naked enchilada (taquito) here.

7. Flauta

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A flauta = a taquito in a flour tortilla. Refer to the recipe above, but roll the flautas in flour tortillas. If you want a beef version, you can also check out this flauta recipe.

8. Quesadilla 

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Photo by Dylan Barth

Take two flour tortillas (from your flautas), stuff them with cheese, and fill them with whatever else your heart desires, and you’ve got yourself a quesadilla. Not too different from any of the other dishes listed above, huh? Check out how to make spinach artichoke ones here.

So, there it is. I hope I didn’t crush any Mexican food-loving souls. I’m not trying to downplay the awesomeness of Mexican food, I’m actually attempting to do the opposite by showing you how accessible it all can be. The best part? As long as you have the staple Mexican food ingredients you can make practically whatever dish your heart desires. Happy feasting!